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Featured Writers and Speakers

Marjorie Hudson is a writer, teacher and educator. Her debut story collection, Accidental Birds of
the Carolinas
, a PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention for Distinguished First Fiction and a Novello
Literary Award Finalist, offers stories connected by place, exploring newcomers and old timers,
community and transformation in the rural South. Her creative nonfiction book Searching For
Virginia Dare
was a North Carolina Arts Council Notable Book. Her writing has been published in
Story, Storytelling Magazine, Garden & Gun, Yankee, West Branch, National Parks, American Land
Forum, and North Carolina Literary Review and has won many honors, including a Blumenthal
Award and two Pushcart Special Mentions.


Elaine Neil Orr writes fiction, memoir, and poetry. Her newest book is A Different Sun: A Novel of
(Berkley/Penguin, 2013) and her memoir, Gods of Noonday (Virginia, 2003), was a Top-20
Book Sense selection. Orr has published extensively in literary magazines including The Missouri
, Blackbird, Shenandoah, and Image Journal. Her short stories and short memoirs have won
several Pushcart Prize nominations and competition prizes. She has been awarded grants from the
National Endowment for the Humanities, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Virginia Center
for the Creative Arts. She is associate editor of a collection of essays on international childhoods,
Writing Out of Limbo, and the author of two scholarly books. She lives in Raleigh, NC.
Starr Seward is a National Poetry Slam Champion (2008), Southern Fried Poetry Slam Finalist
(2008), and currently ranked amongst the top 20 female performance poets in the world (WoWPS
2013). As a facilitator for Sacrificial Poets, her mission is to guide the youth toward inspiration by
showing them the power of their own voice and instilling them with the confidence to use it. Starr is
currently a service member with the NC LiteracyCorps.
Charles Dodd White has been a Marine, a fishing guide, and a journalist. He is the recipient of the
Jean Ritchie Fellowship, an individual artist grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, and is the
author of the story collection, Sinners of Sanction County, and the novel, Lambs of Men, and coeditor
of the contemporary Appalachian short story anthology, Degrees of Elevation. His next novel,
A Shelter of Others, is due for release this year by Fiddleblack Press. He was born in Atlanta,
Georgia, and grew up in both the city and the woods. He lives in Candler, NC.
Shannon Ward is author of the poetry chapbook, Blood Creek (Longleaf Press, 2013). She was a
winner of the 2013 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize, and her work has received support from Yaddo, The
Anderson Center, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods. Her poems have appeared in Great River Review,
Superstition Review, Tar River Poetry, and others. She received an MFA in Poetry from North
Carolina State University in 2009 and she teaches at Methodist University. She lives in Fayetteville,
NC, with her husband and two cats.
Kevin Morgan Watson is founder of Press 53 and serves as editor-in-chief. As a publisher, he has
worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book
Award and Pulitzer Prize. As a writer, his short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in
numerous publications, including the 2002 TallGrass Writers Guild/Outrider Press anthology Take
Two—They're Small
, where his short story "Sunny Side Up" won first prize. Kevin also serves as an
advisor for student adaptation of short stories to screenplays with the screenwriting faculty at the
University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking in Winston-Salem, NC.

Consultation Staff

Beth Copeland is most recently the author of Transcendental Telemarketer, a book of poems that
earned second place in the Poetry Council of North Carolina's 2013 Oscar Arnold Young Award for
best poetry book by a North Carolina writer. She was raised in Japan, India, and North Carolina. Her
earlier book, Traveling Through Glass, received the 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award, and
her poems have been published in many literary journals, including e: The Emily Dickinson Awards
(2002 and 2003), Hunger Mountain, The Kerf, and The Ledge. Her poems have received
awards from, among others, Peregrine and the North Carolina Poetry Society, and have been
nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Brenda Jernigan is the author of the novel Every Good and Perfect Gift. Her short fiction has won
awards including the Robert Ruark Prize and the Rupert Hughes Writing Award and has appeared
The Crescent Review and North Carolina Literary Review, among others. She has also published a
mystery, Angel's Aura. She received a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill, an MS from Old Dominion
University, and an MFA from North Carolina State University. She's had the good fortune to study
with both Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle.
Megan Roberts is the author of the chapbook Matters of Record. In April 2010, she was awarded
North Carolina State's Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poem "Blackberries" was published
in Albatross, a journal. In March 2011, her story "Gestures" was published in Smokelong Quarterly,
and her fiction has appeared in 971Menu, The News & Observer, Our Stories, and The Raleigh
. Roberts has an MA in English from East Carolina University and an MFA in Fiction
Writing from North Carolina State University, where she worked under the direction of
Jill McCorkle.