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Conference First Timer Guidelines 2021

As a service to first time attendees or potential attendees of WV Writers Summer Conference, this document is being provided as a guide to planning your conference experience. There are answers to frequently asked questions below...

  • If you plan to stay overnight, be sure to fill out the separate Cedar Lakes form, as well. You'll also need to fill it out if you plan to eat meals there, which we recommend, because it's hard to get out to a restaurant and back without missing a workshop or two.
  • On the weekend of the conference, please stop at the Cedar Lakes office when you first enter the grounds. The office is the first building on your right as you enter. You'll get your meal tickets (more like a typed sheet of paper) and your room keys. DO NOT LOSE YOUR MEAL TICKET.
  • Ask the Cedar Lakes staff to point out Jackson Hall to you, which will serve as our main assembly hall (due to the normal assembly hall being under renovations.)  They'll give you a map, too, but you can just barely see Jackson building from the office. Come there next and check in or register for the conference itself. If you have pre-registered and prepaid in full, there is usually a "quick line" you can jump to and simply check your name off the list, grab your name tag and goody bag, and head to step three. If you still need to register, that's fine too. We accept cash, checks, and can now accept credit cards via Square Up at the registration desk or bookstore.  (Cedar Lakes can accept credit cards for room and meals).
  • Stop by the reception table for a cold (or hot) drink and a snack.
  • For 2021, the the Writer's Wall competition will be held in Dining Hall Area 2, just off the main dining hall.  For the Writer's Wall, participants can bring in a one page piece of poetry and/or prose to anonymously post to the wall (which means, naturally, that your name must not appear on it). There will be a sign up book and an intern to help with the process, assigning each entry a number which conference attendees will be able to vote for using the ballot slip in their goodie bags. The winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night.
  • Similarly, there will be five total sessions of People's Choice, with prose and poetry sessions on Friday evening and prose, poetry and youth sessions on Saturday. During People's Choice, attendees are invited to read a piece of their own work that must come in at under 5 minutes in length. After all the pieces are read, ballots will be passed out for fellow readers and other attendees to vote on their favorite pieces. Winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night.
  • You don't have to register for the individual workshops in advance. Just pick them as you go. Some people find that it's easier to print out the schedule (or use the one given to you at registration, which will be the most accurate) and then highlight two classes each session that you're interested in. Then, when the time arrives, you can pick between the two. Some people like to have a "back up class" in case one is overcrowded, or in case you find yourself enjoying a particular track so much that you want to stick with it (poetry vs. non-fiction, for example). We would recommend that you take at least one class outside of your chosen genre; not just for the broadened experience, but because you might find inspiration or a particular nugget of writing wisdom that you can apply to what you're working on. For example, if you write fiction, take a poetry workshop or a nonfiction editing workshop, which can help with your craft.
  • Be sure to dress light but bring a sweater and an umbrella. It’s not uncommon for it to rain very hard on at least one of the conference days. The classrooms can also be hot. Be sure to wear shoes that are comfortable for walking, not only for walking to and from the dining hall but for taking strolls around the grounds of Cedar Lakes.  Oh, and open toed shoes can be sort of iffy, for there is a great deal of goose poo to be found in certain parts near the lakes.
  • We also hope you're planning to attend the banquet and stick around for entertainment in Jackson Hall on Saturday evening!
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New West Virginia Literary Podcast: The Lilly Pad (with Jason Lilly)

Come hang out at the Lilly Pad, a podcast created to spotlight local talent and the people who are making a difference in their communities. Hosted by Jason Lilly: English teacher, Shakespeare enthusiast, former board member for WV Writers, Inc. and book nerd.

In Jason's first episode, he interviews former WVW President Cat Pleska.

Check it out at Spotify or the podcast-catcher program of your choice.

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Comments to the Website

Hi, all.

This is Eric your friendly neighborhood webmaster with a note regarding the comments to the WV Writers website.

When we began the WordPress version of the WV Writers website back in 2012, we made it possible for visitors to the site to leave comments on each of our site's pages and also blog posts.  Our intention in this was to allow people leave comments on a particular piece of news or add their two cents to any discussions that might be going on.  However, what the comments have primarily been used for is to ask questions to the organization regarding the annual writing contest or annual writing conferences or just any issue that might come up.  As webaster, when I've seen a question come through in the comments about something specific (contest, conference, membership, etc.) I've tried to act as the WVW switchboard and forward the question on to the appropriate officer or staff person in charge of it (contest coordinator, president, secretary, etc.).   The problem is, while the site's comment settings have been set to email the webmaster (me) each time a comment is left, those emails don't always seem to reach me (because Gmail).  And then we have situations, like today, when I visited the site to find 234 comments waiting for me with questions that required answers some weeks back, if not months, but which I've never seen forwarded to me in email, because Gmail decided they were Social media posts and filed them there where I'll never see them.  That, I think we can all agree, is no good.

The comments were never intended as a method of correspondence.  Correspondence should always be sent to someone on the WVW board of directors or to the staff member in charge of answering it (in the case of the contest), which is why we provide email addresses for the officers on the Officers and Staff page, and on the contest page itself.

As the current comment system is not working the way it was intended and is actually causing more problems than it's solving, I'm officially disabling it as of today.  I would much rather those of you with questions get them answered in a timely fashion than not, so removing the comments removes a faulty method of communication.

