Category Archives: festivals

Article on WV Book Festival and Mary Lucille DeBerry

The Charleston Gazette has a nice article on the subject of the WV Book Festival, as well as WVW member Mary Lucille Deberry's first poetry collection, Bertha Butcher's Coat.

Read the article HERE. And hear our podcast with Mary Lucille, rebroadcast last weekend, HERE.

Please like & share:

Come see us at the Book Festival!

The eighth annual West Virginia Book Festival will be held today, October 10 and tomorrow, Oct 11, at the Charleston Civic Center. Each year the festival offers something for book lovers of all ages and interests: authors, publishers, book vendors, the Festival Marketplace, a special section just for children, a used book sale, meet the author events, workshops and panel discussions.

It would be a treat to meet and display the talent of this group.

Please like & share:

WV State Folk Festival in Glenville

(This news courtesy of WVWriters' own Granny Sue Holstein)

The Oral Traditions tent at the WV State Folk Festival in Glenville features some names that should be familiar to WV Writers members and possibly to Roundtable members too. The Festival is scheduled for June 18-21; the Oral Traditions tent is scheduled on Friday (19th) and Saturday (June 20th).

Most festival events are free and include lots of old-time music with our state's best musicians, The WV Belles, and lots more. It's a fun, laid-back time in a small town that keeps the heart of the mountains alive.

Here is the Oral Traditions tent schedule:

Friday, June 19th:
11am:Kirk Judd (poet)
12:00 Laura Treacy Bentley (poet)
2:00 pm Marc Harshman (poet, storyteller, writer)
3:00 pm Mountain Echoes (storytellers)

Saturday, June 20th:
10 am Fran Schmetzer (local Gilmer County author)
12:00 Susanna Holstein (storyteller, poet, writer)
3:00 pm Cat Pleska (storyteller and writer)
4:00 pm Suzi "Mama" Whaples (storyteller)

I hope to see you there! Email me if you need more information about this festival, which is the oldest folk festival in WV.

Please like & share:

WV Book Festival!!


October 11 & 12, 2008 at the Charleston Civic Center

Mark your calendar! The eighth annual West Virginia Book Festival will be held October 11 & 12, 2008, at the Charleston Civic Center. Each year the festival offers something for book lovers of all ages and interests: authors, publishers, book vendors, the Festival Marketplace, a special section just for children, a used book sale, meet the author events, workshops and panel discussions.

Now, here’s the best part - you have an opportunity to meet and support fellow member authors and WV Writers, Inc. by purchasing books, chapbooks, cups, and anthologies. If you haven’t had time to renew your membership, you can do it at the book festival and receive a gift at the same time.

Here’s another newsflash! The contest entry forms for the 2009 WV Writers, Inc. writing competition will be available at the festival and the entry forms include a gift to you from WV Writers! If you have not entered for a few years or if you just entered one or two entries, you will be pleasantly surprised. If you can’t make it to Charleston for the festival, the forms will be posted on the website soon…JUST REMEMBER, YOU CAN”T SEND THEM IN UNTIL THE NEW YEAR!!

So, visit the Festival website (listed above), check out the line up of presenters, and get ready!
Hope you can make it!

Informational Links:
Festival Overview
Prospective Authors
Used Book Sale
Directions & Accommodations

Please like & share:

WV Storytelling Guild Presents the Storytelling Institute

The WV Storytelling Guild and Fairmont State University are offering the first-ever Storytelling Institute at Fairmont State the same weekend (April 4-5) as the Writers Toolbox event. For those of you in the north-central part of West Virginia, the Storytelling Institute offers an excellent alternative to the event at the Capitol (and less travel time and expense).

Keynotes will be offered by Joseph Sobol, noted folklorist, and Bil Lepp, well-known storyteller. Here is information from the Institute brochure. Contact me if you have any questions, or contact Fran Kirk at the address below:

Fairmont State University and WV Storytelling Guild

The Power of Story: Transmitting Culture and Transforming Lives Featuring Joseph Sobol and Bil Lepp

The Storytelling Presentation on Friday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

For more information contact:
Dr. Francene Kirk
Fairmont State University Falcon Center
April 4-5, 2008

What is the Mountain State Storytelling Institute?
The Institute is a two-day conference featuring scholars and storytelling professionals. Fairmont State University, FSU’s Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and the WV Storytelling Guild are committed to the use of storytelling to preserve Appalachian culture. The intent of this institute is to provide academic, professional and personal development for those interested in storytelling as scholarship, art, a teaching tool, and a profession or an avocation. Workshops will feature members of the West Virginia Storytelling Guild and FSU Faculty.

