WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Short Stageplays

Suehyla El Attar

SHORT STAGEPLAYS

Suehyla El-Attar is an actor/writer/director/dramaturge based in the Atlanta area. For just over 10 years, she’s worked on most of the stages in Atlanta, including but not limited to: The Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, 7 Stages, Dad’s Garage, Georgia Ensemble and Essential Theatre; receiving multiple Suzi Bass Award nominations and a win for her performances. Since 2009, she’s delved into film and television hoping to create a legacy as a one-line actor and eventually evolve into ’that actor, what’s her name? She’s always like in one scene with one line’. As a writer, her work has premiered at Horizon Theatre (The Perfect Prayer; Third Country) and 7 Stages (The Doctor, The Devil, & My Dad). Her TYA scripts (Fishbowl; Desperadoes; The Devil’s Blues) were commissioned and produced by local high schools. She is a recipient of the Mississippi Theatre Association Playwright award (2011) and Gene Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award (2014). In the very active and growing-like-kudzu literary scene in Atlanta, she’s dominated the Write Club stage with 5 hard-earned wins and 2 very-much deserved losses; you can hear all of them on the WriteClubAtl podcast. She’s a former Alliance Theatre Artistic Fellow (2014) of directing and has worked with The Process Theatre on her directorial debut: Die Mommie Die (2015), The Tribute Artist (2016). During the inaugural year of the Ethel Woolson Lab, she served as the resident dramaturge for Working Title Playwrights. This year, she continues to audition for film/tv, is the dramaturge on The Alliance Theatre’s TYA production of SLUR written by Greg Shagnon), will unveil her new stage play ( at 7 Stages Homebrew Series, continue to develop her nearly-one woman show (Nope. That’s Just My First Name), and indulge in Netflix, highpointing, and hiking with her guy and their two cats. (Except they won’t bring the cats on the highpoint and hiking trips. That seems like a really bad idea.)

Happy Birthday!

Today, February 26, 2017, marks the 40th birthday of West Virginia Writers, Inc.

West Virginia Writers

A Brief History

(By Mike Pauley, originally published in Catching the Crow,

 the first WV Writers anthology in 1982.)

 

West Virginia Writers began at a meeting in February 1977 at the Cultural Center in Charleston.  The meeting was called by James B. Andrews, Director of Arts & Humanities, W.Va. Department of Culture and History of the State of West Virginia, after Mr. Andrews had received numerous suggestions that such a group needed to organize.  About 25 people attended, including Shirley Campbell, Jim Comstock (editor of W. Va. Hillbilly), poet-historian Doris Miller, poet Kirk Judd, poet Lyle Parkins, Michael Pauley (president of the Appalachian Literary League), Pat Love (co-editor of The Illustrated Appalachian Intelligencer), Helen Carper, Dolly Withrow, Dr. William Plumley, poet Jane Somerville, poet Bonnie McKeown, and others.  At this meeting a committee was formed to further investigate the possibilities of forming a permanent organization.

The West Virginia Writers Committee, chaired by Shirley Young Campbell, met several times during the following months, enlisted further support, compiled mailing lists, etc., and in April 1977 incorporated as West Virginia Writers, Inc.  The first officers were president, Dr. William Plumley; vice president, Lawrence Levy; treasurer, Helen Carper; and secretary, Shirley Young Campbell.  A constitution and by-laws were drawn up and adopted.

In June 1977 the organization held its first constitutionally mandated business meeting (officers to be elected from July 1 to July 1) at the Cultural Center.  At this meeting it was decided to hold a state-wide Writers Conference the following year.  Officers for 1977-78 were elected as follows:  president, Dr. William Plumley; vice president, Michael J. Pauley; treasurer, Betty MacQueen, secretary, Julia Canady.

The first W.Va. Writers Conference was held in June 1978 at the Cultural Center in Charleston and was an overwhelming success.  Nearly 200 writers from all over the state attended the three-day affair, and there was much excitement and comraderie in the air.

