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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Best Dog now on sale

(This news courtesy of WV Writers member Annette Krause)

The Best Dog - a charming childrens book written and illustrated by Benjamin Thomas Brown of Jane Lew in Lewis County is available for $6.60 at Author House online.  (ISBN #9781452010106)

This is the perfect gift for any young child. Written in rhyme, the story of many dogs (the best being the one you grew up with) the book lends itself to memorization. Parents should be ready to hear the words, "Please, read it again!"

Ongoing Poetry Workshop

Ongoing Poetry Workshop/class every Thursday night, 7:00 p.m. at the Dils Center in downtown Parkersburg. There is no charge for this weekly class, but any small donation is appreciated.

Would you like to write a poem a week?

Would you like a friendly and supportive analysis for your poetry? Consider coming to Sacred Way Poets poetry group.

Call Susan Sheppard for more info: (304) 428-7978

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog Chat with Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher and Karan Ellison Ireland

Tonight, Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher and Karan Ellison Ireland will both be online starting at 8 PM
EST to talk about writing, blogging, and life. That covers a lot of territory, so they hope you will jump in and have some fun!

To join the chat, simply click on the link for Esse-a-Go-Go under Daily Mail Live
Chat at the blog Esse Diem

Sunday, February 26, 2012

WV Writers Conference Internship

Do you know, or are you a WV college student who has a passion for writing? Then, why not apply for an internship for the West Virginia Writers Inc. Annual Writing Conference?

Our interns are an invaluable resource, and they are afforded rare opportunities to work one on one with established writers, editors and publishers from all over the state and country.

The conference is held at Cedar Lakes in Ripley WV on the second weekend in June. It is three days of workshops, entertainment, and meeting new people. Don't pass up the opportunity to become involved in a vibrant and friendly community of artists.

To download an application, click on the link below.

Internship Application

Judge bios for the 2012 WV Writers Contest

(UPDATED 4/10/12)

The following are the bios for the judges of the 2012 WV Writers Annual Writing Contest.

Gerald Lee Ratliff - Stage Plays: the Joe McCabe Memorial Playwriting Award
Gerald Lee Ratliff is the award-winning author of numerous articles, essays, and textbooks in performance studies and literary criticism. He has served as President of the Eastern Communication Association (1991), selected as a Fulbright Scholar to China (1990), and was  as a U.S.A. delegate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to Russia (1992). He is also author of the textbook An Introduction to Reader's Theatre and Editor of the popular series Young Women's Monologues From Contemporary Plays (Meriwether Publishing, Ltd.) He currently serves as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at The State University of New York (Potsdam). 

Valerie “Val” Nieman - Nonfiction
 Valerie Nieman is the author of a new novel, Blood Clay, as well as two earlier novels, a collection of short stories, Fidelities, and a poetry collection, Wake Wake Wake.  Her work has appeared in many journals, including New Letters, Poetry, the North Carolina Literary Review, and the Kenyon Review, and in several anthologies.  She has received an NEA creative writing fellowship as well as grants from North Carolina, West Virginia, and Kentucky, and prizes including two Elizabeth Simpson Smith awards in fiction and the Greg Grummer Prize in poetry.  She graduated from West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte.  A long time newspaper reporter and editor, she now teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University, conducts writing workshops throughout the region, and serves as poetry editor of Prime Number magazine.

Linda Hager Pack - Children’s Books
   Linda Pack grew up in the small town of Hamlin, West Virginia where she was reared by her parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to be a proper mountain youngun’.  Having determined early on that children are what God does best, Linda decided to become a teacher.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Education from Eastern Kentucky University where she graduated with honors; and in 1996 Kentucky’s Governor Paul Patton presented her the prestigious Ashland Oil Teacher Award.  During her twenty-two years of teaching young children in West Virginia and Kentucky, Linda realized that the theme she and her students most enjoyed was the one she taught about Appalachia.  Following her passion for writing and the advice she often gave her students, she decided to write about what she knows and what she loves: Appalachia. The author has two grown children, Robin and Josh, and a granddaughter, Elleigh. She lives in Richmond, KY with her husband, Jim, and their sad dog, Zoe.

Joe Limer – Long Poetry
Joe Limer, West Virginia native from Clarksburg. Graduated Washington Irving H.S. then went to Fairmont State University and received a B.A. in both English and Political Science. Graduated WVU College of Law with a Juris Doctorate. Also wrote for the Fairmont Times newspaper as a regular sports reporter. After law school moved to San Diego, California. Professor at Palomar College in San Marcos, California teaching political science. Attending San Diego State University and working on a master's degree in public policy.  Poetry - Most of my poetry is considered performance poetry or spoken word. received honorable mention in Morgantown Poets poetry contest in 2011. Placed 2nd in Pittsburgh's Poetry slam competition November 2011 and won Pittsburgh poetry slam competition in December 2011. Won Encinitas Poetry Slam competition in Summer 2010. Performed in venues in Morgantown, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Oceanside, Pomona, Irvine, Long Beach, Honolulu, and Hollywood. Currently competing to make National Poetry Slam Competition in Charlotte, NC in August. Also teach poetry workshops at Palomar College and Mira Costa College and several San Diego-area high schools.