How can I participate?

Adults can register through the FSU
Community Education Homepage: and click on Mountain State Storytelling Institute.

Students may register at the door. ID
required. For scholarship information
contact Dr. Kirk:

Fees $35 for adults/$15 for students

Tentative Schedule
Friday, April 4

8:00 – 8:45 Registration
9:00 Institute Welcome and Opening:
Introduce theme and institute questions
9:30 – 10:30 Visiting Scholar – Joseph Sobol
10:45 – 11: 45 Concurrent Sessions
Noon Lunch on your own
1:00 – 2:00 Concurrent Sessions
2:15 – 3:15 Concurrent Sessions
3:30 – 4:30 Story Swap
featuring FSU storytellers
5:00 Dinner on your own
7:30 – 9:00 Storytelling Presentation with
Lepp and Sobol and members of the WVSG
(Free to the public)

Saturday, April 5
8:30 Registration
9:30 -10:30 Keynote speaker – Bil Lepp
10: 45 – 11:45 Concurrent Sessions
Noon Lunch on your own
1:00 – 2:00 Concurrent Sessions
2:15 – 3:13 Concurrent Sessions
3:30 – 4:30 Concurrent Sessions
4:30 – 5:00 Closing session
Address questions and themes

Keynote Scholar
Joseph Sobol will address the preservation of culture through story and storytelling as scholarship. An artist-in-residence for many years in North and South Carolina, Sobol received a Masters in Folklore from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. His book on the American storytelling revival, The Storytellers’ Journey, was published in 1999 by the University of Illinois Press. Sobol is the Director of the Graduate Program in Storytelling at East Tennessee State University.

Keynote Speaker
Bil Lepp will address the preservation of personal history through story. Lepp is a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars Contest. He tells original, hilarious, tales that will bring a smile to the face of even the most ill-humored person. Bil has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival six times, and at The Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Bil is the author of three books of tales, four audio collections, and he has had stories published in several national magazines.

West Virginia Storytelling Guild
Presenters Rich Knoblich (a workshop presenter at this summer's WV Writers Conference) will address the crafting and adapting of folktales. Knoblich’s stories have been published in Goldenseal, Reading Today, and Appalachian Life magazines. He holds a B.A. in Education from West Liberty State College and an M.A. of Humanities Literature from California State University, CA. Rich is the recipient of a WV Humanities Council Fellowship for his project, Appalachian Culture: Texture, Text, and Context.

Gail Herman will present "Coal Talk," a community history project. Herman wrote, with help from Elaine Eff of Maryland’s Cultural Preservation Office, and directed Coal Talk, an oral history project located in the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland. Herman holds a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.

Kevin Cordi will examine dialogue, "storying" and literature. Cordi holds an M.A. in secondary education with an emphasis in storytelling and literacy from the University of Akron and is a Ph. D. candidate at The Ohio State University. He has contributed to the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge, English Journal, Storytelling World and Storytelling Magazine. Cordi received the Ann Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award for his book Raising Voices: Youth Storytelling Groups and Troupes.

Ilene Evans will examine the world of symbolic language and hidden meanings in the African American context. Evans is a professional storyteller, playwright, choreographer, actor, dancer and teaching artist. She is the artistic director of Voices from the Earth, an organization which creates historical works of theatre for schools and community groups. Ilene is known throughout WV for her presentations as Harriett Tubman and Memphis Tennessee Garrison

Susanna "Granny Sue" Holstein will share Appalachian and British ballads through performance and discussion and will explore puppets as storytelling partners. Susanna Holstein holds a B.S. in Education (Secondary Social Studies) from WV State College and an MLIS from the University of South Carolina. Holstein was a featured regional teller for the 2000 National Storytelling Network National Conference. She has contributed chapters in several books including "Storytelling with Puppets" in Telling Stories to Children published by NSN Press.

