WV Writers, Inc.
WV Writers, Inc.  Writing Contests. 
Site Contents

WV Writers Podcast

WV Writers Podcast


Follow us on Twitter


Online Store


(UPDATED 6/3/11)


1) "Oral History: Collecting Old Stories in the New Millenium" (Belinda Anderson) --  You can save civilization – or at least a slice of it. As a writer, you are uniquely qualified to receive the stories housed within others and to share those stories so that they do not die with their owners. Use your writing talent to capture the past – by enlightening, entertaining or even enraging the reader, the stories you collect give us a foundation for our future. Learn the interviewing and research techniques author Belinda Anderson has successfully used for decades to elicit information. She’ll share narrative and organizational tips for writing and shaping manuscripts from those collected nuggets – and how the project can shape the writer. She and guest Eric Fritizius also will discuss how they're using modern technology, including web sites, podcasts and digital archives, to enhance a history Belinda is writing about Wolf Creek Mountain in Monroe County.

2)  Poetic devices in Prose (Belinda Anderson ) -- Wait, why is a prose author presenting this workshop? Join Belinda Anderson in exploring techniques for elevating your craft in whatever genre you choose to write. Avoid the fate of the character in Blazing Saddles who was shot for using a cliche.

3) My.Th Maker (Boyd Carr) --
West Virginia Writers' Artist in Residence, Boyd Carr, is not only an accomplished woodworker and sketch artist, but is also a philosopher.  A fan of the work of Joseph Campbelll and the Hero's Journey, Boyd has an outlook on the universe he calls My.Th.  This workshop will feature Boyd explaining what exactly this means.

4) You’re only Young Twice: Write Freely for Teens and Tweens (Sarah Dooley) -- There seem to be a lot of rules when it comes to writing for upper middle grade and young adult audiences. From page count to subject matter to what is and is not taboo, people will spend hours telling you what NOT to do in your teen or tween novel.  In this workshop, upper middle grade author Sarah Dooley empowers your characters to be rule-breakers, allowing themselves – and you – the freedom to figure out what works for your particular imaginary teen.

5) Preparing for Takeoff: Paths to Traditional Publication (Sarah Dooley) --
You've written. You've revised. You've torn your hair out over this novel, and it's finished. Now comes the easy part – right? In this workshop, author Sarah Dooley helps authors plot a course to reach their traditional publication goals. Come ready to practice writing a query letter for your completed novel or work-in-progress.

  (Friday Afternoon Session) Utilizing the techniques of comedy improvisation, attendees will learn how to jump start and maintain their creativity.  Comedy improv requires getting out of your own way, being in the moment, and quieting your inner critic.  If you have trouble doing any of these, this workshop will show you how to use the skills of improv to recharge your muse, focus your creative efforts, and challenge that cranky critic.  We will discuss such improv concepts as "start anywhere", "take risks", "be spontaneous", "be brave", and "trust your instincts".   We will cover the "rules" of improv comedy and illustrate how to incorporate this instruction into your creative process and make it part of your daily life.  Through a variety of fun and interactive exercises and improv games, we will explore the world of improvisation and discover what it has to offer you and your creativity.  Laugh and learn.  Watch for when the "ha-ha" becomes "A-ha!".   **This workshop is highly recommended to anyone wishing to participate in the Friday evening, "Whose Lie Is It Anyway?", entertainment segment. 

7) IMPROV YOUR WRITING (Steve Goff) --
  (Saturday afternoon session)  Employing the tools of comedy improvisation, attendees will discover how to utilize this freeing technique to enhance the writing process.  You will learn how the skills of improv can help you to develop characters, generate authentic dialogue, and bust up writers' block.  We will cover the basic "rules" of improv, and then through a series of fun exercises and improv games, geared specifically to writers, you will experience how an improv approach to writing can help you to explore character emotion, avoid stalled scenes, and, in a humorous piece, help you "get to the funny".  Find out what happens when you get out of your own way and give your subconscious the freedom to make the connections that will drive your writing and energize your story.  All writers will benefit from exposure to improv techniques, but it can be especially helpful if your interests include performance writing for the stage or screen. 

