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Monday, January 29, 2007

Eastern Panhandle WV Writers Please Note

(This information courtesy of WV Writers' own Ed Zahniser)

Shaharazade's Exotic Tea Room on German Street in Shepherdstown, WV hosts open readings for poetry and prose on the First Sunday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. This is a fun mixed-age group of writers, from age 12 to the 70s and 80s. A couple of the writers are active members of WVW. Come and share your work and be spurred to more, new work by other writers. For information call Ed Zahniser at 304/876-2442. Upcoming dates are February 4, March 4, April 8 and May 6. Listeners are welcome. If food or beverages are desired, you may order from the menu.

The Bookend Poets workshop/open readings take place 8 to 10 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month in Shepherdstown, WV. An open reading format is followed. If you want gentle, constructive feedback on your work, bring 12 to 15 photocopies so people can follow along as you read. Age range is 20-somethings to 80-somethings and several of the poets are quite widely published and very knowledgeable about poetry. Several are active members of WVW Inc.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Diversions Poetry Competition

Diversions annual poetry competition is open to new and emerging Canadian, American and International poets.

There are cash prizes valued at more than $700.

1st place $350
2nd place $225
3rd place $150

For all the details, see their website at...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Tennessee Writers Alliance Creative Nonfiction Contest

(This information courtesy an email sent by Dr. Jimmy Carl Harris, who's both a friend of WV Writers and a past and future WV Writers Conference Workshop Leader)

Hey, y’all,

Our friend Kory Wells has asked me to forward her below e-mail, pertaining to the Tennessee Writers Alliance Creative Nonfiction Contest, and I am delighted to do so. Their website has contest and conference details

In addition, let me remind you of another contest. The deadline for the Tennessee Mountain Writers contests is February 1st, this year. These contests are held in conjunction with the TMW conference in March, in Oak Ridge. Full information about the contests and the conference is on the TMW website: Click on Annual Conference. By the way, it’s an outstanding conference—I hope to see you there!

This e-mail is an example of the mutual cooperation and support shared by the Alabama Writers Conclave, the Tennessee Writers Alliance, and the Tennessee Mountain Writers.

Jimmy Carl Harris
Program Chair, Alabama Writers Conclave

The Tennessee Writers Alliance Creative Nonfiction Award

28th, 2007 Postmark Deadline

First Prize $500
Second Prize $250
Third Prize $100

For full guidelines, visit

The first, second, and third prizewinner will be selected from a short list of finalists. Honorable mentions will be named at judges' discretion. Cash awards and certificates will be announced at our conference in June 2007. The judge this year is Richard Goodman, author of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France and a contributor to The AWP Writer's Chronicle, the New York Times, Vanity Fair,
and many other national publications.

Submission Guidelines

1. The contest is open to all writers with the exception of board members, contest committee members, or staff of the Tennessee Writers Alliance.

2. All submissions must be original and unpublished. All entries must be typed, double-spaced, on one side of white 8 1/2 X 11 paper. No simultaneous submissions. (See the FAQ on our site about this.) Secure pages with staples. No paper clips.

3. Creative nonfiction should not exceed 3,000 words.

4. Each piece of writing submitted will be considered as a separate entry.

5. Submit two copies of entry, plus one separate cover sheet with the title, author's name, address, e-mail, and phone number. The author's name MUST NOT appear anywhere except the cover sheet.

6. An entry fee must accompany each entry: $10 for TWA members; $15 for non-members.

Entries that do not meet these requirements will be disqualified, and the entry fee will NOT be refunded. We regret that we cannot acknowledge the receipt of entries without a self-addressed, stamped postcard sent with entry, nor can we return manuscripts. However, we will be happy to send results of the competition, which will be announced in June, ONLY to those who include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) with submission.

All entries must be postmarked no later than February 28, 2006.

Mail to:

Literary Competition
P.O. Box 120396
Nashville, TN 37212

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mountain Girl Press seeks submissions

Mountain Girl Press is a young small press located in Bristol Virginia. Tammy Robinson Smith, the publisher and founder of the small Appalachian publishing house, began the venture in 2005. She has published a novel and a book of short stories, all based in Appalachia. Ms. Smith expresses the house's mission statement as "to publish fiction that celebrates the wit, humor, and strength of Appalachian women" and centers on the relationships between women with an Appalachian setting. She stated that she plans to publish another book of short stories in 2007, along with one novel.