Liz Wells – Short Poetry
Liz Wells M.F.A., is former WVW Secretary and a writer who splits her time living in Portland, Oregon and Hagerstown, Maryland. She is the author of a chapbook, Knuckle Deep, and recent collections, Corollaries of Leaving and The Other Nina. Her work has appeared in various journals including Contemporary Haibun Online, Sixers Review, Gloom Cupboard, Pitkin Review, and Love Your Rebellion. She is an online E-structor, teaching essay writing and basic composition.

June Langford Berkley - Short Story
June Langford Berkley has earned a national reputation as teacher, education leader, journalist, and performer.  Proud to be "born and landed in West Virginia" she is among the Mountain State authors featured on the Literary Map of West Virginia. In 2010 she was named Distinguished Alumnus of Salem College.  She was graduated  with  double majors --and her writing career already launched in local and national newspapers--at the age of 18.  She earned a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing from Ohio University and beginning in l980 served for over a decade in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as a teacher of Creative Writing, English and education.  She has traveled, lived and worked internationally as an education leader, teacher, platform speaker, creative storyteller-performer, and writer-in-residence.  Her fiction, journal articles, professional publications, and education leadership service have been honored nationally and internationally.  Her first published story in a series of narratives set in Appalachia --where she traces her family roots through the pre-Revolutionary frontier-- was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in l982.

Tom Donlon - Emerging Writer’s Poetry: the F. ethan Fischer Memorial Poetry Award
Tom Donlon is a project manager for Verizon and lives with his wife and children in Shenandoah Junction, WV.  He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the American University in Washington, DC before moving to West Virginia in 1986. Poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming in, ABZ, America, Blue Collar Review, Christianity and Literature, Commonweal, Folio, Penn State’s International Journal of Humanities and Healthcare, Kestrel, Poet Lore, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review and in other journals, newspapers, and anthologies. Recognition has included Pushcart Prize nominations and a fellowship from the WV Commission on the Arts. 

Cindy Gaillard – Emerging Writers’ Prose
Cindy Gaillard is the Executive Producer for Arts and Culture for WOSU Television, the PBS station in Columbus, Ohio.  She is an Emmy Award winning writer, producer, director and editor.  She is currently an MFA candidate in creative non-fiction writing at The Ohio State University.

Gretchen Moran Laskas – Book Length Prose
Gretchen Moran Laskas, a native of Philippi, is an eighth generation West Virginian, and the author of two award winning novels, THE MIDWIFE'S TALE and THE MINER'S DAUGHTER.  She is the 2012 recipient of the Appalachian Heritage Writers Award, and will be the writer-in-residence this year at Shepherd University.

Silas House – Appalachian Writing
Silas House is the author of four novels: Clay’s Quilt (2001), A Parchment of Leaves (2003), The Coal Tattoo (2004), Eli the Good (2009), two plays, The Hurting Part (2005) and Long Time Travelling (2009), and Something’s Rising (2009), a creative nonfiction book about social protest co-authored with Jason Howard.  House was selected to edit the posthumous manuscript of acclaimed writer James Still, Chinaberry.  House’s young adult novel, Same Sun Here, co-written with Neela Vaswani, will be published by Candlewick Books in early 2012. House serves as the Director of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea College and on the fiction faculty at Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing program.  House is a former contributing editor for No Depression magazine, where he has done long features on such artists as Lucinda Williams, Nickel Creek, and many others.  He is also one of Nashville’s most in-demand press kit writers, having written the press kit bios for such artists as Kris Kristofferson, Kathy Mattea, Leann Womack, and others. A former writer-in-residence at Lincoln Memorial University, he is the creator of the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. House is a two-time finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Novel of the Year, the Appalachian Writer of the Year, the Lee Smith Award, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Chaffin Prize for Literature, the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and many other honors. In 2009 the Silas House Literary Seminar was given at Emory and Henry College.  For his environmental activism House received the Helen Lewis Community Service Award in 2008 from the Appalachian Studies Association.  In 2010 he was awarded the Intellectual Freedom Award from the Kentucky Council of English Teachers. House’s work can be found in The New York Times, Newsday, Oxford American, Bayou, The Southeast Review,The Louisville Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Wind, Night Train, and others, as well as in the anthologies The Southern Poetry Anthology:  Volume 3, New Stories From the South 2004:  The Year’s Best, Christmas in the South, A Kentucky Reader, Of Woods and Water, Motif, We All Live Downstream, Missing Mountains, A Kentucky Christmas, Shouts and Whispers, High Horse, The Alumni Grill, Stories From the Blue Moon CafĂ© I and II, and many others.   House is the father of two daughters.  He divides his time between London and Berea, Kentucky. 

Dr. Nancy Berk – Humor
Nancy Berk, Ph.D., President of Nancy Berk Media, LLC, is a clinical psychologist, author and award-winning humorist. Her second book, College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind, was released October 2011. A blogger for The Huffington Post, USA Today College, MORE Magazine, and, she is also a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. Nancy has appeared on television and radio, and hosts the popular iTunes podcast Whine At 9.