Since 1978, West Virginia Writers has held a conference every year and continues to grow in membership and activity.

Regional literary magazines and publishers have had great input into the organization and have allowed for the wide publication of members’ works.  New books have been published due the influence of WVW and, most importantly, WVW has served to bring many writers, editors, publishers, critics, etc., from all over West Virginia and the region together.

In 1981-82 WVW sponsored its first state-wide Writers Awards Program, as well as the first state-wide Poetry Contest.  Altogether, nearly 1300 individuals entered both contests and over $6,000 in award money was distributed by WVW.

In addition to the annual conferences and to the awards contests, West Virginia Writers was the leading force in bringing about the “Poet’s Corner” program done by the W.Va. Dept. of Culture and History.  During the Poet’s Corner series, which spanned 1979-1981, over 100 West Virginia poets read their works at the Cultural Center in Charleston and were paid substantial honoraria, plus expenses, for doing so.

WVW also sponsored and administered the one-year residency of famed native author Davis Grubb during 1987-79, sponsoring his many readings and talks throughout the state during that period. WVW has promoted regional meetings and gathers of writers from around the state.

 

WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Short Poetry

SHORT POETRY

Joe Limer

Joe Limer is a West Virginia native from Clarksburg. He graduated Washington Irving H.S. then went to Fairmont State University and received a B.A. in both English and Political Science. He graduated WVU College of Law with a Juris Doctorate. He also wrote for the Fairmont Times newspaper as a regular sports reporter.

After law school he moved to San Diego, California where he is now a Professor at Palomar College in San Marcos, California teaching political science/legal studies, as well as poetry workshops at Palomar and Mira Costa College and several San Diego-area high schools.

Joe is an American Filipino finding identity in words. Beginning as a closet poet, he got his start on the poetry slam scene by winning his first slam in San Diego. From there, he’s won or placed in slams in Encinitas, Oceanside, Hawaii, Pittsburgh, Pa., Morgantown, WV, Charleston, WV, Richmond, Va, Hollywood, and Long Beach. He’s been on 3 San Diego slam teams that have placed in the top 10 nationally.

WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Short Nonfiction

SHORT NONFICTION

Donna Meredith

Donna Meredith’s award-winning novels include The Glass Madonna, The Color of Lies, Wet Work, and Fraccidental Death. She also wrote Magic in the Mountains: Kelsey Murphy, Robert Bomkamp, and the West Virginia Cameo Glass Revolution. Her work has appeared in Tallahassee magazine, Goldenseal, the Seven Hills Review and various newspapers. The retired English and journalism teacher is regular contributor to Southern Literary Review. A graduate of Fairmont State College, West Virginia University, and Nova Southeastern University, she also studied creative writing at Florida State. For the past thirty years, the Clarksburg native has called Tallahassee, Florida, home. For more information, see www.donnameredith.com.

WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: The Flood

TOPIC-THE FLOOD

Leaf Seligman

Leaf Seligman has been writing fervently since childhood. Stories, letters to the editor, journals, poems, plays, novels, essays, sabbath meditations. She studied fiction writing and poetry at the University of New Hampshire where she earned an MA in writing; she studied playwriting at Brandeis. She began teaching writing in 1985, as a graduate assistant at the University of New Hampshire, and a volunteer at the Rockingham County jail. She’s taught writing ever since at two universities, a college, two prisons, two jails, and a variety of community settings. Her writing has been published in Creative Nonfiction and The New Thought Journal. Bauhan Publishing brought out two books by her, Opening the Window: Sabbath Meditations (2011) and A Pocket Book of Prompts (2015). Leaf freelances as a writing guide and itinerant preacher in addition to teaching.

WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Pearl S. Buck Award for Writing for Social Change

PEARL S. BUCK AWARD FOR WRITING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

Barbara Evans Fleischauer

Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer was elected in 2014 to her 10th two year term representing Monongalia County in the West Virginia House of Delegates. She is a graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, PA and the WVU College of Law. Barbara lives on the Evans family farm just outside of Morgantown with her husband, WVU Law Professor Bob Bastress.

She has passed important legislation affecting women, children, veterans and disabled West Virginians.

In 2014, Delegate Fleischauer sponsored nearly one-third of the House bills that became law. She is known as one of the hardest working Delegates, passing hundreds of bills to aid her community and state during her tenure in the W.Va. Legislature.

Barbara is a member of and has served as a leader in numerous local, state and national organizations.  She was raised in and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. Because of her legislative and community service, Delegate Fleischauer has been the recipient of local, state and national awards.

WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Long Poetry

LONG POETRY

Dr. Brucella Jordan

Dr. Brucella Jordan is a historian and former professor who has been involved in a variety of historical projects. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Government from West Virginia Institute of Technology, a Master’s Degree in Public History and a Ph.D. in History from West Virginia University. She has taught classes primarily in African American history at West Virginia University, Marshall University Graduate College, West Virginia Institute of Technology, and Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. She is co-founder and curator of the African American Heritage Family Tree Museum in Ansted, West Virginia and she portrayed the historical characters Anne Spencer and Ida B. Wells for ten years under the sponsorship of the West Virginia Humanities Council. Dr. Jordan is the author of Flashback: Poetry and Commentary, Anne Spencer: Poet of the Harlem Renaissance, African American Migration to Ansted, West Virginia, and Aunt Artie’s House. She spends summers in West Virginia and winters in Georgia.

WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Inspirational Writing

INSPIRATIONAL WRITING

Sandi Rog

Sandi Rog is the founder and acquisitions editor of Tulpen Publishing (www.tulpenpublishing.com). She has been editing since 1999 and is also an international, multi-published, award-winning author.

Sandi lived in Holland for thirteen years and now lives in Colorado with her husband, her children, a cat, and too many spiders.  You can learn more about Sandi Rog at her personal website: www.sandirog.com.

WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Emerging Writers Prose

EMERGING WRITERS PROSE

June Langford Berkley

June Langford Berkley is a writer who imagines her family saga in storytelling performances and fiction.  Her multi-faceted career in education includes public school and university teaching and nationwide consulting.  She has written many articles and chapters for text books.  Her published fiction includes: Shannaganey Blue, a novella, University of Akron, 5th ed. 1993; The Rhinegold Case, University of Akron, Akros Review, l984.

WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Emerging Writers Poetry

Grady Hillman

EMERGING WRITERS POETRY

Grady Hillman is a literary translator, poet and performer and received the Austin Book Award for his poetry collection Razor Wire. His poetry and poetry translations have been published in more than 50 literary journals and anthologies. Hillman has been a solo artist or part of an ensemble in 300 poetry performances. He directed or co-directed three inter-disciplinary performing companies: Clearlight, PoDan Sam, and WordWork.

Hillman holds an M.A. in linguistic anthropology and conducted a Fulbright Grant to Peru to research and record Quechua narratives between 1989-90. Prior to receiving his Fulbright, he published a book of historical Quechua verse with Guillermo Delgado, Return of the Inca. Hillman has translated and published more Quechua verse since his year in Peru, and he has published and performed Russian and Spanish translations as well.

As a young poet, Hillman began work in the Poet in the Schools program in Texas. That led him to the Texas prison system where he conducted a three-year residency as the Poet in the Schools for the Windham School System, the state-wide prison program. For thirty years, he has worked as a consultant and artist for community arts programs in the US and abroad. (He collected and edited anthologies of Katrina memoirs--Writing Mobile Bay: The Hurricane Project (Alabama Writer's Forum) and Walking the Waterfront: Pascagoula Remembers America's Most Destructive Natural Disaster (National Communities in Schools and the Mississippi Arts Commission)). However, Hillman is best known in the community arts realm for his work in correctional arts. He edited or co-edited state-wide anthologies of prison writing in Texas (Writer's Block) and California (About Time III). For the last four years, he has served as a mentor and consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts and Federal Bureau of Prisons.