Mountain Girl Press is a small endeavor and, according to Ms. Smith, is geared to grow slowly. In the next ten years she plans to have a catalog of books available for book fairs and events. Regarding the logistics of Mountain Girl, editors, readers and printing are subcontracted and the publishing house is currently a print on demand house. The writing guidelines are available online and the house will be actively seeking short stories beginning January of 2007. Romances are allowed, as are mysteries, as long as they fit within the parameters of "women's fiction written by women sigh Appalachian roots". The submissions can be within the body of an email or in hard copy and Ms. Smith does not require a query, as long as guidelines are followed.

After submission, the author should expect a response within two to three weeks. Mountain Girl pays a flat fee for short stories, fees for novels are individually negotiated. First time copyright is acquired by the press and any subsequent publication of the short stories by the author should reflect first time publication by Mountain Girl. The average turn around time between acceptance and publication is about one year, currently. Ms. Smith publishes trade sized paperbacks and makes these available via the Mountain Girl website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Ingrams. Larger bookstores will order the book, as well as smaller stores.

Mountain Girl Press is a publishing house with the advantages and disadvantages of the small press. Its narrow focus is ideal for the woman who wants to write about women set in Appalachia. It will have the disadvantage of requiring more promotion on the part of the author, although Ms. Smith will readily assist in this aspect of publishing. For the author seeking to publish Appalachian women's fiction, this may be a place to start. For more information, go to

Monday, January 22, 2007

Paul Epstein's Miners of Sago song

(From WV Writers member, Paul Epstein)

It is one year this month that 12 miners died in a coal mine at Sago, WV. I wrote this song last week and uploaded it to my Garageband website for free streaming or download. If you like it, pass it on. I've pasted the words below. If you have trouble with Garageband and want me to e-mail the mp3 file, let me know (I can send a low bit-rate mp3 that's under 2 mb or CD quality at about 4 mb).

Here's the direct link to the song page:

Here's the link to my main page: (then look for name Miners of Sago at right, click green arrow to hear, or name of song to go to song page for download):

The Miners of Sago are Calling

©Paul Epstein, 2007

If I were a miner working down in a hole
Diggin’ out rock to get to the coal
I’d want the owners whose profit’s at stake
To work there beside me makin’ sure that it’s safe

But they live in mansions and fly in their jets
And use politicians like they were their pets
They bust up the unions, buy ads on TV
They’d rather pay fines than pay for safety


The miners of Sago are callin’
From their graves in the WV hills
Sayin’ it’s time to stop stallin’
Make the companies swallow their pill

Good pay won’t ease the sorrow
Insurance may cover the cost
The coal will still be there tomorrow
It ain’t worth the lives that are lost

Coal has no future, some people say
It’s dirty pollution has had it’s heyday
Flattening mountains to get at the seams
Is destroying their beauty and poisoning streams

It’s true that the jobs and the taxes coal pays
Are a godsend to states that have few other ways
For people to earn more than minimum wage
But it’s time that we learned to turn a new page

(Paul Epstein )

Sunday, January 21, 2007

WVW eNEWS - January 19, 2007

West Virginia Poets Heat Up Winter: Poetry Contest, Readings, Workshop

West Virginia Annual Spring Writing
Contest Opens - Deadline March 15

West Virginia Writers, Inc. opened its Annual Spring Writing Competition this month, and all poets - including young writers - have ways to participate in the 2007 edition that offers $6,500 in cash prizes. The official deadline is a March 15 postmark date.
Poetry categories are:
- Long Poetry: Poetry over 20 lines in length; any form.
- Short Poetry: Poetry 20 lines or shorter in length; any form.
- Emerging Writers: Poetry. Any poetry form, any length.
- Young Writers Poetry: Any poetry form, any length.
- Poetry for Elementary G 1-4; Middle School G 5-8.

Complete details and official entry form can be printed from the WVW webpage - Questions? Email
Of course the WVW writing competition has many categories for writers of short story, novels, creative non-fiction, humor, scripts/plays, and children's books. Find out more at

Friday January 26 - WV Poetry Slam
Ravenswood, WV

A West Virginia Poetry Slam is scheduled for Friday Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m. at Fannin Chappel in Sherman, WV, ( just north of Ravenswood). There is no admission, though nominal donations would be gladly accepted by sponsors. If you're interested in participating, there will be more information on signing up. Sign up upon arrival. This event is open to all ages and please keep your hosts in mind when selecting works to recite, so try and keep it reasonably "clean". Questions? contact Andrea Parkins or,

Thursday - February 15 - Poetry Readings
Charleston, WV

Poetry and Storytelling: Affrilachian Poets
WV Cultural Center State Theater. Time: 6:30 p.m.
No charge for this event. Contact: 304-558-0220

Saturday - February 17 - Poetry by the Fire
Charles Town, WV

The Friends Wilderness Center (in cooperation with The Writer’s Center of Bethesda, MD) present Maryhelen ("Mel") Snyder, writer and educator, and Friends Wilderness Poet Ron Weber - plus other poets and poetry lovers - for a winter morning of reading and discussing poetry around the fire at Niles Cabin.

