A native of Southeastern Kentucky, Julia Watts has written thirteen novels for adults and young adults, most of which explore the lives of LGBT people in rural and small-town Appalachia. Her novel Finding H.F. won the 2002 Lambda Literary Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category. A novel for for adults, The Kind of Girl I Am, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in the Women’s Fiction category, and her 2013 young adult novel Secret City was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a winner of a Golden Crown Literary Award. Julia’s other titles include Gifted and Talented; Hypnotizing Chickens; and most recently, Rufus + Syd, co-written with Robin Lippincott. Julia holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University and has spoken at various national and regional conferences, including the AWP Conference, the NCTE Conference, the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, and the Denham Symposium on Appalachian Literature. She lives in Knoxville and teaches at South College and in Murray State University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. She was recently inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame, and her new novel, Quiver, is forthcoming from Three Rooms Press.
Jeff Mann grew up in Covington, Virginia, and Hinton, West Virginia, receiving degrees in English and forestry from West Virginia University. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in many publications, including Arts and Letters, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Willow Springs, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, Crab Orchard Review, and Appalachian Heritage. He has published three award-winning poetry chapbooks, Bliss, Mountain Fireflies, and Flint Shards from Sussex; five full-length books of poetry, Bones Washed with Wine, On the Tongue, Ash: Poems from Norse Mythology, A Romantic Mann, and Rebels; two collections of personal essays, Edge: Travels of an Appalachian Leather Bear and Binding the God: Ursine Essays from the Mountain South; three novellas, Devoured, included in Masters of Midnight: Erotic Tales of the Vampire, Camp Allegheny, included in History’s Passion: Stories of Sex Before Stonewall, and The Saga of Einar and Gisli, included in On the Run: Tales of Gay Pursuit and Passion; six novels, Cub, Country, Insatiable, Fog: A Novel of Desire and Reprisal (which won the Pauline Réage Novel Award), Purgatory: A Novel of the Civil War (which won a Rainbow Award), and Salvation: A Novel of the Civil War (which won both the Pauline Réage Novel Award and a Lambda Literary Award); a book of poetry and memoir, Loving Mountains, Loving Men; and three volumes of short fiction, Desire and Devour: Stories of Blood and Sweat, Consent: Bondage Tales, and A History of Barbed Wire (which won a Lambda Literary Award). In 2013, he was inducted into the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival Hall of Fame. He teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Two of the judges for the 2018 WV Writers writing contests will be featured readers for The A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series at Marshall.
The series is kicking off the Spring 2018 semester with a reading celebrating the newly published anthology Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South, a book whose work provides space for historically marginalized voices, such as those from the queer community. These essays and stories remind readers what a breadth of identity there is in Appalachia. Featured readers will be Jeff Mann,Julia Watts, and Okey Napier Jr.
What: Reading and Book signing
Where: the Don Morris Room in the Memorial Student Center on Marshall's campus
When: Thursday, January 25, 2018 @ 7 p.m.
Please join us for a reading, Q&A, and book signing. Books will be available for sale. Light refreshments will be served.
Question: If you won a cash prize for screenwriting in a previous year, can you enter this year with a new screenplay?
Answer: Indeed you may. The only categories that disallow previous winners from entering are the Emerging Writers categories, which are designed to be entered by new and unpublished writers. (Once you've won an Emerging Writers award, you've officially emerged.)
HUMOR Category judge Adam Booth's storytelling blends traditional folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia. His original voice, both humorous and touching, is influenced by generations of diverse storytellers from West Virginia. His telling appearances have included Teller-In-Residence at the International Storytelling Center, New Voice at the National Storytelling Festival, resident at the Banff (Alberta) Spoken Word program, multiple events in seventeen states, and collaborations with the West Virginia Dance Company, Goose Route Dance Company, Frederick Chorale, and Hagerstown Choral Arts Society. Equally at home as a teller and educator, his research and presentations have included the Berea Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship, the National Academy of Medicine, Ghost Ranch, the National Storytelling Conference, the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Voices from the Misty Mountains summer seminars and institute. His stories and recordings have been honored with two Parents' Choice Silver Honors, four Storytelling World Awards and Honors, the NSN's J.J. Reneaux Mentorship Grant, and four West Virginia Liars’ Contest wins. He teaches Appalachian studies at Shepherd University and is the founding director of the Speak Story Series. Adam is most at home sharing stories and music with the next generation of listeners and tellers throughout Appalachia.
QUESTION: Your contest rules state that entries should be stapled or paperclipped. With the screenplay category, which accepts up to a 30-page sample, are writers able to submit a script that's conventionally bound, using metal brads to fasten three-hole-punched pages at top and bottom? Please let me know if the readers have a preference.
ANSWER: The binding you write of would be just fine. The WVW contest rules used to be real picky about the binding on screenplays, but larger manuscripts definitely need a bit more to them than a staple or a paperclip. (In 2013, we received a full length screenplay sandwiched between two 8.5" x 11" planks of plywood and that clued us in to what might have caused binding problems in the past. These days, brads or a slim clear document holder are happily accepted.
QUESTION: My fellow writers in my writers group suggested I submit my two-act stage play. Do you have a category for the 2018 contest?
ANSWER: Not in the 2018 contest. We usually do stage plays every other year in a round robin fashion and 2018 is the year for the Screenplay Category, named in memory of Joe McCabe, a beloved script-writer from Martinsburg.
QUESTION: I just received the information about the New Mountain Voices writing contest. Can homeschool children participate?
ANSWER: Absolutely. We like home school as well as away-from-home school.
QUESTION: For the poetry entries, does one poem equal one entry? In other words, if I enter five poems, I would send in $50.00?
ANSWER: For Short Poetry, Long Poetry, and Emerging Writers Poetry, this is correct. One poem per entry fee.
QUESTION: Regarding the Social Change (Pearl S. Buck Award), would it be appropriate to include a photo I took with a story?
ANSWER: A photo would probably be fine to include provided it does not include images that could lead the judge to be able to identify you the author. So you should definitely not appear within it, nor, probably should anyone in your family. Chances aren't high that the judge would know anyone, but because the contest is blindly judge we like to remove all possibilities of that happening.