I always get just a little more excited about entering the West Virginia Writers, Inc. Writing Competition when I find out who will be reading “MY” work. When I read a judge’s work and hear their presentations, it simply isn’t as personal as to have them read my ‘stuff’. This is the kind of validation that will inspire us to write long and write well.
We’ve been working at gathering a group of judges this year who are at the top of their respective fields of writing and veritable champions of West Virginia and Appalachian lit. We are hoping that this will inspire you to stuff your envelope with several entries when entering the contest.
And remember, every third entry, per mailing….IS FREE.
The Joe McCabe Memorial Playwrighting Award will be judged by Scott Frank
Scott Frank is a playwright and storyteller. After living and working as a writer in New York, Scott returned to Western Pennsylvania, where he presently teaches in the Theatre and Communication Department at Washington & Jefferson College, in his hometown of Washington, PA. His play “Butter’s Goat” has been performed in New York, London, and Pittsburgh and he has also directed for the stage in those cities as well. He lives on the Northside of Pittsburgh with his wife Sarah Frank. He is currently reading for the American College Theatre Festival.
The Nonfiction Category will be judged by Valerie Nieman. Valerie is the author of Wake Wake Wake, a poetry collection published in 2006, a collection of short stories, Fidelities, from West Virginia University Press- 2004. Her first two novels were set in West Virginia: Neena Gathering, a science fiction novel, and Survivors - a story of family loss and recovery in the 1970s. Feral, a novel set in North Carolina, will appear in 2010. A longtime newspaper reporter and editor, she continues to free lance articles on travel and sailing. She has received an NEA creative writing fellowship, two Elizabeth Simpson Smith prizes in fiction, and the Greg Grummer Prize in poetry. A graduate of West Virginia University and the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University.
Children’s Picture Books and Full-Length Books for youths to age 16 will be judged by none other than Brenda Seabrooke. Brenda is the award winning author of ‘Judy Scuppernong’, ‘The Bridges of Summer’, and of course ‘The Haunting of Swain’s Fancy’, and her latest book, CEMETERY STREET has been nominated in the Best Juvenile category for a 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award.
The Humor Category brings us one of the finest humor writers in the country as our judge - Susan Reinhardt. Susan is a humor columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times, a radio personality, and author of: Not Tonight Honey, Not Til I’m A Size Six; Dishing With the Kitchen Virgin; and Don’t Sleep With a Bubba Unless Your Eggs Are In Wheelchairs. She’s become a return guest at the Erma Bombeck Writers Conference and the Today Show.
Long Poetry will be judged by Rick Mulkey. Professor Rick Mulkey, Director of Creative Writing Programs of Converse College is the author of Before the Age of Reason, Bluefield Breakdown, Greatest Hits: 1994-2004, and Toward Any Darkness. His work appears in the anthologies American Poetry: the Next Generation, The Southern Poetry anthology, and A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry, among others.
Short poetry judging will be handled by Jeff Mann. Jeff is published everywhere, is a frequent visitor to the WVW Conference and the Appalachian Studies Association Conference at Marshall U. Jeff is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Virginia Tech and author of: Loving Mountains, Loving Men; Bones Washed with Wine; Edge; Flint Shards from Sussex. Arlington, Virginia: Gival Press. Winner of the 1999 Gival Press Poetry Prize, Mountain Fireflies. Yosemite, California: Poetic Matrix Press. Winner of the 1999 Poetic Matrix Chapbook Series, and Bliss. Baltimore, Maryland: BrickHouse Books. Winner of the 1997 Stonewall Chapbook Competition.
Emerging Writer: Prose will be judged by none other than June Berkley. June, a favorite of many WVW conferences and author of Shannaganey Blue has been described as a writer who imagines her family saga in storytelling performances and fiction. Her multi-faceted career in education includes public school and university teaching and nationwide consulting.
Emerging Writer: Poetry will be judged by Dana Wildsmith. Wildsmith’s first chapbook Alchemy, sold out its first printing within a matter of months—an almost unheard-of event in the world of small poetry presses. Her subsequent poetry collections, Annie , Our Bodies Remember, One Good Hand, and the audio collection, Choices, have also been well-received. The University Press of Kentucky included Wildsmith in its highly acclaimed anthology, Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia, and her work appears in other anthologies. Her poems and essays have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Yankee, The Kentucky Poetry Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, Calliope, The Chattahoochee Review, and others.
The Book length - Fiction and Nonfiction category will be judged by Keith Maillard. Keith is originally from Wheeling WV and now resides in Canada and He is currently a full professor and co-chair of the English department of the University of British Columbia, and specializes in fiction and poetry. He is the award winning author of: Gloria, The Clarinet Polka, Running, Morgantown, Lyndon Johnson and the Majorettes, and Looking Good.
This leaves two adult categories and for the 2009 WV Writers Competition, the judges for these last two categories are WVW past conference presenters, noted novelists and heros of the Outlaw Writing tour. That’s right folks, the judges for Short Story and Appalachian Theme are none other than WVW favorites – Chuck Kinder and Lee Maynard.
The Short Story category will be judged by the real wonder boy, Chuck Kinder. Chuck directs the writing programs at the University of Pittsburgh and is the author of The Last Mountain Dancer, Snakehunter, and Honeymooners, a cautionary tale. Among his many awards are: the Edith Mirreelles Writing Fellowship at Stanford, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Fiction, A Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Award in Fiction, and an Appalachian Heritage Denny C. Plattner First Place Award for Nonfiction.
The Appalachian Theme category will be judged by Lee Maynard. Novelist Lee Maynard was born and raised in Wayne County, West Virginia, in the small mining town of Crum. He graduated from Ceredo-Kenova High School and then earned a BA from West Virginia University. He published his first novel, Crum, in 1988. Since then, he has been published many times in periodicals, including Reader's Digest, The Saturday Review, and the Columbia Review of Literature. He has also worked as an editor and screenwriter. In 1995, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship in Fiction for his novel Screaming with the Cannibals. Lee Maynard lives and writes in New Mexico.
The judges for our young writers categories are as equally distinguished and many are members of West Virginia Writers, Inc.:
Elementary School Prose -- Nadine McKinney, author of Eyes in the Attic
Elementary School Poetry -- Molly Feldman, University of Kentucky
Middle School Prose -- Patsy Pittman, author of Blood Kin and Other Strangers
Middle School Poetry -- Wilma Acree, author of Wilma Acree’s Greatist Hits!
High School Prose -- Karin Fuller, columnist, Charleston Gazzette
High School Poetry -- Cheryl Denise Miller, author of I Saw God Dancing