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WCU to host national book award winner, bestsellers at 21st Annual Spring Literary Festival

Western Carolina University’s Spring Literary Festival returns to campus March 20-23 with a series of live events.

The 21st annual gathering of poets and authors is free and open to the public, with all events taking place in the Hinds University Center. Directed by Jeremy Jones, an associate professor of English, the festival has a long tradition of bringing established and emerging literary talent to the community.

“This 21st annual Spring Literary Festival will host a wide array of award-winning and bestseller writers for four days of free events,” Jones said. “There’s a little something for everyone in Cullowhee – crime fiction, young adult, memoir, poetry, journalism and more.”

The 2023 schedule:

ashley jones

Ashley M. Jones

Monday, March 20

  • Noon – Gilbert-Chappell Poets
  • 4 p.m. – Idra Novey, author of “Those Who Knew” and “Take What You Need,” and Glenn Taylor author of “The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart” and “The Songs of Betty Baach.”
  • 7 p.m. – Ashley M. Jones, the Poet Laureate of the State of Alabama and author of “REPARATIONS NOW!”

Tuesday, March 21

  • beth macy

    Beth Macy

    Noon – Stephen J. West, author of “Soft-Boiled: An Investigation of Masculinity & the Writer’s Life” and A. Kendra Greene, author of “The Museum of Whales You Will Never See.”
  • 4 p.m. – Mark Powell, author of eight novels, most recently “Lioness,” and Charles Dodd White, author of “In the House of Wilderness,” the recipient of the Appalachian Book of the Year award in fiction.
  • 7 p.m. – Beth Macy, author of four books, including national bestsellers, “Truevine,” “Factory Man,” and “Dopesick,” which was adapted into the Emmy-award-winning Hulu series.

sa cosby

S.A. Cosby

Wednesday, March 22

  • Noon – Winners of the high school, undergraduate and graduate student creative writing competitions.
  • 4 p.m. – Erin Tran, a queer Vietnamese poet and the author of “Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke” and “The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer” and Devon Miller-Duggan, poet and author of “Pinning the Bird to the Wall,” “Alphabet Year,” and “The Slow Salute.”
  • 7 p.m. – S.A. Cosby, a crime fiction writer and author of “My Darkest Prayer,” “Blacktop Wasteland,” and “Razorblade Tears.”


Jason Mott

Thursday, March 23

  • Noon – Tom Belt (Cherokee Nation) and Lisa Leffler, co-authors of “Sounds of Tohi: Cherokee Health and Well-Being in Southern Appalachia.”
  • 4 p.m. – Angela Velez, a Peruvian-American writer, artist and author of the young adult novel “Lulu and Milagro's Search for Clarity.”
  • 7 p.m. – Jason Mott, author of “Hell of a Book,” the 2021 National Book Award recipient for fiction.

"So many organizations and people have a hand in making this big festival in little Cullowhee robust and exciting each year," Jones said. "This year we received support from the North Carolina and Jackson County Arts Councils, the North Carolina Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, WCU’s campus theme committee, Degree Plus and the College of Arts and Sciences. We feel the love from the university and the region."

For more information, visit or contact WCU’s English Department at 828-227-7264.

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