summer 2018 NEWS


NEW WORK BY STUDENTS, ALUMNI & FACULTY ON THE SHELVES AND ONLINE: Read Issue 5 of our alumni-edited magazine HeartWood, hot off the e-presses! Seek out Sundry Voices, Marilyn Stearns’s (Poetry 2015) collection of poems, now out with Red Dashboard; prose faculty Richard Schmitt’s story “The Trestle” in TriQuarterly (Richard will head to Chicago in September to read for TriQuarterly’s festival); the new Netflix documentary “Recovery Boys” (about addiction in West Virginia) which features poetry faculty Doug Van Gundy’s band Born Old; and the essay “Divine Wind” by David Evans (Nonfiction 2018) and a craft reflection by Larry Thacker (Poetry 2018) both in the summer issue of StillChris Chapman’s (Fiction 2015) story “Gertrude’s War” appears in the inaugural issue of K’in, a journal edited by, among others, poetry faculty Mary Carroll-Hackett and WVWC MFA students Beasa Dukes (Fiction 2019), Chad MacDonald (Nonfiction 2020), and Semein Washington (Poetry 2019), and you can read poetry by Jeremy Bryant (Nonfiction 2017) in New Verse News and in the summer print issue of Anima Magazine.

More work live online: an essay by MFA Director Jessie van Eerden in Blackbird, a short story by fiction faculty Mesha Maren in Crazyhorse, and articles by Lara Lillibridge (Nonfiction 2016) in The Washington Post and The Guardian.

FORTHCOMING WORK: Lara Lillibridge will release Mama, Mama, Only Mama! Stories, Blogs, and Hacked Recipes for the Newly Single Mother with Skyhorse Publishing on March 5, 2019, and the publication for Larry Thacker’s full collection Grave Robber Confessional has been set for December 2018 with Main Street Rag; Larry also has work forthcoming from (or already out with) Valparaiso Poetry Review, Punch Drunk, Eternal Haunted Summer, Windhover Journal, Wagonbridge Lost & Found Anthology, and Looking at Appalachia: Call & Response Project. 

Prose faculty Karen Salyer McElmurray’s essay “Trip Around the World” will appear in Appalachian Literature: An Anthology, 1784-2018 (University Press of Kentucky, 2020), and Doug Van Gundy will have two poems and a book review and prose faculty Eric Waggoner will have an essay, “Butcher’s Dog,” all in Kestrel 39 (Summer 2018), a special issue on “Love, Labor, & Loss” (Doug will read for Kestrel’s festival for the issue in Sept 2018). And look for Lisa Hayes Minney’s (Nonfiction 2017) essay “Mental Pause” in the forthcoming Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility, an anthology edited by alums Andrea Fekete (Fiction 2014) and Lara Lillibridge, due out from Cynren Press in 2019, and Lisa’s essay “Shaken Foundations” in Mountains Upon Mountains: New Appalachian Nature Writing due out from Bartram Publishing also in 2019.

GIGS & ACCOLADES: Lots of reasons to toss marigolds & confetti into the sky this summer! Larry Thacker took second place in the George Scarbrough Poetry Contest, and Rebecca Elswick (Fiction 2018) placed first in the Jesse Stuart Short Story Contest and second in the Emma Bell Miles Essay Contest, all at the 2018 Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. Larry also served as guest editor for Issue #11 of Longridge Review, a journal founded and edited by Elizabeth Gaucher (Nonfiction 2015). Joyce Allan (Fiction 2015) won third in the children’s division of the Carteret Writers annual writing contest (and will be published in their annual issue) and first place in West Virginia Writers for the middle grade/YA division. “Jack Speaks” by the dear late Okey Napier, Jr., the MFA student who passed away this summer, received honorable mention in the Social Change: The Pearl S. Buck Award category in WV Writers. Amanda Jo Slone’s (Fiction 2017) story, “Marrowbone” was nominated by Still for the Best of the Net 2018 anthology by Sundress Publications, and Sheryl Browne’s (Fiction 2015) fifteen minute historical play was put on four times at FestivALL in Charleston this summer. Poetry faculty Remica Bingham-Risher’s Starlight & Error has been named a finalist for the Library of Virginia Awards, and Jessie van Eerden’s essay collection The Long Weeping has been named winner of the 20th annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award in the essay category.

Poetry faculty Mark DeFoe gave a reading at Alderson-Broaddus for Wordstock Wednesday, the series curated by Jessica Spruill (Poetry 2015), and Doug Van Gundy taught a workshop and was a featured poet at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival at Bridgewater College in May and also taught two workshops and gave a performance with WV Poet Laureate Marc Harshman at the West Virginia Writer’s Conference in June. During the third week of September 2018, Karen Salyer McElmurray will read for the University of North Georgia Visiting Authors Program; Oct 26-28, Karen will be visiting writer at University of South Dakota for the Milton Conference; and she will serve as Visiting Writer-in-Residence at the University of South Dakota during Spring 2019.

And a report on MFA folks in the workforce: Ginny Rachel (Fiction 2015) will teach composition at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro in 2018-19; Cynthia McCloud (Nonfiction 2019) is teaching English Language Arts to academically at-risk teens enrolled at the Mountaineer Challenge Academy, a 22-week quasi-military residential and 1-year post-res secondary education completion program in Kingwood, WV; Amber Milstead (Fiction 2019) will teach two sections of composition at WV Wesleyan in Fall 2018; Ashley Higginbotham (Fiction 2013) has joined the WVWC English Department with a full-time position as the Coordinator of ESL and the Writing Center; and in October 2018, prose faculty Eric Waggoner will begin his new post as executive director of the West Virginia Humanities Council. Congrats to all! Marigolds & confetti!


Sept 1 The Process and a Sense of Place will feature Mesha Maren and others at MESH Design & Development, 609 Tennessee Ave, Charleston, WV, 6:30 pm.

Sept 11 More Than Words, the monthly literary event hosted by alum Mary Imo-Stike (Poetry 2015) and Cat Pleska, will host a reading by Jessie van Eerden and Richard Schmitt, 6:30 pm at Hidden Creek Mercantile in Hurricane, WV.

Sept 13 Mary Imo-Stike will be featured at Marshall University’s Visiting Writers Series Writers’ Harvest Reading, 7pm, Memorial Student Center.

Sept 14 Ryland Swain (Fiction 2020) will present her paper, “The Archetypal Imagination of Pearl Buck and Lu Xun: Contrasts in Approach through the Lens of Jungian Psychology,” at the Pearl S. Buck Living Gateway Conference, taking place at West Virginia Wesleyan College, 3:15 pm in the Library.

Sept 27-29 Amanda Jo Slone will be part of two presentations at the Appalachian College Association Summit.

And lots of WVWC Faculty teaching online for The Makery at Hindman Settlement School this fall:

Aug 20-Sept 14, Fiction faculty Jacinda Townsend: “Storyforce as Gyroscope: Powering Narrative Spin”

Aug 20-Sept 14, Nonfiction faculty Jeremy Jones: “Writing About Family in Creative Nonfiction”

Sept 17-Oct 12, Doug Van Gundy: “The Line in the Landscape: Poetry and Place”

Sept 17-Oct 12, upcoming fiction faculty Kayla Rae Whitaker: “Space for Mystery: Developing Complex Characters in Fiction”

Oct 15-Nov 9, Karen Salyer McElmurray: “Paths to the Heart: Forms of Nonfiction”