Winter 2020 VISITING WRITERS, Dec. 27, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020

WV Wesleyan’s MFA will host a Visiting Writers Series during the program’s Winter 2020 Residency. These events are free and open to the public. The writers will be reading from their original work, and copies of their books will be available for sale. Readings will be held in the Music Room of the Blackwater Lodge at Blackwater Falls State Park, in Davis, WV.  Click this link for directions.

Ann Pancake & Mark Harshman at 8 PM, December 27th, 2019

Ann Pancake is a native of West Virginia.  She is the author of two short story collections, Given Ground and Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, and a novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been, which was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of the year.  Her fiction and essays have appeared in journals like Orion, The Georgia Review and Poets and Writers. Pancake is currently Writer-in-Residence in the Humanities Center at WVU.

Marc Harshman is the author of four of poems and over a dozen children’s books.  His latest book of poetry, Woman in Red Anorak, won the 2017 Blue Lynx Prize and his previous, Believe What You Can won the Weatherford Award. Appointed in 2012, he is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.

Catherine Venable Moore & Kevin Chesser at 8 PM, December 28th, 2019

Catherine Venable Moore is a writer and producer based in Ansted, WV. She holds a degree in Literature from Harvard and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Montana. Her nonfiction has appeared in Best American Essays, Oxford American, VICE and others. She is the co-founder the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum. Her current projects include two works of narrative nonfiction set in Appalachia, to be published by Random House.

Kevin Chesser is a poet and musician living in Randolph County, West Virginia. An alumnus of the West Virginia Wesleyan MFA program, his work has appeared in Hobart, Still, Dinner Bell, and elsewhere. He’s toured all over the region with the Travelin’ Appalachians Revue arts collective, and plays banjo in the old-time stringband T-Mart Rounders, whose recent performances include Mountain Stage, The Nelsonville Music Festival, and many others.

Randon Billings Noble & Doug Van Gundy at 8 PM, December 29th, 2019

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her collection Be with Me Always was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2019. Other work has appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She has taught at NYU and American University, is currently the founding editor of After the Art.

Doug Van Gundy directs the low-residency MFA creative writing program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. His poems, essays and reviews have appeared in Poetry, Poets & Writers, and The Guardian.  His first book of poems, A Life Above Water, is published by Red Hen Press.  He is also the co-editor, with

Diane Gilliam & Ashleigh Bryant Phillips at 8 PM, December 30th, 2019

Diane Gilliam is the author of four poetry collections—Dreadful Wind & Rain, Kettle Bottom, One of Everything, and Recipe for Blackberry Cake. She has won the Chaffin Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Ohioana Library Association Poetry Book of the Year Award. She is a recent recipient of the Gift of Freedom from A Room of Her Own Foundation.

Ashleigh Bryant Phillips is from Woodland, NC. She earned an MFA from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Her fiction has appeared in Joyland, New York Tyrant, Hobart, and others. Her debut collection, Sleepovers, was selected by Lauren Groff for the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize and is forthcoming from Hub City Press in May 2020.

Karen Salyer McElmurray & Richard Schmitt at 8 PM, January 1st, 2020

Karen Salyer McElmurray’s Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey was an AWP Award Winner.  Her novels are Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven; The Motel of the Stars; and Wanting Radiance, to be released in April 2020 by University Press of Kentucky.  She has coedited Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia.

Richard Schmitt’s most recent book is a collection of short stories, Living Among Strangers.  He is also the author of a novel, The Aerialist. His work has appeared in Blackbird, Gulf Coast, Cimarron Review, and other places. Schmitt’s essay, Sometimes a Romantic Notion was included in Best American Essays.

For more information about the readings, contact MFA Director Doug Van Gundy:, 304.473.8329.

This project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.