If you have correspondence with WV Writers or any of its officers, please visit the Officers and Staff page to find the appropriate email, or simply email  If you wish to discuss things regarding the organization, I invite you to visit our WVW Facebook group page and do so there.

Thank you.

--eric fritzius (webmaster)

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Kirk Judd Reading in Beckley

On March 7th there will be a reading by well known WV poet Kirk Judd on the writings of Joseph Barrett who died in 1990 leaving behind a rich trove of poetry-a manuscript, completed shortly before his death.  The manuscript is Blue Planet Memoirs, published now years later by Dos Madres Press of Loveland, Ohio.  The reading will take place at 7:00pm at the Dan and Cynthia Bickey art Gallery, Beckley Art Center, 600 Johnstown Rd, Beckley 25801
“Joe was an extraordinary gifted poet, and his work is important to have in our literary collections.”- Kirk Judd
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Contest Judge Rollout: Michelle Buck Lipscomb (New Mountain Voices Elementary)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Michelle Buck Lipscomb was born in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and attended Mason County schools until the age of 15, when she and her family moved to Moultrie, Georgia. There, she went on to finish third in her class at Colquitt County High School. Ms. Lipscomb graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA. She later received her Master’s Degree in education from Valdosta State University and obtained an endorsement to teach gifted and talented students. In her twenty-seven years as an educator, Ms. Lipscomb has taught fifth and third grades, as well as gifted and early-intervention classes. She was named the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year for Hahira Elementary in Lowndes County, Georgia. Ms. Lipscomb currently serves as the Instructional Coach at Hahira Elementary. She resides in Hahira, Georgia, and has three children, ages 17, 25 and 27.

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WV Writers Fall Conference Announced

WV Writers is pleased to announce the return of the one-day WV Writers Fall Conference. Make plans to join us November 4, 2017 at Tamarack, off I77 in Beckley and ‘Fall for Writing.’

Beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing until 5:00 p.m., there will be four workshop time slots with eight workshops from which to select. Those include Playwriting, Plot, Young Adult, Writing for the Periodical Market, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Developing Characters.

Lunch will be on your own, but the food at Tamarack is fabulous! After the workshops, you will have an opportunity to have your book purchases autographed by the presenters.

The cost for the full day of workshops, networking, and honing your craft is only $50 per person for WV Writers' members, and $60 for non-members. You may register online at, you can mail a check or money order to PO Box 212, Scott Depot, WV 25560.  Be sure to include a note with your name and contact information.

WV Writers is excited to return this popular fall workshop to the lineup of events. Don’t miss this chance to charge your writing batteries for your winter of writing ahead!



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“The Maynard I Knew” a belated eulogy by Pops Walker


The Maynard I knew was a writer.  And damn, what a voice.  Some folks color outside the lines.  He saw no lines, he simply colored his words as he saw fit.  Some folks think outside the box.  He ignored the box.  Boxes were a form of containment, and he would not be contained.  He refused and disdained chains.

He had the courage to write of ugly truths, hard truths, yet he wrote of them with roughly hewn beauty.  And he might scoff at me for saying so, but he was indeed an artist.  He mixed truth and fiction like no other – you never knew if he wrote of his history, or of his enhanced dreams.  As he succinctly put it, his works were scatter shots.  I would add that his scatter shots were indeed an art form.

On a June day in 2008, we met and ere long were both convinced we’d known one another in former lives.  And we laughed.  Lord, how we laughed that day, and on many occasions since.  Over the years, it became patently obvious to us that one of our many life-roles, was to make the other laugh.

On occasion, we shared stages – him reading from his works, and me playing guitar.  They were precious moments to me, and to him.  He told me so, and I knew from his smiles, that it was so.

We were Gonzo Mountaineers, and between the two of us we shared well over a century of undetected crime.  Outlaw Artists is how we viewed one another, and we took pride in that assessment.  But we laughed at it too.  Neither he nor I took ourselves too seriously.

And it happened that a week or so before he left, we spoke on the phone.  We made each other laugh again, and said to each other, “I love you brother.” And when he passed in the wee hours of a June morning in 2017, my good friend John-Boy and I were on my porch, drunker than Cooter Brown, picking guitars and laughing, unaware of his departure.  I think Lee would have seen our tom-foolery as a fitting tribute.  I’m damn sure he would’ve laughed.

On learning of Lee’s death, a mutual friend concisely concluded “The world just became a less interesting place.”  Truer words were never spoken.

Pops Walker

June 28, 2017

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Lee Maynard, R.I.P.

It is with sadness that we at WV Writers report that the writer and infamous WV native son Lee Maynard has passed.  Cat Pleska, former WVW president and good friend of Lee, reports that he died with his son by his side on June 16, in Colorado.

She writes "Lee wanted no memorials, no wakes, no funerals. His family will scatter his ashes in Grand Canyon, a fitting tribute, I think."

Lee is known for his novels in the Crum trilogy.  In recent years, he penned new works Cinco Becknell and Magnetic North, as well as his 2009 memoir in fiction The Pale Light of Sunset: Scattershots and Hallucinations in an Imagined Life.  He was a regular workshop presenter at the WV Writers summer conference.

Lee Maynard, 1936-2017

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Certificates are in the mail

For those who placed in the 2017 WV Writers Annual Writing Contest, but who could not attend the banquet, the certificates are officially in the mail as of this morning.

And a big shout out to the Lewisburg Post Office for all their assistance and infinite patience during the entire contest season.

Once again it has been my pleasure to serve as the contest coordinator.

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