Lauren K. Alleyne is a native of Trinidad and Tobago. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is currently the Poet-in-Residence and an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dubuque. A Cave Canem graduate, her work has been awarded prizes such as a 2012 Lyric Iowa Poetry Prize (2nd place), the 2010 Small Axe Literary prize, two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes (2009, 2011), the 2003 Atlantic Monthly Student Poetry Prize, the Robert Chasen Graduate Poetry Prize at Cornell, among others. She has been published in several journals and anthologies, including Crab Orchard Review, The Cimarron Review, Black Arts Quarterly, The Caribbean Writer, The Belleview Literary Review, Growing Up Girl and Gathering Ground. Her chapbook, Dawn In The Kaatskills, was published in 2008 by Longshore Press, and her debut collection, Difficult Fruit, was published in 2014.
Darnell Arnoult is Writer-in-Residence and Assistant Professor of English at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. She holds an MFA from University of Memphis and MA from NC State. Author of the prize-winning collection What Travels With Us: Poems (LSU Press) and the novel Sufficient Grace (Free Press), she is a regular faculty member of the Table Rock Writers Workshop, Tennessee Young Writers Workshop, John C. Campbell Folk School, Learning Events, and the Appalachian Writers Workshop. Arnoult has received the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature, SIBA Poetry Book of the Year, Mary Frances Hobson Medal for Arts and Letters, and in 2007 was named Tennessee Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Writers Alliance. Arnoult is married to metal artist William Brock.
Rick Bragg is the author of My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South, as well as the critically acclaimed and best-selling All Over but the Shoutin' and Ava's Man. He also garnered a Pulitzer Prize for journalism as a national correspondent at The New York Times. Bragg's recent book, The Most They Ever Had, is an eloquent tale of an Alabama milling community and led The New York Times Book Review to state, "It is hard to think of a writer who reminds us more forcefully and wonderfully of what people and families are all about." A native of Alabama, Bragg has twice won the prestigious American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award, and more than 50 other writing awards in his career, and has given back to his profession by teaching writing in colleges and newsrooms. Bragg is also the author of The Prince of Frogtown, Somebody Told Me, a critically acclaimed collection of his newspaper stories, and I am A Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story.
Robert Gipe's debut novel Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel was published in 2015 by Ohio University Press. He was born in North Carolina in 1963 and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee, a child of the Tennessee Eastman Company, Pals Sudden Service, and the voice of the Vols, John Ward. He went to college at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and graduate school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he earned a masters in American Studies. He has worked as a pickle packer, a forklift driver, and marketing and educational services director for Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Since 1997, he has been the director of the Appalachian Program at Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky. He is one of the producers of Higher Ground, a series of community musical dramas based on oral histories and grounded in discussion of local issues. He is also a faculty coordinator of the Crawdad student arts series. His fiction has been published in Appalachian Heritage and Still: The Journal, and he has attended the Appalachian Writers Workshop in Hindman every year since 2006.
A native of upper East Tennessee, Jane Hicks is an award-winning poet, teacher, and quilter. Her poetry appears in both journals and numerous anthologies, including Southern Poetry Anthology: Contemporary Appalachia and Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee. Her first book, Blood and Bone Remember, was nominated for and won several awards. Her “literary quilts” illustrate the works of playwright Jo Carson and novelists Sharyn McCrumb and Silas House; one became the cover of her own book. The art quilts have toured with these respective authors and were the subject of a feature in Blue Ridge Country Magazine in an issue devoted to arts in the region. The University Press of Kentucky published her latest poetry book, Driving with the Dead, in the fall of 2014. Driving with the Dead was named Poetry Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association.
Major Jackson is an American poet, professor and the author of three collections of poetry: Holding Company (W.W. Norton, 2010) and Hoops (W.W. Norton, 2006), both finalists for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. He is also a recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He served as a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, as the Jack Kerouac Writerin-Residence at University of Massachusetts-Lowell and currently serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.
Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the best-selling novel Remember Me Like This, which was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times Book Review, and the award-winning Corpus Christi: Stories, which was named a Best Book of the Year by The Independent (London) and The Irish Times. He is also the editor of Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. His work appears in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Paris Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere.
His awards include the Pushcart Prize, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, the Stephen Turner Award, the Cohen Prize, a James Michener Fellowship, and the Kay Cattarulla Prize for short fiction. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Tin House, The Best American Sports Writing, and on NPR’s All Things Considered.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he’s the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a 5 Under 35 honor from the National Book Foundation. He wrote the documentary film Waiting for Lightning, which was released in theaters around the world by Samuel Goldwyn Films. He teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars and at Harvard University, where he is the Director of Creative Writing.
Sarah Kennedy is the author of The Cross and the Crown series of novels, as well as several volumes of poetry. She was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and, after completing a Ph.D. in Renaissance poetry, took a position at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, where she currently teaches creative writing and literature and heads the English Department. When she completed an M.F.A. in Poetry Writing, she began writing historical poetry. Seven books of poems later, she turned her scholarly interests in Tudor England to fiction. When she began researching the fates of nuns under Henry VIII, she didn’t imagine that the record would be so scattered . . . and that it would take an act of imagination to bring these women to life.
Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collection, Crimes Against Birds (Main Street Rag). He is also the editor of Seeking Its Own Level: an anthology of writings about water (MotesBooks). He works at Lincoln Memorial University, where he co-directs the annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival and serves as executive editor of drafthorse: the literary journal of work and no work. His fiction, poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in River Styx, Flyleaf, [PANK] and CutBank. Follow him on twitter @DentonLoving.
Brent Martin is the author of three chapbook collections of poetry - Poems from Snow Hill Road (New Native Press, 2007), A Shout in the Woods (Flutter Press, 2010), and Staring the Red Earth Down (Red Bird Press, 2014), and is a co-author of Every Breath Sings Mountains (Voices from the American Land, 2011) with authors Barbara Duncan and Thomas Rain Crowe He is also the author of Hunting for Camellias at Horseshoe Bend, a non-fiction chapbook published by Red Bird Press in 2015. His poetry and essays have been published in the North Carolina Literary Review, Pisgah Review, Tar River Poetry, Chattahoochee Review, Eno Journal, New Southerner, Kudzu Literary Journal, Smoky Mountain News, and elsewhere. He lives in the Cowee community in western North Carolina and is currently serving as the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the West.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, Judith Ortiz Cofer now makes her home in Georgia where she is the Regents' and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing, Emerita. She is the author of A Love Story Beginning in Spanish: Poems (2005); Call Me Maria (2006), a young adult novel; The Meaning of Consuelo (2003), a novel; Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer (2000), a collection of essays; An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio (1995), a collection of short stories; The Line of the Sun (1989), a novel; Silent Dancing (1990), a collection of essays and poetry; two books of poetry, Terms of Survival (1987) and Reaching for the Mainland (1987); and The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry (1993). Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Southern Review, Glamour, and other journals. Her work has been included in numerous textbooks and anthologies including: Best American Essays 1991, The Norton Book of Women's Lives, The Norton Introduction to Literature, The Norton Introduction to Poetry, The Heath Anthology of American Literature, The Pushcart Prize, and the O. Henry Prize Stories. Her work has received many awards, including The New York Public Library Outstanding Book of the Year and the inaugural Pura Belpré Prize from the American Library Association, as well as several other awards in Young Adult literature.
Lee Smith is the author of 17 works of fiction including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, and recent novel, Guests on Earth. She has received many awards including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; her novel The Last Girls was a New York Times bestseller as well as winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Dimestore, a collection of personal essays, will be published in March 2016. For more information, visit www.leesmith.com