Tag Archives: Judge Bios

2015 WV Writing Contest Judges List

The following is the assembled list of judges for the 2015 version of the West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contest.  Read bios for individual judges HERE.

Appalachian Writing -  Tom Douglass

Book Length Prose - Brad Barkley

Children's Books - Sarah Sullivan

Emerging Writers Poetry - T.K. Lee

Emerging Writers Prose - Rhonda Browning White

Genre: Fantasy - Briane Keene

Screenplay - Glenn Payne

Long Poetry - Valerie Nieman

Pearl S. Buck Award for Writing for Social Change - Marjory Wentworth

Short Nonfiction - Stephanie Kadel Taras

Short Poetry - Soren Stockman

Short Story - Ed Davis

TOPIC: Survival - Lee Maynard

New Mountain Voices: Elementary - Rene K. Nicholson

New Mountain Voices: Middle School - Natalie Sypolt

New Mountain Voices: High School - Pam Hanson

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Stephanie Kadel Taras (Short Nonfiction)

Concluding our series of bios for the judges of the 2015 West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contests.  


Stephanie Kadel Taras wrote a book about her grandmother seventeen years ago and has been writing people’s life stories ever since. Through her Ann Arbor, Michigan, company, TimePieces Personal Biographies, she has used her skill as an interviewer and storyteller to write more than 50 full-length, privately published biographies and institutional histories. She has interviewed hundreds of people about their lives and work, including parents, teachers, farmers, business owners, community leaders, lawyers, musicians, factory workers, and even a Great Lakes ship captain. Her book On Solid Rock, about the founding of Eckerd College, won an Independent Publishers book award.

Stephanie grew up in Elkins, West Virginia. In 2013, she published a book about her own life called Mountain Girls. The combination memoir and social history features the lifelong friendship of two girls whose resilience, humor, and creativity shape unexpected lives. Inspired by stories from other West Virginia women, they learn what generations of Appalachians have long known—it’s up to you to make the life you want. Mountain Girls won a West Virginia Writers, Inc., book award while still in production and has been praised by scholars of Appalachian history and culture as an important new work in the field.

Stephanie has a B.A. from Eckerd College, a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in sociology and education from Syracuse University. She is a leader in the Ann Arbor community, where she is currently president of the Ann Arbor City Club’s board of directors. She is also a leader in her profession, having served as vice president of the international Association of Personal Historians, where she is considered the go-to teacher of business development skills to others who want to start a career writing life stories.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Brad Barkley (Book Length Prose/Young Adult)

Continuing our series of bios for the judges of the 2015 West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contests. 

BRAD BARKLEY (Book Length Prose/Young Adult)

A native of North Carolina, Brad Barkley is the author of the novel, Money, Love, a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection and a "BookSense 76" choice.  Money, Love was named one of the best books of 2000 by the Washington Post and the Library Journal.  His novel Alison's Automotive Repair Manual was also a "BookSense 76" selection.  His short fiction has appeared in over two dozen magazines, including  Southern Review, Georgia Review, the Oxford American, Glimmer Train, Book Magazine, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, which twice awarded him the Emily Balch Prize for Best Fiction.  His work was anthologized in New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2002.  He has won four Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  He is also the co-author of three Young Adult novels, Dream Factory, Scrambled Eggs at Midnight, and Jars of Glass.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Natalie Sypolt (New Mountain Voices – High School)

NATALIE SYPOLT (New Mountain Voices - High School)

Natalie Sypolt lives and writes in West Virginia. She received an MFA in fiction from West Virginia University in 2005 and currently an Assistant Professor at Pierpont Community and Technical College. She also teaches community creative writing classes and workshops. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Switchback, r.kv.r.y., Ardor Literary Magazine, Superstition Review, Paste, Willow Springs Review, and The Kenyon Review Online, among others. Natalie is the winner of the Glimmer Train New Writers Contest and the Betty Gabehart Prize. She is also an active book reviewer whose work has appeared in Los Angeles Review, Fjords Review, Paste, Shenandoah, Harpur Palate, and Mid American Review. Additionally, Natalie serves as a literary editor for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, is the High School Workshop Coordinator for the West Virginia Writers Workshop at WVU, and is co-host of SummerBooks: A literary podcast.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Pam Hanson (New Mountain Voices – Middle School)

Pam Hanson (High School)

Pam Andrews Hanson, a former reporter and West Virginia University journalism teacher, is the co-author with her mother/writing partner Barbara Andrews of 40 novels including romance, inspirational women’s fiction, and mystery for Harlequin and Guideposts. Last spring Guideposts released Chesapeake Antique Mysteries, Forgotten History, and Hidden Treasures, a two-book set by the duo. In addition, she and her partner have several indie inspirational romances for Kindle on Amazon.

Currently she is working on a new cozy mystery project of her own.  Pam, a past recipient of the JUG Award, now resides in Nebraska where she writes fulltime when she’s not procrastinating on Facebook: facebook.com/pamandrewshanson

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Renee K. Nicholson (New Mountain Voices – Elementary)

RENEE K. NICHOLSON (New Mountain Voices - Elementary)

Renée K. Nicholson splits her artistic pursuits between writing and dance. She is Assistant Professor in the Multidisciplinary Studies Program at West Virginia University.