The theme will be "Finding God in Poetry." This will use the reading and writing of poetry to bridge the divide between theism and non-theism. Quoting the sponsor, "God has been depicted in poetry from its early beginnings in singing praise, yet as the poet Rile writes, God essentially remains "the nameless one." Readings of Whitman, Hopkins, Rile, others for inspiring your own poetry and poetic prose. Bring your own or other relevant poetry to read, if you like. Poetry listeners are valued as much as poetry readers. Show up at 9:30 a.m. at Niles Cabin at the Friends Wilderness Center. Program begins at 10 a.m. until mid-afternoon. There's a break or a bag lunch. A nominal case donation is suggested for participation.

LODGING OPTION - The Friends Wilderness Center ( sits on a forested mountainside - 1400 acres between the Appalachian Trail and the Shenandoah River - near Charles Town, WV, 60 miles northwest of the DC Beltway. Call Sheila Bach at 304-728-4820 to RSVP and directions. The Center has 2 guest rooms for "retreatants" -- for a $60/person one receives a dinner, bed with full glass door looking out into the wilderness, full breakfast. Sheila Bach is the contact person. Other options: Hilltop Inn in Harpers Ferry, maybe 15 miles away. Plus, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club has cabins within an hour, and a big house in Harpers Ferry - all for rent. Camping is available at Friends Wilderness.

Saturday - March 17 - Poetry Workshop
Charleston, WV

The Cultural Center, in Charleston, is offering a series of creative workshops.
Discover Arts and Crafts: Poetry with Doug Van Gundy
Hours: 10am - 12:30pm and 2pm - 4:30pm
West Virginia Cultural Center. Registration: $25 per person.
CONTACTS: Call to register Bethany Cline 558-0220 ext 171,
or Pat Cowdery ext 130

For more news on WV writing events, go to the WV Writers
Blog at updated frequently
with new literary news and writers' opportunities . . .


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Poetry Slam!

(Thanks to Susanna Holstein for this information)

There will be a poetry slam held on Friday January 26th, 7:30 pm at Fannin Chapel in Sherman, WV, just above Ravenswood.

There is no admission, though donations would be gladly accepted.

If you're interested in participating I'll have more information on signing up. We plan to keep it simple, so you'll probably be able to sign up when you arrive.

This event is open to all ages and we want to keep our hosts in mind when selecting works to recite, so try and keep it reasonably "clean". If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Andrea Parkins at 372-6430 or by e-mail ("

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Becky Conrad Column

Karin Fuller has devoted her column in today's Charleston Gazette to Becky Conrad. Though the article touches upon her recent health troubles, it's really more of a tribute to who Becky is as a person and her outlook on life.

You can read it in Today's Charleston Gazette or courtesy of Karin's Gazette blog at the address below.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cultural Center offers creative workshops

The Cultural Center, in Charleston, is offering a series of creative workshops.

February 15 - Poetry and Storytelling
15th open mic at 6pm

March 17 Poetry Workshop with Doug Van Gundy cost is $25 per person 10am- 4:30pm
Call 558-0220 ext 130 or 171 to register

Creative Writing Workshop April 13 and 14
Schedule is coming

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Becky Conrad Fund

Ladies & gentlemen of WV Writers, I want to bring to your attention a situation involving one of our members who is also a regional representative of WV Writers. I speak of Becky Conrad.

Please visit the following website to read of her situation and of the efforts being made on her behalf. Perhaps you too can help. I personally ask you to keep her in your prayers.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Snake Hill sees publication

(Thanks to Terry McNemar for this information)

Norm Julian’s Trilogy: Part II

‘Snake Hill’

The publication of SNAKE HILL by Norman Julian provides a non-fiction companion volume to his award-winning novel, CHEAT SNAKE HILL is a collection of essays about a rugged spot in the Allegheny Mountains, where snakes are common, bears usually present, mountain lions not unheard of, and newspapermen a novelty. Ralph Brem, past editor of The Dominion Post at Morgantown, provided the foreword. In separate years, the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors and the West Virginia Press Association named Julian best columnist in their states.

