winter 2018 visiting writers series, dec 30-jan 4


WV Wesleyan’s MFA will host a Visiting Writers Series during the program’s Winter 2018 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 on Wesleyan’s campus in Loar Auditorium of Loar Hall of Music (see #15 on the campus map (PDF) and click here for directions to campus).

Diane Gilliam & Jacinda Townsend, Dec 30 at 7 pm

DIANE GILLIAM is the author of four poetry collections—Dreadful Wind & Rain (Red Hen, 2017), Kettle Bottom, One of Everything, and Recipe for Blackberry Cake. She has won the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing, a Pushcart Prize, and the Ohioana Library Association Poetry Book of the Year Award for Kettle Bottom. She is the most recent recipient of the Gift of Freedom from A Room of Her Own Foundation.

JACINDA TOWNSEND is the author of Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which is set in 1950’s Eastern Kentucky and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best fiction written by a woman in 2014 and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for best historical fiction. Saint Monkey was also the 2015 Honor Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Jacinda received her MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, then spent a year as a Fulbright fellow in Côte d’Ivoire. Jacinda teaches in the Creative Writing program at University of California, Davis, and is a Truth Fellow at the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco.

Laurie Jean Cannady & Jeremy Jones, Jan 2 at 7 pm

LAURIE JEAN CANNADY is a professor of English at Lock Haven University and creative writing faculty in the Wilkes University MA/​MFA low-residency Creative Writing Program. Her debut memoir Crave: Sojourn of a Hungry Soul was listed as a finalist for Foreword’s 2015 Book of the Year Award and the Library of Virginia awards in the People’s Choice category.

JEREMY JONES is the author of Bearwallow: A Mountain History of a Mountain Homeland, which was named the 2014 Appalachian Book of the Year in nonfiction and awarded gold in memoir in the 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His essays appear in Oxford American, The Iowa Review, Brevity, and elsewhere. He is an associate professor of English at Western Carolina University, and he co-edits In Place, a nonfiction book series from West Virginia University Press.

Rebecca Gayle Howell, Jan 4 at 7 pm

REBECCA GAYLE HOWELL is the author of American Purgatory, winner of the 2016 Sexton Prize, and her debut collection, Render/An Apocalypse, was a finalist for Foreword’s 2014 Book of the Year. Howell is also the translator of Amal al-Jubouri’s verse memoir of the Iraq War, Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation. Among Howell’s honors are fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a Pushcart Prize. Howell edits poetry for the Oxford American and serves as James Still Writer-in-Residence at the Hindman Settlement School.

For more information about the readings, contact MFA Director Jessie van Eerden:, 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.