Renée studied English at Butler University, and holds a MFA in Creative Writing from West Virginia University where she won the Rebecca Mason Perry Award for Outstanding First-Year MFA Student and the Russ MacDonald Prize for Graduate Writing, Fiction. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Chelsea, Mid-American Review, Perigee: A Journal of the Arts, Paste, Poets & Writers, Crosstimbers, Naugatuck River Review, Honey Land Review, Dossier, Stymie, ABZ, Prime Number, Blue Lyra Review, Switchback, Fiction Writers Review, Moon City Review, Redux, Cleaver Magazine, Barely South Review, Saw Palm, Bluestem, The Superstition Review, The Gettysburg Review and elsewhere. Her work has been included in the anthologies Not A Muse, A Generation Defining Itself, and in Keeping Track: Fiction of Lists from Main Street Rag. She has served as Assistant to the Director of the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop since 2007, serves on the book reviews staff at Los Angeles Review, and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She co-hosts the literary podcast SummerBooks and co-founded the journal Souvenir. Her collection of poems, Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center, was published in 2014 in the Crossroads Poetry Series at Urban Farmhouse Press.

In 2011, Renée was the Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Penn State Altoona.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Ed Davis (Short Fiction)

Continuing our series of bios for the judges of the 2015 West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contests.  Return here each weekday for the revelation of a new judge.

ED DAVIS (Short Fiction)

A native West Virginian, Ed Davis taught writing, literature and humanities courses at Sinclair Community College from 1978 to 2011. In addition, he founded Sinclair’s literary magazine, Flights, was assistant director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, conducted poetry and fiction workshops for a number of local organizations and institutions and has judged local writing contests. He’s participated in writing conferences such as Taos Writers’ Workshop, Cleveland State University’s Imagination Workshop, Antioch Writers’ Workshop and the Novel-In-Progress Workshop sponsored by Green River Writers of Kentucky.

Davis has published four poetry chapbooks since the mid-eighties: Appalachian Day (Samisdat Press, 1984), Haskell (Seven Buffaloes, 1987) and Whispering Leaves (Great Elm, 1989) and Healing Arts (Pudding House, 2005). His fiction has been accepted by many literary magazines, such as Footwork, Riverwind, The Vincent Brothers Review, Wind, Mudrock, Vignette and Evansville Review. His short story “The Last Beatlemaniac” appears in the anthology In My Life: Encounters With The Beatles. His story “Two Kings was the winner of the 2008 Dayton Daily News short story contest, and his short story “The Boys of Bradleytown” won first place in Ohio Writer’s Annual “Best of 2005″ Contest and was published in the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of Ohio Writer.

Davis’s novel I Was So Much Older Then was published in 2001 by Disc-Us Books. His second novel, The Measure of Everything, released in 2005 by Plain View Press, set in fictional Shawnee Springs, Ohio, focuses on a campaign to save a farm on the village’s border from the threat of urban sprawl. His latest novel, The Psalms of Israel Jones, was published in 2014 by WVU Press.

In his spare time, he takes long walks in the woods, meditates, weight-lifts, bikes, practices yoga and journals religiously. He’s currently an active member of Tecumseh Land Trust.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Soren Stockman (Short Poetry)


Soren Stockman’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, PEN Poetry Series, H.O.W. Journal, Bellevue Literary Review, The Paris-American, and Narrative Magazine, which awarded him First Place in the 2013 Narrative 30 Below Story and Poetry Contest.

He’s the recipient of fellowships from the Ucross Foundation, New York University, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute.

He works as the Administrative Aide for the NYU Creative Writing Program, as well as Program Coordinator for Summer Literary Seminars in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Curator for Spring House Journal.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Lee Maynard (Topic: Survival)

LEE MAYNARD (Topic: Survival)

Maynard’s novel, Crum, was the first original fiction published by Washington Square Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In its first month of publication, the novel rose to No. 8 on the Doubleday Best Seller List. The novel has been taught in English literature classes in a score of prestigious universities. Sometimes called “the book that wouldn’t die”, Crum was republished by Vandalia Press (a commercial imprint of West Virginia University Press) in the summer of 2001. It was the first book published by Vandalia and within a year became the best-selling book in the history of the university.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded a Literary Fellowship in Fiction to Maynard for Crum’s sequel, Screaming With The Cannibals (volume II of a trilogy), published by Vandalia Press in 2002. The third and last volume of the trilogy, The Scummers, was published by Vandalia in spring, 2012. The Pale Light of Sunset, a work of creative nonfiction, was published by Vandalia in October 2009.

Maynard’s short fiction has appeared in such publications such as Columbia Review of Literature, Appalachian Heritage and the literary magazine, Kestrel.

As a journalist, Maynard was an assignment writer for Reader’s Digest for more than two decades. His journalism and non-fiction work has appeared more than 100 times in publications as diverse as The Saturday Review, Rider Magazine, Washington Post, Country America, Dual Sport News and Christian Science Monitor.

Specializing in the novel, Maynard has taught at many national and regional workshops, including the Appalachian Writers Workshop, Southwest Writers Workshop, and West Virginia Writers Conference. He has served as Writing Master at Allegheny Echoes.

Maynard has been a management and editorial consultant to newspapers, magazines and small publishing companies, and was once a college president. An avid outdoorsman, he is a mountaineer, sea kayaker, skier and former professional river runner. He once rode a motorcycle from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Arctic Circle. He lives near Santa Fe.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – T.K. Lee (Emerging Writers Poetry – The F. Ethan Fischer Poetry Award)

Continuing our series of bios for the judges of the 2015 West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contests.  Return here each weekday for the revelation of a new judge.

T.K. LEE (Emerging Writers Poetry)

T.K. Lee is an award-winning member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers. A published writer of fiction and poetry as well, he is also a Pushcart nominee.  He has previously judged the Humor category for WV Writers 2014 contest.  He lives in Starkville, Mississippi.

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