SNAKE HILL details the homesteading and outdoor adventure in some of the same places where the novel is set.

Brem writes that Julian "uses words like some good people use garlic...just enough so that you notice 'em and delicious enough to make you want to come back for more."

"SNAKE HILL is overdue in our literature of place: The pungent biography of and on-going concerns of one corner of West Virginia. Norman Julian's crisp, conversational, and frequently humorous voice advises us on a range of vital matters þ animals, weather, house-raising, gardening, forest ecology, local history, geology, carpentry, not to mention the particular pleasures of cord-wood, garlic, and pick-up trucks. This is a notebook of ordinary wonders, an appreciation of everyday mysteries that should be on the reading list of every West Virginian þ and anybody who cares about living with wisdom and grace. " - Richard Currey, O'Henry, Pushcart and Hemingway Foundation awards winner, writing in The Clarksburg Telegram.

"(Snake Hill) is a place that is not just observed and ruminated over, but was cleared and built stone by stone by the author himself... His homestead is emblematic of a life that is independent by embracing its true dependence: on other human beings, on the water, on the garden..." - Meredith Sue Willis, New York novelist and Shinnston native in The Parkersburg News.

For more information, call 1 (304) 599-2295 or write:

Trillium Publishing
454 Kensington Ave
Star City, WV 26505

ID America Festival Play Contest

(Thanks to Joe McCabe and Terry McNemar for the information)



Quo Vadimus Arts is proud to announce submissions are Being ACCEPTED FOR the


a festival of short plays about American identity written by playwrights from around the nation, performed in New York City, November 2007.

January 3rd, 2007: Submissions are being accepted for Quo Vadimus Arts' ID America Festival. America is made up of many communities and our diversity is what makes dialogue both difficult and vital. QVA is looking for plays and playwrights to help us create a festival that questions, explores, challenges and celebrates what it means to be living in America today. The ID America Festival was inspired by QVA's growing concern over the polarization of media in America. News organizations are increasingly biased towards the left or right, and it is rare to find an open forum where differing points of view are given equal weight.

We are becoming divided by the papers we read, or the news stations we watch; a nation whose people are pigeonholed based on their political or religious affiliations, by their lifestyle choices. We are demographics before we are Americans. We at Quo Vadimus Arts want to create a festival where everyone, audiences and artists alike, emerges having seen the world from a different point of view; having walked in someone else's shoes.

QVA is looking for playwrights of all ages, of all levels of experience, from all over the country. If you are native-born or foreign-born, whatever your political or religious affiliation, if you consider yourself an writer or just have something to say, we want you to send us a piece that reflects your view of America.

10-16 short plays will be chosen to be performed several times at the Clemente Solo Velez Center in New York City, from November 16-21, 2007. At the end of the festival, 4-5 plays will be selected as part of an evening of winning plays. In addition, QVA intends to take the winning plays on a national tour of Universities and regional theaters in 2008.

Visit or to submit your play or to learn more about the festival. All submissions will be considered anonymously and will be selected by committee.

Quo Vadimus Arts is an international community of artists working to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences between cultures. Quo Vadimus means 'where are we going?'. This is a question that our company seeks to continually explore by broadening the scope of dialogue at a community level. It is the constant confrontation of this question that gives us direction. Our projects are chosen to bring new stories and voices to audiences who may have not had an opportunity to hear them otherwise.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Reading near Parkersburg

Wednesday, January 9, 2007

Reading, Vienna Public Library, 23rd St., Vienna, 7:30 p.m., free and open to the public.

Michele Reese shares her poetry. Michele teaches at the University of South Carolina Sumter. She received her Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Missouri and has published poems in Mid-America Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. Following Phia is her first book-length poetry collection.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Logan Topographies, published

(From WVWriters 2nd VP, Terry McNemar)

The Logan Topographies by Alena Hairston, a new and progressive Appalachian poetry collection, is available and being distributed by W.W. Norton (ISBN 0-89255-329-4 / 978-0-89255-329-7).

Our friend and colleague, Phyllis Wilson Moore states the following: I agree with the press release, the poetry is "formally inventive." I like that. Its focus on the seldom heard, often unacknowledged, ethnic groups in the mining community of Logan, WV, telegraphs a history in miniature. Many of the lines are startling and beautiful. Hairston's work is new to me and rather mind-boggling

I'm pleased to learn the ‘The Logan Topographies’ was awarded the 2006 Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize and is one more fine collection to add to West Virginia's literary heritage.