Richard Chess is the author of three books of poetry, Tekiah, Chair in the Desert, and Third Temple. His work has been included in several anthologies, including in Best American Spiritual Writing 2005. He is a regular contributor to "Good Letters", the blog of IMAGE: A JOURNAL OF ART, FAITH, and MYSTERY. He is the Gilbert Chappell Distinguished Poet of Western North Carolina for 2012- 2013. He is the Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts & Sciences at UNC Asheville, where he also directs UNC Asheville's Center for Jewish Studies.
Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle grew up in Cherokee, NC and resides there with her husband, Evan, and their sons, Ross and Charlie. She holds degrees in American Studies from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. As assistant to Principal Chief Hicks, Annette produced Cherokee Elders: Our Greatest Generation and a series of children’s books including: The Elder Tree, True Blue, and What Wonders. Recent publications include: “It All Comes Out in the Wash” from Appalachian Heritage Quarterly, “Camouflage” from Night is Gone, Day Is Still Coming and a contribution to the serial novel Naked Came the Leaf Peeper. She was awarded the 2012 Morning Star Award for Creative Fiction from the Native American Literature Symposium and the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies for her novel in progress, Sololoneet (currently re-titled Going to Water). Annette taught English and Cherokee Studies and coached basketball at Swain High School for several years. In 2013, Annette was named the Executive Director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.
Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff's Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round(2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The Guy Davenport Endowed Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kentucky, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997) edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney's fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.
Dawn Gilchrist-Young, a graduate of Western Carolina University (1987), earned an MA in Literature from Columbia University, where she attended as a Merit Fellow, and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. She is the inaugural winner of the Norman Mailer Writing Award for High School Teachers (2011) for her short story "The Tender Branch." The novel based on that story has been placed with the literary agency Chalberg and Sussman in New York. Gilchrist-Young won the 2005 Western North Carolina Woman Short Fiction Award and recently had a short story published in Smoky Mountain Living. She lives in Cullowhee and is chair of the English department at Swain County High School.
Chris Holbrook is a native of Knott County, Kentucky, and a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. His collection of stories Hell and Ohio: Stories of Southern Appalachia (1995) received the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. His most recent publication is the collection of short stories titled Upheaval (2009). Currently, he heads the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at Morehead State University.
Randall Kenan is the author of a novel, A Visitation of Spirits; two works of non-fiction, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century and The Fire This Time; and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. He edited and wrote the introduction for The Cross of Redemption: The Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the North Carolina Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rome Prize. He is associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Robert Morgan is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently Terroir, 2011. He has also published eight volumes of fiction, including Gap Creek, a New York Times bestseller. A sequel to Gap Creek, The Road From Gap Creek, will be published in 2013. In addition he is the author of three nonfiction books, Good Measure: Essays, Interviews, and Notes on Poetry; Boone: A Biography; and Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion, 2011. He has been awarded the James G. Hanes Poetry Prize by the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Academy Award in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Arts Council, he has served as visiting writer at Davidson College, Furman, Duke, Appalachian State, and East Carolina universities. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, he was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2010. Born in Hendersonville, North Carolina, October 3, 1944, he has taught since 1971 at Cornell University, where he is Kappa Alpha Professor of English. In 2010 a special issue of Southern Quarterly, edited by Jesse Graves, was devoted to essays about his work.
Mark Powell isMark Powell is author of three novels - Prodigals, Blood Kin, and The Dark Corner - and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Breadloaf Writers' Conference, and the Collegeville Center for Ecumenical Research. Born and raised in Oconee County, SC, he now lives in Florida where he teaches at Stetson University.
Bob Watts is an Assistant Professor in English/Creative Writing at Lehigh University. His first collection, Past Providence (David Robert Books, February 2005), won the 2004 Stanzas Prize from David Robert Books, and his poems have been published in Poetry, The Paris Review, and reDivider, among other journals. He was, with his wife, the fiction writer Stephanie Powell Watts, a founding co-editor of Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts while a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Stephanie Powell Watts, associate professor of English at Lehigh University, was awarded the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her debut story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need. Watts’s work chronicles the lives of young African Americans who come from, or live near, the “dark houses out on tangled dirt roads on the fringes of the county." We Are Taking Only What We Need has been frequently honored in the past year. It was one of two finalists for The Hemingway Foundation /PEN Award, as well as a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, the John Gardner Short Story Award, and was on the longlist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. It has been listed as one of the best books of 2012 by The New Yorker, The Kansas City Star, and other publications. Stories from the collection have appeared in the Pushcart Prize anthology in 2008, Best New Stories from the South anthologies in 2007 and 2009, and two stories were cited as Distinguished Stories in the 2009 and 2011 Best American Short Stories anthologies.
Daniel Woodrell is a novelist from the Missouri Ozarks and has published eight novels including Winter's Bone (2006) and the PEN West Award-winning Tomato Red (1998). He left school and enlisted in the marines the week he turned seventeen, received his bachelor's degree at age twenty-seven, graduated from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, and spent a year on a Michener Fellowship. His five most recent novels were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year.