Tag Archives: Judge Bios

WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Rhonda Browning White (Emerging Writers Prose)

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.

RHONDA BROWNING WHITE (Emerging Writers Prose)

Rhonda Browning White resides near Daytona Beach, FL and works as a ghostwriter, editor, adjunct professor, and Realtor (she’ll do most anything to support her writing habit). Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Steel Toe Review, Ploughshares Writing Lessons, South85 Journal, WV Executive, Mountain Echoes, Gambit, Justus Roux, Bluestone Review, and in the anthologies Appalachia’s Last Stand and Mountain Voices. Rhonda blogs at Read. Write. Live! found at www.RhondaBrowningWhite.com , and about the craft of fiction writing at www.WhyTheWritingWorks.com. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC.


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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Brian Keene (Genre Fantasy)

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.

BRIAN KEENE (Genre: Fantasy) (http://www.briankeene.com)

Brian Keene writes novels, comic books, short fiction, and occasional journalism for money. He is the author of over forty books, mostly in the horror, crime, and dark fantasy genres.

His 2003 novel, The Rising, is often credited (along with Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later film) with inspiring pop culture’s current interest in zombies.

Keene’s novels have been translated into German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, French, Taiwanese, and many more.

In addition to his own original work, Keene has written for media properties such as Doctor Who, The X-Files, Hellboy, Masters of the Universe, and Superman.

Several of Keene’s novels have been developed for film, including Ghoul, The Ties That Bind, and Fast Zombies Suck. Several more are in-development or under option. Keene also serves as Executive Producer for the independent film studio Drunken Tentacle Productions.

Keene also oversees Maelstrom, his own small press publishing imprint specializing in collectible limited editions, via Thunderstorm Books.


Keene’s work has been praised in such diverse places as The New York Times, The History Channel, The Howard Stern Show, CNN.com, Publisher’s Weekly, Media Bistro, Fangoria Magazine, and Rue Morgue Magazine.


He has won numerous awards and honors, including the World Horror Grand Master award, two Bram Stoker awards, and a recognition from Whiteman A.F.B. (home of the B-2 Stealth Bomber) for his outreach to U.S. troops serving both overseas and abroad.


A prolific public speaker, Keene has delivered talks at conventions, college campuses, theaters, and inside Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, VA.


The father of two sons, Keene lives in rural Pennsylvania.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Sarah Sullivan (Children’s Books)

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.

SARAH SULLIVAN (Children’s Books)

Sarah Sullivan is the author of 1 novel and 4 picture books. Her 2013 novel, All That’s Missing, received a starred review from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. VOYA called it “an outstanding debut novel.” Her 2011 picture book, Passing The Music Down, was an N.C.T.E. Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book and was chosen to represent the state of West Virginia at the National Book Festival. Once Upon a Baby Brother (FSG 2010) was a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book and Dear Baby: Letters from Your Big Brother (Candlewick 2005), was an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award winner. Sarah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College where she won the Harcourt Post-Graduate Scholarship. Her poetry has appeared in Cricket magazine.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Marjory Wentworth (Pearl S. Buck Award for Writing for Social Change)

MARJORY WENTWORTH (Pearl S. Buck Award for Writing for Social Change)

Marjory Wentworth’s poems have appeared in numerous books, magazines, and anthologies. She has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize five times. She is the Poet Laureate of South Carolina.

Her first collection of poems, Noticing Eden, was published by Hub City Writing Project in 2003. Her second volume, Despite Gravity, was published by Ninety-Six Press in 2007. Shackles, a children’s book, was published by Legacy Publications in February 2009. Her third collection of poems, The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle, was released in the spring of 2010 from Press 53. She is the co-writer with Juan Mendez of Taking a Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights published by Palgrave Macmillan in the fall of 2011.

New and Selected Poems is just out with the University of South Carolina Press.

Ms. Wentworth serves on the Board of Directors and is the current President of the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA); she is on the board of directors of the Poetry Society of SC. Her work is included in the South Carolina Poetry Archives at Furman University. She teaches poetry in The Charleston County Schools’ Engaging Creative Minds Program and she is on the faculty at The Art Institute of Charleston.

Educated at Mt. Holyoke College, Marjory Wentworth received her M.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from New York University.


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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Tom Douglass (Appalachian Writing)

TOM DOUGLASS (Appalachian Writing)

Tom Douglass teaches Contemporary Literature, British and American at East Carolina University.  He has taught courses on the American Renaissance, American Realism, Cormac McCarthy, American Humor and Satire, Literary Theory, and the Contemporary British fiction. He is the author of A Room Forever: the Life and Work of Breece D'J Pancake and has edited reprints Hubert Skidmore's Hawk's Nest and Davis Grubb's Fools' Parade. He has recently completed a biography of Davis Grubb. He organizes ECU's Contemporary Writers Series, which has featured campus visits from Colm Toibin, Colum McCann, Philip Levine, Beth Henley, Natasha Trethewey, Sherman Alexie, and Dave Smith. He also serves as the Appalachian Echoes series editor for the University of Tennessee Press.

He also co-organized the first ECU HumorFest, featuring Kinky Friedman, Andrei Codrescu, and Jill McCorkle, and co-organized "The Turning Night of Stars," featuring Coleman Barks, David Darling, Glen Velez, and Zuleikha, performing the poetry of Rumi. More recently, he has organized library exhibits of the Stuart Wright Collection in Joyner Library: Robert Penn Warren, Randall Jarrell, and Mid-Twentieth Century Children's Literature.

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Valerie Nieman (Long Poetry)

Beginning 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.


A longtime newspaper reporter and editor, Valerie Nieman now teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University. She was a founding editor of Kestrel magazine at Fairmont State University, and currently the poetry editor of Prime Number magazine.  Nieman graduated from West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte.

Nieman was a 2013-2014 North Carolina Arts Council poetry fellow, and has received an NEA creative writing fellowship as well as major grants in West Virginia and Kentucky. Her awards include the Greg Grummer, Nazim Hikmet, and Byron Herbert Reece poetry prizes. She is the author of one other full-length poetry collection, Wake Wake Wake, in addition to two chapbooks.  Nieman is the author of three novels: Blood Clay, a novel of the New South, which was honored with the Eric Hoffer Prize in General Fiction; Survivors, a novel about the Rust Belt of the 1970s; and a science fiction title, Neena Gathering, recently reissued as a classic in the post-apocalyptic genre. A fourth book, Backwater, is now in submission, and research for a new novel included a month hiking solo in Scotland. She also has published a collection of short stories, Fidelities.

Nieman’s second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy, is being published in March. Marc Harshman, poet laureate of West Virginia, commented: "From the moment I read the title poem’s breathless rush of poignant reflections, I knew I was in the presence of a poet keen to explore life with searing honesty. Many of the poems take a close look at the natural world and her changing place within it, poems that command attention by paying attention.  Especially impressive is the way she regularly dazzles with unexpected juxtapositions of experience.  Framing a middling spousal argument in one poem is a riveting vision of an eagle.  And although the narrator’s partner notices nothing, we notice, our hearts crushed by the thwarted longing for beauty and reconciliation.  Prepare your heart – these are poems that matter."

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