8) Time management and organizing for writers (Pam Hanson) -- This workshop will show you how to manage your time and writing without having to Super Glue yourself to your desk

9) Everybody and his brother: A Realist's Intro to Narrative Screenwriting (Sam Holdren) -- In a world where everybody and his brother has a book and theory on screenwriting, sometimes we must start fresh.  This workshop will not only provide an overview on screenwriting format, conventions, and resources for the curious beginner, but also a down-to-earth acknowledgment on your personal motives behind screenwriting and your story.

10) Everybody and his brother isn’t writing your screenplay: A Realist's Tour Through the Narrative Screenwriting Process (Sam Holdren) -- The process of developing and writing your screenplay is about you; but rewriting that screenplay is about your process.  Using an outcome-oriented approach, this workshop will provide general insight into the development, writing, RE-writing, and feedback processes, as well as possible strategies on what to do next once your script is ready.


11) Ballad to Story: New Tales from Old Tunes (Susanna Holstein) -- The ballad tradition in the Appalachian region goes back to the earliest settlements. This workshop will provide a brief history of Appalachian ballads, some sample ballads and current written works based on ballads. From murder to love and humor to pathos, the ballads provide potential a wealth of story material for the writer.


12) Book Reviewing: Get Paid to Read! (Heather Isaacs) -- In this workshop I will talk about the different aspects of a book review and provide sample book reviews as models. I will give insight as to where one can query, submit, get published and get paid to review a book.  Exercise: to write a small book review on a book they are currently reading and share with others.


13) Freelancing! Work from Home (Heather Isaacs) -- In this workshop I will talk about freelance writing and different outlets for writers. Which ones are legit and which ones may not be? I will provide a list of freelance opportunities to help writers target places that are hiring. The different aspects of working from home freelancing will also be discussed, such as being your own boss, living a solitary work life, budgeting and flexibility. Another important aspect is: can you afford to work full time from home without quitting your day job?

14) Point of View and Emotion (Michael Knost) --  Michael Knost will speak on the elements of Point of View and Emotion, how the two work in harmony, and how best to understand their concepts. The original title for this class was: THE BEHEADING OF THE HEAD-HOPPING AUTHOR, but Michael decided not to frighten potential attendees too terribly bad until he got them locked in the class room.

15) Writing the Book that's Inside Us (Ben LeRoy) --

16) The China Connection: Eastern Eyeing Your Poetry (Rob Merritt) --
After teaching American poetry in China last May, I have pondered ways in which this apparently dramatically different culture can help us to rejuvenate our poetry.  We will look at poems by Du Fu, Li Bai, and Ezra Pound and I Ching to apply new ways of writing to our poetry of place.   We will also look at the work of “Appalachian” poets Danny Marion, Charles Wright, Eddy Pendarvis and others to see how an eastern way of seeing can offer a new lens to our regional eye.  Participants will write and share poems in the workshop.

17) Memory and Hope: Infusing the Spiritual into Your Creative Nonfiction (Rob Merritt) --
When Thoreau observed, “"For seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful," he acknowledged an essential component of expressive writing: a method for using inner and outer observation to uncover a connection to the invisible.  But how can we do this without sounding like a naïve cliché or an evangelical?  We will look at nonfiction examples by Wendell Berry, Barbara Kingsolver, Annie Dillard, John O’Donohue, Joseph Campbell, and a variety of spiritual traditions to experiment with ways to add a new depth to our essays. We will experiment with different methods of getting from “here” to “there”: how to move our essays from report and diary toward, as Scot Slovic says, “a literature of hope,”  an “elevation of consciousness” concerned  with “ interior landscapes, with the mind itself.”  Never forgetting, as Emerson said, “"Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact” and “Visible distance behind and before us is, respectively, our image of memory and hope.”  Participants will write and share paragraphs in the workshop.

