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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WV Writers 2009 Summer Conference Presenter Bios

This is a work in progress that will be frequently updated. Check back here for the latest news and visit our official 2009 Conference Page for registration forms and lodging/meals forms.

(UPDATED 5/31/09)

writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Appalachian Heritage, Algonquin, Crazy River, and Pudding House. She is author of two books of poetry, has been included in such anthologies as Wild Sweet Notes and Seeking the Swan, and serves as editor for Confluence Magazine. In 2002 she was selected to attend the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop. Wilma has been a member of WV Writers, Inc. for nineteen years and has held numerous offices and currently serves on the advisory board.

ANDREW WHEELER, holds a Master of Forensic Science degree from The George Washington University and has over ten years of field experience in civil and criminal investigations. He is qualified as an expert witness, and has testified in several fields of forensic investigation. Mr. Wheeler received the prestigious “Professor of the Year” award given by the Mountain State University Student Government Association in 2005.

BRAD BARKLEY, a native of North Carolina, is the author of the novel, Money, Love (Norton), a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection and a "BookSense 76" choice. Money, Love was named one of the best books of 2000 by the Washington Post and the Library Journal. Brad was named one of the “Breakthrough Writers You Need To Know” by Book Magazine. His novel Alison's Automotive Repair Manual (St. Martin’s) was also a "BookSense 76" selection. He has published two collections of short stories, Circle View (SMU Press) and Another Perfect Catastrophe (St. Martin’s). His short fiction has appeared in nearly thirty magazines, including Southern Review, Georgia Review, the Oxford American, Glimmer Train, Book Magazine, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, which twice awarded him the Emily Balch Prize for Best Fiction. His first YA novel, Scrambled Eggs At Midnight, co-authored with Heather Hepler, was published in May 2006 by Penguin, and was a summer 2006 “Booksense 76” choice. His second YA novel, Dream Factory, published in spring 2007, was also “BookSense 76” selection, a Library Guild “Book of the Month, pick” and was voted the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters “Best Young Adult Book” for 2007. Their most recent title, Jars of Glass, was recently published by Dutton-Penguin. Brad has won four Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

DANIEL BOYD, a West Virginian, has degrees in Communications (West Virginia University) and Filmmaking (University of Arkansas). Boyd began his filmmaking career making documentaries (HOMELESS BROTHER, MARCOS DE SAN MARCOS), then a series of short narrative films, then his first feature film, CHILLERS, was released in 1988 followed by STRANGEST DREAMS and PARADISE PARK. A professor of communications at West Virginia State University since 1985, Boyd established the Paradise Film Institute at WVSU in 1994 for the purpose of supporting filmmaking in the state. As a U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Boyd taught the first filmmaking and screenwriting classes at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during the 98-99 academic year in East Africa. READ MORE at:

WILLIAM BITNER is a life-long fan of both comic books and professional wrestling, with his tastes running distinctly old school in both mediums. At the age of 46, he decided to train to become a professional wrestler himself, and has since dragged his increasingly aching bones through over 300 matches, and a dozen title belts. Mr. Bitner is also the author of a short story collection, M Is for Monster, and currently resides in Charleston, W.Va.

ERIC FRITZIUS A Mercer County resident, Eric Fritzius is a freelance writer / editor / playwright / actor / director / webmaster / graphic designer / and podcaster whose work has appeared in the Greenbrier Valley Quarterly magazine, the Mountain Voices anthology, WV Daily News, the Charleston Gazette, and graces the covers of such books as Belinda Anderson’s Buckle Up, Buttercup, and WV Writers latest collection Seeking the Swan. His play “…to a Flame” recently debuted on the stage of the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg. He serves as President Emeritus and webmaster for WV Writers, Inc. and produces and hosts their weekly podcast.

