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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Judges list for the 2013 WV Writers Writing Contest

UPDATED 2/21/2013
Jeanne Bryner (LONG POETRY)
Jeanne Bryner was born in Appalachia and grew up in Newton Falls, Ohio.  A practicing registered nurse, she is a graduate of Trumbull Memorial’s School of Nursing and Kent State University’s Honors College.   She has received writing fellowships from Bucknell University, the Ohio Arts Council (’97, 07), and Vermont Studio Center.  Her poetry has been adapted for the stage and performed in Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Kentucky and Edinburgh, Scotland.  With the support of Hiram College’s Center for Literature, Medicine and Biomedical Humanities, her nursing poetry has been adapted for the stage and performed by Verb Ballets, Cleveland, Ohio.  She has a new play, “Foxglove Canyon” and her books in print are Breathless, Blind Horse: Poems, Eclipse: Stories, Tenderly Lift Me: Nurses Honored, Celebrated and Remembered, No Matter How Many Windows, The Wedding of Miss Meredith Mouse and Smoke: Poems.
She received outstanding alumnae award from KSU, Trumbull Campus and her book, No Matter How Many Windows received the Working Class Studies’ Tillie Olsen Award  for Creative Writing in Chicago.  She recently received second place for the 2012 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award in the category of Public Interest/Creative writings for her new book, SMOKE.  A community affiliate of the Center for Working Class Studies, she often writes about working class issues.  She lives with her husband near a dairy farm in Newton Falls, Ohio. 

Diane Gilliam (SHORT POETRY)
Diane Gilliam was born and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. Gilliam’s books include: Kettle Bottom, One of Everything, and Recipe for Blackberry Cake (chapbook). In 2003 she was the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship. She is the winner of the Ohioana Library Association Book of the Year Award in Poetry 2005 for Kettle Bottom, which also won a Pushcart Prize and was an American Booksellers Association Book Sense Pick for the Top Ten Poetry Books of 2005. She is the winner of the 2008 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature.

Chris Green is a writer and instructor whose monograph, The Social Life of Poetry: Appalachia, Race, and Radical Modernism, won the 2009 Weatherford Award for the best non-fiction book about Appalachia. From 2004 to 2012, Chris taught at Marshall University for the Department of English and the Graduate Humanities Program; he was also chair of Marshall’s General Education Council & helped refabricate the school’s Gen Ed program.  Chris grew up in Lexington and attended the University of Kentucky where Appalachian Studies answered his need to write poetry, know the world, and fight for justice.  He went on to earn his MA in English from Appalachian State University, and his MFA in Poetry and MS in secondary education at Indiana University, where he studied post-colonialism.  He returned to Lexington where he worked as a poet in the schools and edited Wind Magazine: A Journal of Writing and Community.   Trouble was, he kept writing essays about poetry and world change.  After returning to the academy & completing his PhD. on multicultural American poetry, Chris also co-edited Radicalism in the South Since Reconstruction, a collection of scholarly essays, and edited Coal: A Poetry Anthology, a collection of 98 poets designed for non-academic readers, a book that one reviewer concluded was “significant and lasting contribution to Appalachian literature, and maybe more importantly, to the literature of a world coming to terms with how our resources and the ways we use them transform our lives.”  His own book of poetry is called Rushlight.   He is currently (August 2012) vice-president and president elect of the Appalachian Studies Association, and he is working on a book about antebellum Appalachian literature.  He also tries to write at least one haiku a day.

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.

Dr. Jimmy Carl Harris (SHORT STORY)
Dr. Jimmy Carl Harris lives in Birmingham, Alabama. He writes, teaches, and edits, mostly fiction. His collections of prizewinning short stories, Walking Wounded and Wounds That Bind, were published by Iris Press in 2006 and 2007. His stories have appeared in The Louisville Review, Appalachian Heritage, Confluence, the Tulane Review, the Birmingham Arts Journal, and elsewhere. Some of his stories draw on his experiences as a Marine, including decorated service as a Sergeant Major. He held a number of positions in higher education, including assistant professor and department chair at Southeastern Louisiana University. In addition, he taught creative writing for the Alabama Writers Conclave, Southeastern Writers, West Virginia Writers, Tennessee Mountain Writers, and others. Jimmy Carl is currently an editor for Inspiration for Writers, an editorial service based in West Virginia.

Brett Hursey's poetry has appeared in over a hundred literary journals across the United States and Canada.  His plays have also been produced in more than a hundred theatres across the world.  Currently he teaches Playwriting and Poetry at Longwood University, in Virginia.