18) Playing with Time (Jim Minick) -- When we write, we become gods, creating a world with every page. So as gods, we have many gifts, one of them being the ability to play with time. The diverse ways that writers manipulate time on the page, from the micro-level to the macro, will be explored in this workshop. For even though Mr. Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons, he said, “And indeed there will be time, there will be time.” So, no coffee spoons, please, just bring your pens.


19) Truth, Lies and Form, or How Creative is Creative Nonfiction? (Jim Minick) -- When we write Creative Nonfiction, we shape a story to get at a larger truth. But what happens to the surface truths in that shaping? How much can we change them? In this workshop, we’ll explore these and other ethical questions through discussion and examples, along with a quick look at ways to structure CNF pieces.


20) Beyond Daniel Boone:  Writing Children’s Biography in the 21st Century (Eddy Pendarvis) -- Children’s biography is one of the most popular forms of literature, and one that has changed drastically in the past fifty years, becoming more imaginative, more diverse in subject choice, and more selective in dramatic focus. Participants will discuss examples of various approaches to children’s biography and how to translate research into story for different age levels.


21) At the Edge of the Past:  Making Poetry from History (Eddy Pendarvis) -- Looking at examples of how poets have made poetry from famous historical figures and events can offer new ideas for writing.  This workshop session features different methods of using history to create new works of poetry and offers writing exercises based on some of those methods.  Writers participating in the exercises will leave the session with drafts of two historical poems of their own.


22) The Reinvented Writer (Katharine Sands) -- Today’s writers need to understand how to succeed and maximize their works in the new media and literary marketplace. Do you know how work is sold and how the writer is compensated? Do you know why the writing you do about your writing is as important as the writing itself? This comprehensive session answers these questions and provides key information on many other "must know" issues. New York City-based literary agent Katharine Sands takes participants step-by-step through the success checklist for the getting-published process. From content-creation to contract; first writes to last rights, focusing on both craft and career, you will learn essential secrets to practicing PitchCraft, including: what to do -- and what not to do -- when you set out to woo and win a literary agent, the easy-to-fix mistakes many writers make when querying agents, and seven surefire techniques that get you out of the slushpile, how to: identify your selling points and sales engines, whet an agent's appetite, get editors to say "yes," make the perfect pitch, build a media platform, and create a writing career.

23) What Under the Sun Is a Poem?--the good, the bad, and the ugly (Barbara Smith) -- Moving one step closer to understanding what makes a poem a poem and a non-poem just a bunch of words

24) Where Did That Poem Come From? (Barbara Smith) -- 
Something new from the same-old like flowers and love and June moons, something poetic from monkey wrenches and arthritis and dog food.

25) The Ultimate Makeover--refining, rewording, rethinking (Barbara Smith) -- Upgrading a piece from mediocre to good and from good to GREAT "Someone has said, 'There are really no great writers--only really great revisers.'"  I'd like to suggest that everyone bring a dozen copies of few poems that they'd like to have the group examine. One per person per session. 

26) Who’s your narrator? (Sandy Tritt)  --  In this workshop, we will discuss what/who a narrator is, how to choose a narrator, and how to effectively control narrative distance--the amount of intimacy between the narrator and the reader.

27) Get your narrator out of my way (Sandy Tritt)  -- In this workshop, we will discuss how to recognize a "gawking character (or narrator)" and how to overcome this problem by making your prose more active and immediate.

28) Point of view (Sandy Tritt)  --  This workshop includes an interactive skit that portrays the most popular points of view and clarifies the narrator's role in point of view.

29) Character Development (Cheryl Ware) -- Does your character watch American Idol or have an obsession with the Weather Channel?  Come and learn how knowing background information will help you create believable characters.

30) Digital Storytelling (Cheryl Ware) -- If a picture is worth a thousand words, just think what you can create by combining both.  Come and open your imagination to the exciting possibility of incorporating videos, music, photos, and of course, words!

31) She’s Making a Scene Again (Crystal Wilkinson) --  In this workshop we will focus on writing complete scenes and building tension in those scenes to create fiction (even the quietest of fiction). We will look at some published writer’s ability to make a scene and then complete the skeleton of a story in the time allotted through a variety of exercises. 

32) What did he say? Writing Dialogue  (Crystal Wilkinson) -- Discover the secrets to strengthening your short stories with dialogue. Through published examples and exercises, you will learn to write dialogue that rings true, moves the plot, reveals character, creates conflict and informs the reader. 

33) Songwriting (Doug & Telisha Williams) -- Want to write a song?  Want to write a song you'll be happy with?  You can do it!.  Not everyone can be Townes Van Zandt or Guy Clark, but almost everyone can write good, solid songs.  Doug &Telisha offer a clear method that anyone can use.  There are a few simple tools and techniques that will allow anyone to tap into a creative space and blast through any writers block.  This workshop will briefly touch on the basic mechanics of songwriting and then move right into the messy task of putting one together. By the end of the workshop each participant will, without a doubt, have the tools and know-how to walk away and write a good song.  No musical background necessary.  "Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time ... the wait is simply too long" -- Leonard Bernstein

34) Revising Your Novel (Meredith Sue Willis) -- A workshop about big-picture issues of structure in the novel and about up-close work on revising at the level of the sentence and paragraph.  The workshop will include writing exercises and discussion.

35) Logistics in the Novel:  Moving Your Characters (
Meredith Sue Willis) -- Most writers are able to describe when characters are holding still, but moving your characters through space and time presents some major challenges. The workshop will include writing exercises and discussion.

36) Evocotive Objects (Cat Pleska) Whether it’s the everyday objects in our lives or something exotic that catches our eye, the objects we encounter can awaken us to experience and prompt deeper stories than we could have imagined. Cat will bring some “evocative” objects to help you create layers of stories you might not have thought possible (you’re welcome to bring one of your own). Come prepared to be challenged and to write metaphorically, lyrically, with sympathy, imagination and maybe a little humor.

37 & 38)  People's Choice Poetry, two sessions, one Friday one Saturday.

39 & 40)  People's Choice Prose,
two sessions, one Friday one Saturday.

41 Whose Lie is it, Anyway?
  Steve Goff, Diane Tarantini, Eric Fritzius and anyone else we can draft will perform an evening of improv and short comedic pieces as Friday Night Entertainment.

42) Author Reading: Lee Maynard

43) Saturday Night Concert with Doug and Telisha Williams


44) Been There, Done That: Now Tell Me How To Get Published -- A frank and lively discussion about publishing and being published. Participants are on both sides of the page. Representatives from West Virginia’s own micro press, Woodland Press, are part of the panel to discuss publishing with them, as well as some of press’s authors talking about their experience. Authors Geoff Fuller, Sarah Dooley, and others TBA join the publisher to reveal their paths to publication.


45) Secrets of the Trade: Agent and Publisher Discussion Panel -- Literary agent Katharine Sands, from the Freymann Agency in New York City, and publisher Ben LeRoy, from Tyrus Books, will field attendees’ questions about what it takes to attract an agent/publisher for your writing. Join them for an informal Q & A.


Belinda Anderson holds a bachelor's degree in news-editorial journalism and a master's of liberal arts studies.  She's written for such publications as The West Virginia Encyclopedia, Goldenseal, Wonderful West Virginia, Book Page and Writers' Journal, among others.

She was a recipient of a professional development grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission for the Arts.  In 2004, Belinda was inducted into the ranks of those authors and literary figures who appear on the first official Literary Map of West Virginia.  Her first collection of award-winning short stories, The Well Ain't Dry Yet, was published in 2001.  Publisher Mountain State Press brought out her second collection, The Bingo Cheaters, in 2006, and her most recent collection, Buckle Up, Buttercup, was published in the Summer of 2008.

Belinda was heard reading from her work in Episode #42 of the WV Writers Podcast.

it seems to be a theme in the life of one boyd carr ~ Crockett Boyd Carr, Jr. born in Roanoke VA on 27 May 1932 ~ we fast forward through World War II ~ Korea ~ until the Cold
one ~ after being graduated from the University of Virginia Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering 1957 ~ was painting pictures & speculating in Orlando Florida on the nature of
gravity & had a vision of a figure eight ~ it was indelible in his memory but explaining it was a chore ~ picking up this articulation problem we focus on the hillside home he & his
second wife Gloria had in South Charleston WV ~ she introduced him to Bill Moyers & Joseph P. Campbell on the Power of Myth TV show ~ convinced that his art was
connected to these stories he launched into a quest to independently develop an universal myth in the literate culture ~ this lead him to see the image of the figure eight as an integral
part of the story of time for all time with a tone ~ he had pulled the big bow by drawing it ~ his session on My.th will address the solving of this problem & if time permits the implications.

Boyd was heard discussing My.Th and his long history with WV Writers on Episode #7 of the WVW Podcast.

Over thirty years experience in the newspaper industry—working in a variety of roles, including sales manager, graphic designer, reporter, columnist, general manager and publisher. He is the founder and CEO of Woodland Press, LLC, an independent book publishing company focusing on Appalachian-based book titles, located in Chapmanville, WV. Woodland Press currently has over thirty book titles in the marketplace. Davis is also the author of The Secret Life and Brutal Death of Mamie Thurman; West Virginia Tough Boys; After All These Years: The Authorized Biography of The Hoppers; The Feuding Hatfields & McCoys (co-author); and the upcoming Images of America: Logan County, West Virginia, to be released by Arcadia Publishing in July 2011. Davis lives in Chapmanville with his wife and family. His website is: www.woodlandpress.com.

Haling from "all the way up in Nicholas County, WV," Sarah Dooley currently exhibits residual childlike behavior in Huntington, where she studies – and teaches -- children by day and writes novels for them by night. Sarah’s debut upper middle grade novel, LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE, was published by Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan in 2010, and Sarah was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s Flying Start debut authors. Her second novel, BODY OF WATER, will be released this fall and is currently available for preorder.  As a teen and young adult, she attended the West Virginia Writers Conference several times, and believes it gave her the start she needed to become a successful novelist.  Sarah is eager to share what she's learned with other writers in the region.



Comedian, actor and writer who has taught creativity and improv workshops for over twenty years, Steve Goff's "Comedy Improv Boot Camps" are currently being offered around the state of WV.   Steve is enrolled at the Second City Comedy Training Center and will finish his course and stage work at Second City, Chicago, later this summer.  A native of Clarksburg, WV, he began his comedy career in Morgantown,  WV in 1976, when, in his senior year at West Virginia University, he won a talent contest.   That win paved the way for him to do comedy throughout the 1970's, '80's and '90's on college campuses, and in comedy clubs, and coffeehouses up and down the east coast, where he worked with the likes of David Brenner and Jeff Foxworthy.  It was also during this time he founded his first comedy improvisation group, The Annoying Facial Hair. An accomplished character actor, Steve has been featured in a number of theater productions in WV, PA, NC, MD, and VA.  His many credits include "The Mouse Trap"; "The Odd Couple"; "Foxfire"; "Love, Sex and The IRS;  "Crimes of the Heart"; and "I Take This Man".   In April of 2001, he wrote, directed and starred in "Love Stinks (and Other Reality Based Observations)" which ran for three sold out nights at the MAC in Morgantown.  From the Morgantown Dominion-Post review: "Written and performed by Goff, mostly as a one man performance, the two hour show is witty, observant, and highly entertaining; a creative and rollicking good time."  He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, and a Masters of Public Administration, both from West Virginia University.  He was the first director of Morgantown's very successful Main Street Morgantown and also served  as the first  Executive Director of the Metropolitan Theater renovation project, also in Morgantown.   His Main Street work later took him to North Carolina, and then to Washington, DC where he worked for both the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Main Street Center.  While with the Main Street Center, Steve conducted creativity workshops for non-profit organizations, training staff and board members in 15 different states.   Steve is also a Creativity Coach, and last October attended and performed at the 2010 International Creativity Coaching Conference at Lake George, NY.   He has kept a foot in the comedy door by performing his stand up at conferences, banquets, and fund raisers.   He was a featured performer at the West Virginia Writers (WVW) Conference in June of 2009.   This year, Steve is heading up the Friday night WVW Conference entertainment which will consist of his direction of the WVW's own improv show, "Whose Lie Is It Anyway?"  Besides the workshops, the acting and being a comic, Steve is also a free lance writer and consultant for various regional non-profit organizations.  He resides with his wife Beth at Lake Floyd in Harrison County, WV.  From here he continues to accrue and spew his skewed view of the world.  His "Goff-Tips" newsletter is available by request at sgoff53@hotmail.com.

Pam Hanson--

Along with her writing partner/mother Barbara Andrews, is the author of 29 novels, including romances for Harlequin / Silhouette and women's inspirational fiction for Guideposts Publishing.  Pam and Barbara are among the launch authors for a new series for Guideposts, Stories from Hope Haven. In addition, they write  inspirational romance for Steeple Hill Love Inspired as "Pam Andrews." Previously Pam and Barbara wrote romantic comedies for Harlequin/Silhouette under a pen name (Jennifer Drew). Under their own names, the mother/daughter duo wrote six novels in the Guideposts Grace Chapel Inn series.   A former reporter, Pam previously taught journalism at West Virginia University. In 2008, she moved with her husband and family (including Barbara who lives with them) to Nebraska.


Born in Charleston, WV, Sam Holdren is an award-winning independent film and media professional who earned an M.F.A. in Film & Media Arts from Temple University, along with a B.S. in Communications and a B.A. in English: Professional Writing from West Virginia State College (now University).  As a director, writer, and/or producer of multiple award-winning short films, Holdren has screened in dozens of film festivals across North America.  Holdren has also worked as a Line Producer, Talent Coordinator, Production Assistant, and other roles on other narrative films, commercials, and corporate promotional videos.  As an educator, he has previously taught media arts and screenwriting as an adjunct instructor at Temple University, and public speaking at WV State University.  He has twice served on the Board of Directors for the West Virginia Filmmakers Guild; and in addition to freelance work and side projects, Holdren is currently developing a feature screenplay, and absolutely looks forward to experiencing his very first WV Writers Conference.  For more information, please check out www.samholdren.com



Professional storyteller and writer whose performances frequently include Appalachian and British ballads, Susanna Holstein is a graduate of WV State College and the University of South Carolina.  Holstein makes her home in Jackson County, WV, where she maintains three active blogs and writes a monthly column for Two Lane Livin' Magazine. Her work has been published by Mountain Girl Press, NSN Press, and various literary journals. 

Susanna was interviewed for Episode #15 of the WVW Podcast.


A full time freelance writer and book reviewer who works from her home in Southern West Virginia, Heather Isaacs has a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University with her concentrations in Criminal Justice, Journalism and English. Heather freelances for the weekly paper, The Coal Valley News and the magazine, Around the Panhandle. She also is a contributor for Yahoo! Contributor Network and she ghost writes for several web companies. While writing and trying to keep her office in order she is reminded by her adorable dog that life is not all about work.