GEOFFREY C. FULLER - author, teacher, editor, and managing partner of the Evergreen Syndicate LLC , is an award-winning author and the only person to win the coveted WV Commission on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowships in all three prose categories - (fiction, nonfiction, and memoir), Geoff Fuller teaches and mentors an ever-increasing group of successful writers in the Charleston, WV area. He is married to lifestyle columnist, Karin Fuller

KARIN T. FULLER, lifestyle columnist for the Charleston Gazette, first began writing in 1997, shortly after the birth of her best source of material, her daughter Celeste. In the years since, Karin’s columns have always been selected as one of the top three each year by the West Virginia Press Association, but in 2003, she was awarded first place (General Interest) in the USA, by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Along with her columns, Karin’s stories have appeared in such publications as Woman’s World, Appalachian Heritage, Front Porch, and Atlanta Baby.

PAM HANSON, along with her writing partner (and mother), is the award-winning author of 26 novels for Dorchester, Harlequin/Silhouette, and Guideposts. A 27th, Hometown Reunion, will be published in September by Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A former reporter, Pam previously taught journalism at West Virginia University. In 2006, West Virginia Writers awarded her the JUG award for writing. She now lives in Nebraska where she continues to write and tutors students in a university writing center.

GEORGE LIES a short story writer and journalist, has years of experience working collaboratively with writers of West Virginia. In the 1990s, he led editorial teams to publish limited editions, entitled Janus ’95 and Pokeberry Days. His story, “Trailer Dogs Barking”, is in Mountain Voices; and, “Keys to Heaven”, in the anthology, Mist on the Mon, was translated and published in Steneau, a literary journal in Romania. Before serving as President of West Virginia Writers (1999-01 and 2003-04), he directed the Golden Rod Writers Conference (1983-2001).

was born in 1942 and grew up in Omaha Nebraska. He moved to Huntington in 1967 to teach at Marshall and has lived there ever since. He has won many awards for his teaching and his poetry. The author of seven books and chapbooks, his most recent is a collection of his selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust. He is the editor of the annual publication ABZ: A Magazine of Poetry. The press he edits also sponsors an annual First Book Poetry Contest, which awards a prize of $1000 and book publication to the winner.

RENÉE K. NICKLESON is a former professional ballet dancer, and a graduate of the MFA program at West Virginia University. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Chelsea, Mid-American Review, Paste, Naugatuck River Review, The Gettysburg Review, as well as other literary magazines and poetry and fiction anthologies. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prizes, and awarded a Special Mention.

KEITH & JOAN PITZER are known and respected West Virginia musicians. Sharing music and marriage for over thirty years, they have performed at numerous fairs and festivals, coffeehouses and listening rooms across the mid-Atlantic states. Based out of Kingwood, they’ve appeared as part of the Voices of West Virginia touring group with songwriters John Lilly, Kate Long and Todd Burge. Their song "Underneath a Blackened Moon" is included in the Mountain Whispers adaptation of William Blizzard’s, “When Miners March.” Their musical style is a blend of blend contemporary style with Appalachian and Celtic music.

CATHY PLESKA (Cat) holds a BA in English (Mountain State U.), an MA in Humanities (Marshall U.), and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction (Goucher College). She is a regular contributor to Wonderful West Virginia Magazine and is an essayist on West Virginia Public Radio. Her radio essay, “Unexpected Harvest” was published in 2008 in the Hamilton Stone Review. She has three articles in the West Virginia Encyclopedia. Her memoir, The Last Storyteller, began as a thesis for her MFA and was eventually polished into a manuscript. She works as a freelance writer and editor and performs as the ‘History Alive!’ character, Frances B. Johnson. In 2008, she created and performed as West Virginia native and Mother’s Day founder, Anna Jarvis. This performance was televised throughout the state on Mother’s Day. Cat currently teaches English at Strayer University in Teay’s Valley, WV and resides in Scott Depot with her husband Dan, daughter Katie, and several critters.