Suzi Whaples will discuss the use of the body to bring stories to life. Whaples, known professionally as "Mama", is a national storyteller, humorist, and conference speaker with 30 years of experience in public speaking, teaching and entertainment. She organized the "Mountain Women," and in 1998, Mama & The Mountain Women, a troupe of Appalachian storytellers, were chosen National Storytelling Champions.

Andy Fraenkel will examine stories across cultures and in healing. Andy Fraenkel holds a B.A. degree in Theater & Film from City University of New York and has a background in regional theater and Off-Broadway. For the last fifteen years he has traveled extensively offering multicultural storytelling programs and workshops at schools K-12, colleges, libraries, museums and special events.

JoAnn Dadisman will examine using storytelling as precursor to written narrative. Dadisman holds a Bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg State College (PA) in Secondary Education. She holds a Master’s degree in English Education from West Virginia University and has done post-graduate work there, with an emphasis on Appalachian Studies. She joined the WVU faculty as the English 102 and English 103 Coordinator for the Center for Writing Excellence. She is also co-director for the National Writing Project at WVU.

June Riffle will examine preserving community history through mixed media storytelling. Riffle graduated from Fairmont State with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. She then earned a Master’s degree in Reading from WVU. June performs with JoAnn Dadisman as "Mountain Echoes." They have told stories to families at the Appalachian Studies Conference, Sumter campus of the University of South Carolina, and presented at the Popular Culture Conference in 2002.

Additional sessions will be presented by FSU

Please like & share:

Ohio River Festival of Books

The Ohio River Festival of Books is this weekend in Huntington and WV Writers will be there! At our table you can pick up contest entry forms (which we're counting down to) as well as our brand new 2008 Summer Conference Flyer announcing some of the great folks we're going to have as presenters!

Find out all the information about the shindig at the following link...

Please like & share:

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Call for Panel Proposals

Split This Rock Poetry Festival:
Poems of Provocation & Witness
March 20-23, 2008 Washington, DC

Split this Rock invites proposals for panel discussions and workshops on a range of topics at the intersection of poetry and social change. The possibilities are endless. Let's talk about craft, let's talk about mentoring young poets, let's talk about working in prisons, connecting with the activist community, sustaining ourselves in dark times and the role of poetry in wartime. Let's remember great poet activists and discover new ones. We are looking for panels that are international, visual, and collaborative.


Split This Rock calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national community of activist poets. Building the audience for poetry of provocation and witness from our home in the nation's capital, we celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination.

Split This Rock Poetry Festival will bring poets and writers to Washington DC on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq , in the midst of the presidential election. The festival will feature readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism, and walking tours - opportunities to build community, hone our activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change.


A panel may consist of 3-4 persons, with one person designated as facilitator. Please title your panel and include brief biographical information for each participant, along with a two paragraph description of your panel-what are the questions you wish to explore-why is this conversation timely and necessary at this time-how will this panel further the goals of Split This Rock? How are the members of your panel uniquely qualified to lead a conversation on your proposed topic?
We have a strong interest in interactive conversation and community building, so please indicate how you will involve participants in the discussion.

Please note that panel presenters must register for Split This Rock Poetry Festival. Some scholarships will be available. There is no limit to the number of proposals you may send, but please be sure that all proposed presenters have agreed to be part of your proposed panel. Also, we are a small, mostly volunteer group, so please send only your favorite ideas.

Send proposals in the body of an email to: by December 1, 2007. Please include full contact information for yourself and all proposed panel presenters. Please use or recreate the attached form. Just copy or retype the questions into an email and paste or write your answers in. You may also mail your proposal to: Split This Rock Panel Proposal, 1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC, 20036. Please be sure to save a copy of your proposal, as emails do sometimes go astray. We will acknowledge receipt of your proposal, with a timeline for hearing back.

Questions? Email us at We look forward to reading your proposal!

Split This Rock Poetry Festival


Convener/Facilitator Name:
Mailing Address:

Email Address:

Participant Name:
Mailing Address:

Email Address:

Participant Name:
Mailing Address:

Email Address:

Participant Name:
Mailing Address:

Email Address:

1. Please include a one paragraph bio for each participant.

2. Please describe in 250 words or less the purpose of your panel.

3. Describe your method for involving festival participants in the panel.

Please like & share: