WV Writers 2022 Contest Judge Bios

Long Poetry – Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021), I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, and The Prisoners. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.




Short Poetry – A.E, Stringer is the author of four collections of poems, Channel Markers (Wesleyan University Press), Human CostumeLate Breaking, and Asbestos Brocade (Salmon Poetry, 2017).  A new chapbook, time-lapse, appeared in 2020.

His work has appeared in such journals as The Nation, Antaeus, The Ohio Review, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, and in the anthology Backcountry: Contemporary Writing in West Virginia. For twenty-four years, he taught writing and literature at Marshall University.  He lives, writes, and makes music in Huntington, West Virginia.


Short Story – Randal O’Wain holds an MFA from the well-known Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. He is the author of Meander Belt: family, loss, and coming of age in the working-class south (American Lives Series, 2019) and Hallelujah Station and other stories (Autumn House Press, 2020) His essays and short stories have appeared in Oxford American, Guernica, The Pinch, Booth, Hotel Amerika, storySouth, among others. He splits his time between teaching in North Carolina and living on a farm in West Virginia.



Non-fiction – Eric Eyre is the author of Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic, which was named a New York Times Critics’ Top Ten Book of 2020, and won this year’s Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Fact Crime book. In 2017, Eyre’s investigation into massive shipments of opioids to West Virginia’s southern coalfields was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Eyre now works for Mountain State Spotlight.




Emerging Poetry – Marc Harshman is the author of WOMAN IN RED ANORAK, fourteen children’s books including FALLINGWATER, which he co-authored with Anna Smucker. THE STORM, was a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children. His poetry collection, BELIEVE WHAT YOU CAN, won the Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association. He is co-winner of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and his Thanksgiving poem, “Dispatch from the Mountain State,” was printed last year in the New York Times.  Poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona.  Appointed in 2012, he is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia. His newest title, THE SHADOW TESTIMONIES, is forthcoming from Salmon Press, Ireland.


Emerging Prose – Daniel O’Malley is a writer whose fiction has appeared in GrantaGulf CoastSubtropicsAlaska Quarterly Review, MeridianThe Baltimore Review, and 2016’s Best American Short Stories, among other publications. His work has also been performed for the NPR program Selected Shorts, and in 2020 his story "Simon" was named as a finalist for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. He earned a BA in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. Currently he teaches in the English Department at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where he was recently named as the city’s inaugural Literary Laureate.


Social Change – Robin Yocum’s latest novel is The Sacrifice of Lester Yates. Robin is a native of Brilliant, Ohio, a small town near Steubenville, Ohio. His other books include A Perfect Shot, Insured for Murder, Dead before Deadline, The Essay, Favorite Sons, A Brilliant Death, and A Welcome Murder. In 2017, he was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for A Brilliant Death. Owner of Yocum Communications, a public relations and marketing firm in Westerville, Ohio, Robin was also a crime and investigative reporter with the Columbus Dispatch from 1980-1991 and has won more than thirty local, state, and national journalism awards in categories ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing.


Screenplay - Daniel Boyd is an acclaimed filmmaker (Chillers, Strangest Dreams, Paradise Park), a two-time television regional Emmy nominee, a multi-nominated graphic novelist (Chillers I & II, CARBON, SALT,) and playwright (Paradise Park the Musical, Space Preachers the Musical, Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club Musical.) The Adventures of Wandala, his previous multi award-winning book, is also a Gold Mom’s Choice Award Winner. A retired media studies professor at West Virginia State University, Boyd also taught around the world including in Tanzania as a three-time Fulbright scholar. He recently retired as Artist in Residence at WV State University’s Economic Development Center.


Young Adult Book - Nora Shalaway Carpenter is the author of the YA contemporary novel, The Edge of Anything (a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2020) and contributing editor of Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America (an NPR Best Book of 2020, Country Living Magazine's Front Porch Book Club selection, and a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection). Rural Voices is also a nominee for the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Best Fiction Young Adult (BFYA) 2022! It also won TWO Nautilus awards, a Gold for best Mid-Grade Fiction and The Overall Best of Mid-Grade AND YA Fiction! Before she wrote books, Nora worked as associate editor of Wonderful West Virginia magazine. Originally from rural West Virginia, she currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband, three young children, and the world’s most patient dog and cat.


Book Length Prose – Gretchen Moran Laskas is an award-winning author of many short stories and novels focusing on Appalachian culture, West Virginia in particular. Born in Philippi, Laskas makes use of her eight generation’s worth of family stories in her most well-known works, THE MIDWIFE’S TALE and THE MINER’S DAUGHTER.  She now lives in Virginia with her family.





NMV K - 5 – Suzanne Alexander is the award-winning author of the picture books, The Tip of the Tale and Through Children’s Eyes: Exploring the Huntington Museum of Art, published by Headline Books, Inc. Throughout her career as an elementary school librarian, language arts teacher, children’s librarian in a public library, and book columnist, Suzanne has shared her love of reading and writing. She is a member of the WV Writers, Inc. and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.


NMV 6 – 8 – Diana Pishner Walker is a Clarksburg, WV native who currently lives in Fairmont. She attended Fairmont State College and was an employee of the Marion County Board of Education for over 25 years. She is the award-winning author of several children’s books including, Spaghetti and Meatballs: Growing up Italian;the trilogy: Hopping to America: A Rabbit’s Tale of Immigration, Hopping to America: A Rabbit’s Tale of LaBefana, and Hopping to America: A Rabbit’s Tale of a Wedding. Her latest book: A Christmas Feast: A Fishy Tale was released in 2020.


NMV 9 –12 –M. Lynne Squires is a Pushcart Prize-nominated Appalachian author. Her books include the award-winning Letters to My Son – Reflections of Urban Appalachia at Mid-Century.  Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including the Anthology of Appalachian Writers volumes X and XIII, and Fearless: Women's Journeys to Self-Empowerment. She pens a feature column for a regional publication, is the host of the WV Library Commission television show WV Author, and regularly teaches workshops on social media for writers.