Michael Knost is an award-winning author, editor, and columnist in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Supernatural Thriller genres. He has written several books and dozens of short stories, edited a number of popular anthologies, including the Legends of the Mountain State series, Specters in Coal Dust, Appalachian Winter Hauntings, and Dark Tales of Terror. He writes a column for Shroud Magazine. In 2010, he won the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for his book Writers Workshop of Horror, a collection of articles and interviews on the craft of writing, published by Woodland Press, LLC. Writers Workshop of Horror also won Editor's Choice Black Quill Award in the nonfiction category. Michael is currently working on a Mothman novel due to hit bookshelves later this year. He is also set to co-edit an anthology with New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, entitled, Redneck Zombies from Outer Space, to be released by Woodland Press in 2012. Michael has worked in the radio, television and newspaper industries, and currently lives in Chapmanville, WV, with his lovely wife and daughter. His website is: www.michaelknost.com.


Before starting Tyrus Books, an independent press known for its crime and dark literary fiction, Ben LeRoy was a founder and Publisher of Bleak House Books. In 2008, Publishers Weekly selected LeRoy as part of their "Fifty Under Forty" series. Novels published by Bleak House and Tyrus have been nominated for and/or won most of the major awards in crime fiction including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Anthony, and the Barry. Other accolades include Lambda Award nominations, a Florida Book Award, and a Southern California Independent Booksellers Association nomination. He is at work on a novel and a variety of media projects using words, audio, and video as part of The Bagmen Collective. He is particularly interested in novels set in non-metropolitan pockets of America that deal with regular people having to make sense of the world, usually after a crime.


Lee was born and raised in the hardscrabble ridges and hard-packed mountains of West Virginia, an upbringing that hardened his life, shaped his writing, and created a restlessness that he has never lost. He's been compared  to Jean Shepherd (on drugs), a Gonzo Mountaineeer, and one of the greatest Appalachian Pseudo-Memoirists in the country.

Specializing in gut-level writing of the novel, and the transformation of small incidents into larger ideas, Lee has taught at many national and regional workshops, including the Appalachian Writers Workshop, Southwest Writers Workshop and West Virginia Writers Conference. His editing services are much in demand.

Lee will lead two classes and will take part in an Appalachian panel discussion with a few other noted authors.

The WV Writers podcast featured a two-part interview between Lee Maynard and our 1st Vice President Cat Pleska, recorded in October 2009.


has a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Kentucky.  He teaches at Bluefield College.


The author of The Blueberry Years, a memoir published by Thomas Dunne of St. Martin's, Jim Minick has also written a collection of essays, Finding a Clear Path, two books of poetry, Her Secret Song and Burning Heaven, and he edited All There Is to Keep by Rita Riddle. In 2008, the Virginia College Bookstore Association awarded Burning Heaven the Jefferson Cup for best book of the year. Minick has won awards from the Appalachian Writers Association, Appalachian Heritage, Now and Then Magazine, and Radford University, where he teaches writing and literature. He’s garnered grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Minick’s work has appeared in many publications including Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Conversations with Wendell Berry, The Sun, Appalachian Journal, Bay Journal News, and Wind, and for thirteen years, he wrote a monthly column for The Roanoke Times New River Current. Currently he's working on a novel about fire, healing, and Pennsylvania Dutch folklore. He lives, hikes, and gardens in the mountains of Virginia with his wife and four dogs.  Visit his website at JimMinick.com.


A professor emeritus at Marshall University, Edwina lives in Huntington.  Her poems, essays, and stories appear in anthologies, such as Wild Sweet Notes, and in periodicals, such as Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Hawaii Review, and Indiana Review. She has authored and co-authored articles, chapters, and books on education, including Out of Our Minds:  Anti-Intellectualism and Talent development in US Schools (Teachers College Press).  Her publications include two books of poetry.  Her second poetry collection, Like the Mountains of China, reflects a visit to that country.  Her Raft Tide and Railroad is the story of one family’s history in eastern Kentucky.  Her most recent nonfiction books, a series of young-adult biographies, were published in dual language editions by the Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.  She is book review editor for Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine. 

Edwina was heard reading from her work on Episode 39 of the WV Writers Podcast.


A literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, Katharine has worked with a varied list of authors who publish a diverse array of books.  Highlights include XTC: SongStories; Chasing Zebras: THE Unofficial Guide to House, MD; Make Up, Don't Break Up with Oprah guest Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil; Playwright Robert Patrick's novel, Temple Slave; The Complete Book on International Adoption: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Child; Hands Off My Belly: The Pregnant Woman's Survival Guide to Myths, Mothers, and Moods; Under the Hula Moon; Whipped: A Professional Dominatrix's Secrets for Wrapping Men Around Your Little Finger; The Gay Vacation Guide; CityTripping: a Guide for Foodies, Fashionistas and the Generally Syle-Obsessed; Writers on Directors; Ford model Helen Lee's The Tao of Beauty; Elvis and You: Your Guide to the Pleasures of Being an Elvis Fan; New York: Songs of the City; Taxpertise: Dirty Little Secrets the IRS Doesn't Want You to Know; The SAT Word Slam, Divorce After 50; The Complete Book of Bone Health; The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery, to name a few. She is the agent provocateur of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent's Eye, a collection of pitching wisdom from leading literary agents. Actively building her client list, she likes books that have a clear benefit for readers' lives in categories of food, travel, lifestyle, home arts, beauty, wisdom, relationships, parenting, and fresh looks, which might be at issues, life challenges or popular culture. When reading fiction she wants to be compelled and propelled by urgent storytelling, and hooked by characters. For memoir and femoir, she likes to be transported to a world rarely or newly observed.



Emerita Professor of Literature and Writing and former Chair of the Division of the Humanities, Alderson-Broaddus College.  Author/editor of some fifteen books--fiction, poetry, nonfiction--plus hundreds of pieces published in literary journals. Medical ethicist and sports nut.  Barbara is one of the charter members of West Virginia Writers, Inc.

Barbara Smith was interviewed regarding Shirley Young Campbell in Episode 16 of the WV Writers Podcast.



The founder and CEO of Inspiration for Writers, Inc., an international editing and critiquing service, Sandy Tritt is a writer, ghostwriter, editor and speaker. She is a past president of West Virginia Writers, Inc., and the Ohio Valley Literary Group. She was the recipient of the 2002 Artsbridge Arts Award for Writing and the 2008 West Virginia Writers’ J.U.G. (Just Uncommonly Good) Award for mentoring writers.  The author of Everything I Know (Headline Books), Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook, and seven technical manuals (Phoenix Software, Atlanta, GA), she has also ghostwritten several nonfiction books, a few novels and one screenplay. Her short stories have received many awards and have appeared in various literary magazines. Sandy teaches creative writing and is on the board of directors of the Mid Ohio Valley Academy of Fine Arts. More than anything, she loves to present fiction and nonfiction workshops, which she has done throughout the United States.


Cheryl Ware is a nationally published children's writer and writing consultant in W.Va. schools.  Her books include four middle-grade novels starring spunky Venola Mae Cutright: Flea Circus Summer, Catty-Cornered, Venola in Love, and Venola the Vegetarian; and a picturebook, Roberta Price Has Head Lice!


Crystal Wilkinson is the author of two collections of stories, Blackberries, Blackberries , winner of the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature and Water Street , a finalist for both the UK’s Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. She is from the Knobs region of Kentucky and teaches writing in the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Morehead State University and the MFA in Writing program at Spalding University. Her newly completed manuscript The Birds of Opulence is awaiting a publisher.


Raised in Shinnston, West Virginia, where her father’s family came following jobs with Consolidation Coal Company, Meredith Sue WIllis now lives in New Jersey near 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 have been published by Scribners, HarperCollins, West Virginia University Press, Mercury House, Ohio University Press, and others.  Her latest books are Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel from Montemayor Press and a book of literary Appalachian stories called Out of the Mountains, from Ohio University Press.  The short story collection was praised in Booklist as a “finely crafted collection...worth reading twice to discover all its intricacies and connections.”  Her website is at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com.