winter 2019 VISITING WRITERS, December 29-January 3


WV Wesleyan’s MFA will host a Visiting Writers Series during the program’s Winter 2019 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 the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library (see #7 on the campus map (PDF) and click here for directions to campus).

Steve Scafidi at 7 pm, December 29

Steve Scafidi is the author of Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer (Louisiana State University Press, 2001), For Love of Common Words (LSU, 2006), The Cabinetmaker’s Window (LSU, 2014), To the Bramble and the Briar (University of Arkansas Press, 2014) and a chapbook Songs for the Carry-On (Q Avenue Press, 2013). He has won the Larry Levis Reading Prize, the James Boatwright Prize and the Miller Williams Prize. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and he has taught at several universities. He works as a cabinetmaker and lives with his family in Summit Point, West Virginia.

Diane Gilliam, Catherine Venable Moore, & Jacinda Townsend  at 7 pm, December 30

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 a recent recipient of the Gift of Freedom from A Room of Her Own Foundation.

Catherine Venable Moore is a nonfiction writer and radio producer based in Fayette County, West Virginia. Before returning home to the Mountain State, she studied writing at Harvard University and the University of Montana. Her work has been published in Best American Essays, Oxford American, VICE, and other places. Her current projects include two works of narrative nonfiction set in Appalachia, to be published by Random House.

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 grew up in Southcentral Kentucky and took her first creative writing class at Harvard, where she earned her B.A. While at Duke Law School she cross-registered in the English department, where she took her next few formative writing workshops, and in 1999, after four years of being first a broadcast journalist and then a lawyer in New York City, went to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received her M.F.A. and went on to spend a year as a Fulbright fellow in Côte d’Ivoire. She recently finished a novel called Kif. Jacinda is Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Berea College.

Matthew Ferrence & Kayla Rae Whitaker at 7 pm, January 2

Matthew Ferrence is the author of Appalachia North: a memoir, and All-American Redneck: variations on an icon, from James Fenimore Cooper to the Dixie Chicks. He teaches creative writing at Allegheny College, in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Kayla Rae Whitaker’s work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed, Literary Hub, Lenny Letter, and others. Her debut novel, THE ANIMATORS, was named one of the best debut novels of 2017 by Entertainment Weekly and one of the best books of 2017 by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, and BookPage. A Kentucky native, she has an MFA from New York University and lives in Brooklyn.

Mindy McGinnis at 7 pm, January 3

Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning novelist whose books include the YA novel The Female of the Species. Mindy writes across multiple genres, including post-apocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy. While her settings may change, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.

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.