Jacqueline Jules (CHILDREN'S BOOKS)
Jacqueline Jules is the award-winning author of 23 children's books, including Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off (2010 CYBILS Literary Award for Short Chapter Book, Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Honor Book, ALSC Great Early Elementary Reads), Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation (2010 Library of Virginia Cardozo Award), Benjamin and the Silver Goblet (2010 Sydney Taylor Honor Award), Duck for Turkey Day (Washington State Children’s Choice Book Awards list, TN Volunteer State Award), and No English (DE Diamonds list, TN Volunteer State Award list). Also a poet, Jacqueline won the Arlington Arts Moving Words Contest, Best Original Poetry Award from the Catholic Press Association, and the SCBWI Magazine Merit Poetry Award. Jacqueline  lives in Northern Virginia.  Visit her website at
Becca J.R. Lachman teaches writing at Ohio University, from which she received her M.A. in English.  She holds B.A.s in music composition and creative writing from Otterbein University and an M.F.A. from the Bennington College Writing Seminars.  Her 2004 chapbook “Songs from the Springhouse” won the national Florence Kahn Memorial Award.  Her latest collection is “The Apple Speaks” from Dreamseeker Books.

Gretchen Moran Laskas (YOUNG ADULT/MIDDLE GRADE)
Born in Philippi, in 1969, Gretchen Moran Laskas is proud of the fact that she is an eighth generation West Virginian.  Laskas attended the University of Pittsburg, graduating in 1990. A series of moves eventually led her to Charlottesville, Virginia, so that her husband Karl could attend Law School.  Her first book, The Midwife's Tale, was purchased by Dial Press (Random House) with the book released in 2003. Among the honors the book has received are the Appalachian Studies Association's Weatherford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Appalachia and the Appalachian Writers Association Fiction Book of the Year Award (2003), as well as Southeast Booksellers Book of the Years and Library of Virginia book award nominations.  Laskas' second novel, The Miner's Daughter was published in 2007.  She has been published in a variety of journals, magazines, and anthologies.  She served as the 2012 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University, participating in the West Virginia Fiction Competition and fall residency events, as well as the completion of the 2013 Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Gretchen Moran Laskas Volume V.

James M. Martin (SCREENPLAY)
James M. Martin is a senior lecturer in radio, television and film studies at the University of North Texas.  He was the director of the film The Doubtful Martyr in 2008.  His films have placed in the St. Louis International Film Festival and the Rhode Island International Film Festival, among others. He was a second round finalist in the Creative Screenwriting 2010 Cyberspace Open.

Lee Maynard is the author of three novels, Crum, Screaming with the Cannibals, and The Scummers, which together make up the Crum trilogy, as well as the memoir-fiction blend The Pale Light of Sunset: Scattershots and Hallucinations in an Imagined Life. WVU Press, which published Lee's controversial novels, described them as "full of intense violence and cutting humor." Lee was born and grew up in an unincorporated town in West Virginia, like his Crum protagonist Jesse Stone, and now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is President and CEO of The Storehouse, a nonprofit food pantry that serves more than 2 million free meals and gives away more than 40,000 articles of clothing each year to people in need, regardless of race or faith. He has also, over the years, worked as a criminal investigator in the military; an editor at a conservation magazine; the first secretary of West Virginia's Commission on Manpower, Technology and Training; and an advisor on experiential education as Vice Chancellor at Prescott College in Arizona--to name a few.

Dana Wildsmith 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 poetry collection, 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.  Her most recent book, a non-fiction collection of essays titled Back to Abnormal, was Finalist for Georgia Author of the Year in Essay.  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). 

Meredith Sue Willis (BOOK LENGTH PROSE)
Meredith Sue Willis was raised in Shinnston, West Virginia, where her father’s father got a job as store keeper at Consolidation Coal Company’s facility in Owings. Her mother’s family, the Merediths, were from Monongah and other parts of Marion County.  She now lives in New Jersey a short train ride from New York City, where she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, as well as a frequent visiting writer-in-the-schools in New York and New Jersey. She has degrees from Barnard College and Columbia University as well as an honorary doctorate from West Virginia University.
    Her  novels and short fiction for adults and children have been published by Scribners’, Harper Collins, West Virginia University Press, Mercury House, Ohio University Press, and others.  Her latest books are a collection of short spin-offs from myth and the Bible called Re-Visions; a book for writers called Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel; and a book of literary Appalachian stories called Out of the Mountains. The latter was praised in Booklist as a “finely crafted collection...worth reading twice to discover all its intricacies and connections." 
    For more information, please visit her website at