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Guest Speakers 2022

Crystal WilkinsonCrystal Wilkinson
Keynote Speaker

Crystal Wilkinson is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in the Oxford American and Southern Cultures. She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky where she is Associate Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Charles Dodd WhiteCharles Dodd White
Fiction Workshop Leader

Charles Dodd White is the author of four novels and a short story collection. He has received the Appalachian Book of the Year Award and the Chaffin Award for his fiction. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he is an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College. His nonfiction debut, A Year Without Months, is forthcoming from West Virginia University Press.

Desirae-MatherlyDr. Desirae Matherly
Nonfiction Workshop Leader

A native of East Tennessee, Desirae Matherly is the Chair of English & Languages at Tusculum University where she teaches writing and serves as nonfiction editor for The Tusculum Review. Desirae earned a Ph.D. in creative nonfiction from Ohio University in 2004 and is a former Harper Fellow at The University of Chicago. Her essays have been anthologized in After Montaigne: Contemporary Writers Cover the Essays; Red Holler: An Anthology of Contemporary Appalachian Literature; and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Volume 2. Four of her published essays have made the Notable list in Best American Essays, and her recent writing appears in Hotel Amerika, Assay, and Fourth Genre. Matherly is the winner of the 2018 Curt Johnson Prose Award in Nonfiction sponsored by December Magazine and in 2019 her short fiction won the Owl Canyon Press Hackathon. Matherly is the author of Echo's Fugue, a collection of personal essays published by Mad Creek Books (OSU Press) in 2019.

Dr. Michael Amos CodyDr. Michael Amos Cody
Songwriting-Fiction Hybrid Workshop Leader

Michael Amos Cody was born in Sumter, South Carolina, raised in Walnut, North Carolina, and spent the early years of his adult life as a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, where his songs were recorded by Glen Campbell, Gary Morris, and others. His novel Gabriel's Songbook (Pisgah Press, 2017) is loosely based on his Music City experiences. Cody's short fiction and poems have appeared in Tampa Review, Still: The Journal, Yemassee, The Chaffin Journal, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Vols. VI and VII), The Howl, Pisgah Review, Short Story, Potpourri, and Fury. His collection of short stories, A Twilight Reel, was longlisted for the W.S. Porter Prize for Short Story Collections (2020) and was published by Pisgah Press in May 2021. Cody teaches American literature before 1900, Native American literature, and mythology in the Department of Literature & Language at East Tennessee State University.

Rosemary RoystonRosemary Royston
Poetry Workshop Leader

Rosemary Royston, author of  Second Sight (2021, Kelsay Press) and Splitting the Soil (Finishing Line Press, 2014), resides in the northeast Georgia mountains with her family. Her writing has been published in journals such as POEM, Split Rock Review, Southern Poetry Review, Poetry South, Appalachian Review, and  82 Review. Her photography has been published in A Rose in the World, Bloodroot, and New Southerner. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Young Harris College. See more about Rosemary's work at theluxuryoftrees.

Larry D. ThackerLarry D. Thacker
Special Guest Speaker

Larry D. Thacker is a Kentuckian writer, artist, educator, and reality actor, hailing from Johnson City, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife Karin. His poetry is in over 180 publications including Spillway, Poetry South, The American Journal of Poetry, and Appalachian Heritage. His stories and non-fiction are in past issues of Still: The Journal, Longridge Review, Pikeville Review, and Story and Grit. His books include four full poetry collections, Drifting in Awe, Grave Robber Confessional, Feasts of Evasion, and Gateless Menagerie, two chapbooks, Voice Hunting and Memory Train, as well as the folk history, Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia. His three fiction collections include Working it Off in Labor County, Labor Days, Labor Nights: More Stories, and Everyday Monsters (co-written with CM Chapman). He is also a cast member on the new Netflix original series, Swap Shop. His MFA in poetry and fiction is earned from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Visit his website at: www.larrydthacker.com

Melissa Helton
Scholarly Presenter

Melissa Helton lives and works in southeast Kentucky. Her work has been published in Still: The Journal, Appalachian Review, Shenandoah, Cutleaf, and more. Her chapbooks include Inertia: A Study (2016) and Hewn (2021).

Dr. Peter Noll, Dr. Katherine Everhart, Samantha Nelson, and Maggie Vickers
Scholarly Presenter

This research team is based out of Tusculum University and is comprised of Dr. Peter Noll, Associate Professor of History, Dr. Katherine Everhart, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Samantha Nelson, a sophomore majoring in History, and Maggie Nelson, a junior majoring in History and English. Dr. Noll's research interests include immigration, agricultural landscape, and the built environment. Dr. Everhart's most recent research has explored notions of community within a rapidly changing urban neighborhood in North Nashville. This panel's presentation on the research on tobacco agriculture in Greene County began in the summer of 2021 with funding by the Appalachian College Association's Ledford Scholarship awarded to Ms. Nelson and serves as a preliminary study for a larger project supported by a grant from the Council of Independent College's Humanities for the Public Good Research Grant, funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, of which Ms. Nelson and Ms. Vickers are the two undergraduate researchers.

Dr. Michael J. Sobiech
Scholarly Presenter

Michael Sobiech is an associate professor of English at Carson-Newman University, where he directs the first-year writing program and the professional writing minor. He researches Appalachian ghostlore, especially allegedly true ghost stories reported in historic East Tennessee newspapers.