Laura Benedict-  Genre Fiction: SciFi/Fantasy/Horror
Laura Benedict is the author of the dark suspense novels Devil's Oven, Isabella Moon, and Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts. She has also edited the Surreal South: an Anthology of Short Fiction series with her husband, Pinckney Benedict. Her work has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, Noir at the Bar, and a number of other anthologies. A recipient of a West Virginia Artist Fellowship Grant, she currently lives in the southernmost wilds of a midwestern state, where she is surrounded by coyotes, bobcats, and many other less picturesque predators.

The Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change  (JUDGE COMING SOON)

2012 Judges for New Mountain Voices Student Contest

Pam Hanson – NMV High School
Pam Andrews Hanson along with her writing partner/mother (Barbara Andrews) is the author of more than 30 novels, including women’s inspirational fiction for Guideposts Publishing and romances for Harlequin. Several more titles will be released by Guideposts this year. In addition, she and her partner released two indie inspirational romances for Kindle on Amazon and Nook on Barnes & Noble. A former reporter, Pam previously taught beat reporting and was the director of advising for the School of Journalism at West Virginia University. She is a past recipient of the JUG Award. Pam now resides with her family in Nebraska, where she writes fulltime.

Wilma Acree – NMV Middle School
Wilma Acree holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education. She taught English at Jackson Middle School for 32 years and presented writng workshops for middle grade teachers at National Council of English Teachers Conventions, WV English Teachers' Conventions, and  Wood County Teachers' Inservice. She served as editor of Confluence literary magazine 2000-2009. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, has work published in numerous literary magazines, and has won awards in WVW's Spring Contest.

Terry McNemar’s writing group – NMV Elementary School

Friday, February 24, 2012

New WV Writers Online Forum

The new WV Writers Writing Forum has been opened. At this time, we are only permitting current or recently current (within 2 years) members to join the forum. This is just a provisional rule and may change in the future. The forum is still being changed and improved upon.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this format of forum, the posts will be viewable by guests (via internet searches or visitors to the site) in all areas except the Members Only section. This provides you with a safe place to post your work for serious critique. You may post your work in the other sections as well.

Guests will be able to view but not comment, unless we decide to open access to any who wishes to register. If you have an opinion on this one way or the other, please let us know, as this has been created to serve our membership, and anything I can do to improve it for you is the objective.

Currently, all new users must be approved by me, so please bear with us, as it may take a little bit of time for us to approve your status.

If you have any questions, you may send messages to the forum admin Craig Snider through the forum itself, or you can email him directly at

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fwd: [wvwroundtable] Kate Long's conversation with Irene McKinney

In case you missed the recent rerun of the interview with Irene McKinney that aired on WV Public Television, there is a link to it below..

Invitation: Split This Rock Poetry Festival March 22-25

Registration Now Open for the Split This Rock Poetry Festival

March 22-25, 2012 | Poems of Provocation and Witness

Join us in Washington, DC for four days and more than 50 events: readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programs, open mics, and activism! Whether you are a poet looking for community with other seekers of justice, an activist seeking inspiration and renewal, a lover of words wanting great poetry, or all of the above, Split This Rock 2012 is for you!

To learn more about the festival, click here.

When:  Thursday, March 22, 2012 (8:30am ET) - Sunday, March 25, 2012 (1pm ET)
Where:  Historic U Street Cooridor, Washington, DC

The poetry festival will include:

  • Some of the most visionary and powerful voices of our time including Alice Walker and other featured poets
  • Thought-provoking readings, workshops and panel discussions
  • Exploring economic inequality, political repression, environmental degradation and more!
  • Youth programs, open mics and activism
  • Convening poets, activists, poet-actistists, slam champions, emerging poets, DC-area poets, editors and you!

Early-bird rate: $75 before Feb. 22!

See for more information and for registration.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

West Virginia Writers, Inc. at midpoint for 2012 Contest

The 2012 Annual Writing Contest for West Virginia Writers, Inc. continues to accept submissions.

Over $6000 will be awarded at the WVW Annual Conference at Cedar Lakes on June 9, 2012. Entry deadline is March 15, 2012; however, late entries will be accepted until March 31. Thirteen adult categories include stage play, nonfiction, children's books, poetry, short story, and fiction or nonfiction book-length work. Special categories are available for emerging writers (those who are unpublished and who've never won a cash award in a previous WVW contest), Appalachian theme, humor, and genre fiction, as well as the Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change. Adult entry fees are $10 per category ($12 for book-length); late entries require an additional $2 fee per manuscript.

Students should submit a story or poem using one of six provided prompts. There are no fees to enter the student contest, which is divided into three age groups (grades 1-5, 6-8 and 9-12). Cash prizes are given for first, second and third places in each category. Additional rules and fees may apply for out-of-state entrants. For more information, entry forms and official rules, visit or contact contest coordinator Teresa Newsome at 304-601-2460.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

WV poet laureate Irene McKinney passes

Irene McKinney, poet laureate of West Virginia, passed away this morning.  The Charleston Gazette has an article about her life and her passing.