has been heralded as “a modern-day, southern-fried Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry,” says Booklist. This award winning author of the celebrated Not Tonight Honey, Wait ‘til I’m a Size 6, (which the Chicago Sun-Times calls “wickedly fun…like hanging out with your bluntest, most mischievous friend, the one who never fails to crack you up.”) will join West Virginia Writers, Inc. for two workshops, a stand-up humor presentation on Friday evening, and an Awards Banquet keynote address. Now, the laughter resumed as Reinhardt took on domestic life in a new collection of essays, DON’T SLEEP WITH A BUBBA, a Kensington Books trade paperback original. Susan Reinhardt once loved a Bubba, so she speaks from personal experience. Susan Reinhardt is the mother of two precious children, ages 14 and 9, and enjoys anything related to water (except snakes), is a community volunteer, a member of the PTA and the Read it or Not, Here We Come Book Club. She is a regular public speaker, having done a keynote address for the Erma Bombeck Writers Convention last year. Reinhardt is speaker in demand to large corporations and small groups alike, listing such topics as: “Healing Through Humor,” and “Out of the Darkness,” which delves into her battles with depression and other illnesses. It is her mission to bring these issues out of the closet, to remove the stigma, and enlighten others so they may get help and find joy in their lives. She also does stand-up comedy and enjoys being a frequent guest on radio and local and network television. She is a highly awarded nationally syndicated columnist.

DAVID SAMUEL, former professor of wildlife management and conservation at WVU (1968-1998), has made a niche for himself as an outdoor writer. His articles can be found in all outdoor mass media reporting and the awards garnered include: Safari Club International World Bowhunter Chapters, Hall of Honor, Inducted, 2001, The Wildlife Society, Special Recognition Award, 2001, Lee Gladfelter Award, Pope and Young Club, 2002, West Virginia Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Mountaineer Award, 2005, Archery Hall of Fame, inducted Sept 21, 2007, Springfield MO., Deer Management Career Achievement Award, Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society, Feb. 24, 2009. Outdoor Writer of the Year, WV Bowhunters Assoc., 1992 and 2009.

NATALIE SYPOLT received her MFA in Fiction from West Virginia University in 2005. Her fiction and book reviews have appeared in Kestrel, Potomac Review, Oklahoma Review, Shenandoah Review, and Mid-American Review. Natalie has taught writing at WVU in Morgantown and Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. She currently lives and writes in Preston County, WV.

SANDY TRITT is a writer, editor and speaker. The founder and CEO of Inspiration for Writers, an editing and critiquing service for aspiring writers, she has edited hundreds of manuscripts. Sandy’s fiction has been published in literary magazines and local journals; she has also published nine nonfiction books: Everything I Know (Headline Books); Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook; and seven technical manuals (Phoenix Software, Atlanta, GA). But more than anything, Sandy loves to teach the craft of writing.

SANDRA VRANA is a professor of English at Alderson-Broaddus College, teaching composition and literature. She is a member of Barbour County Writers and served as the second editor of Grab-A-Nickel, after Barbara Smith, until last year.

RHONDA BROWNING WHITE hails from Princeton, WV, though she now resides near Daytona Beach, FL, with her husband Randy and son Jacob. She retired from 20+ years in the medical field and returned to school at Mountain State University, where she earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies and English and Literature. She is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing. Rhonda is a freelance writer and editor, and has just completed her first novel, a medical thriller. Her short stories, poetry and articles have been published in many literary magazines, trade journals, anthologies and newspapers throughout the Eastern United States.

grew up in south Georgia, the daughter of a Methodist minister active in working for social justice. She attended college wherever her Navy husband’s career took them, finally obtaining a B.A. in Sociology from Virginia Wesleyan College.In 1992, Wildsmith was named a Poetry Fellow in the South Carolina Academy of Authors, and published her first book, Alchemy (Sow’s Ear Press). Her second chapbook, Annie won the Palanquin Press competition of the University Of South Carolina, Aiken. Her first full-length collection of poems, Our Bodies Remember (Sow’s Ear Press), was published in 1999. Her most recent book, One Good Hand, was a SIBA Poetry Book of the Year nominee and was nominated for Appalachian Book of the Year. A poem from that collection, Making a Living, was read on Garrison Keiller’s “Writer’s Almanac”. She has been a Writer-in-residence for the Devil’s Tower National Monument and for the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska. She has worked as an Artist In the Schools for the South Carolina Humanities Council. Wildsmith teaches writing workshops throughout the United States. Her poems and essays have been widely published in both literary and commercial journals, including: The Sun, Yankee, The Kentucky Poetry review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Her poems have most recently been anthologized in the University Press of Kentucky’s Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Texas Review Press, 2006), Women, Period (Spinsters Ink, January, 2009), and Writing By Ear (Motes Books, 2009).