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Guest Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Kelly Norman Ellis

Kelly Norman Ellis is an associate professor of English and director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Chicago State University. She is the author of Tougaloo Blues and co-editor of Spaces Between Us: Poetry, Prose and Art on AIDS/HIV, both from Third World Press. Her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Sou’Wester, PMS (Poem, Memoir, Story), Tidal Basin Review, Calyx, and The Ringing Ear. In 2010 Essence Magazine voted her one of their forty favorite poets. She is a Cave Canem Poetry Fellow and founding member of the Affrilachian Poets.

February 7
 
Keynote Speaker
3:30 pm :: TBA
Morristown Campus

Performance Poets

Bianca Spriggs

Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow, Bianca Spriggs, is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky. Currently a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky, she holds degrees from Transylvania University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Named as one of the Top 30 Performance Poets by The Root, Bianca is the recipient of a 2013 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry, multiple Artist Enrichment and Arts Meets Activism grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. In partnership with the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, she is the creator of The SwallowTale Project a creative writing workshop designed for incarcerated women, and the creator and Artistic Director of the Wild Women of Poetry Slam featured annually at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. 

Pushcart Prize winner and National Book Award Finalist, Patricia Smith, calls Bianca’s work, “an aggressive signature that is deftly crafted, insightful and often achingly lyrical.”  Heralded as “the new standard bearer for the Affrilachian Poets” by founding member, Frank X Walker, Bianca Spriggs is the author of Kaffir Lily (Wind Publications), How Swallowtails Become Dragons (Accents Publishing), and her work may also be found in the anthologies, New Growth: Recent Kentucky Writings, America! What's My Name? and the journals, Union Station Magazine, Tidal Basin Review, Muzzle, Caduceus, Alehouse, Reverie, Appalachian Heritage Magazine, and others. Bianca has served on the editorial board for ninepatch, TORCH: poetry, prose, and short stories by African American Women, and is currently the Managing Editor for pluck! The Affrilachian Journal of Art and Culture.

February 8
 
Performance Poets
4:30 pm :: TBA
Morristown Campus

Kelly Norman Ellis

Kelly Norman Ellis is an associate professor of English and director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Chicago State University. She is the author of Tougaloo Blues and co-editor of Spaces Between Us: Poetry, Prose and Art on AIDS/HIV, both from Third World Press. Her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Sou’Wester, PMS (Poem, Memoir, Story), Tidal Basin Review, Calyx, and The Ringing Ear. In 2010 Essence Magazine voted her one of their forty favorite poets. She is a Cave Canem Poetry Fellow and founding member of the Affrilachian Poets.

February 8
 
Performance Poets
4:30 pm :: TBA
Morristown Campus

Workshop Leaders

Amy Greene

Amy Greene was born and raised in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, where she lives with her husband and two children. Her second novel Long Man will be published by Alfred A. Knopf February 25, 2014. Her first novel Bloodroot is available in bookstores and online.

Amy Greene's Website

February 7
 
Pre-Conference Writers Workshops
Fiction
10:00 am :: HUM 102
Morristown Campus

Karen Slayer McElmurray

Karen Salyer McElmurray’s Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey, was an AWP Award Winner for Creative Nonfiction.  It was called by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution “a moving meditation on loss and discovery of self.”  Her novels are The Motel of the Stars, Editor’s Pick by Oxford American, and Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven, winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing.  Other stories and essays have appeared in Iron Horse, Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Riverteeth, and in the anthologies An Angle of Vision; To Tell the Truth; Fearless Confessions; Listen Here; Dirt; Family Trouble; and Red Holler.  Her writing has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.  Most recently, she was named Distinguished Alumna at Berea College and her essay, “Strange Tongues,” was the recipient of the Annie Dillard Award from The Bellingham Review. She is at work on the fifth draft of a new novel, Wanting Inez, which is about fortune telling, tattoos, the mystery of family and love, and the lost identity of land.  She is also in the very early stages of a collection of essays called The Land Between. 

February 7
 
Pre-Conference Writers Workshops
Non-Fiction
10:00 am :: HUM 104
Morristown Campus

Marianne Worthington

Marianne Worthington, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, is a poet and educator living in Williamsburg, Kentucky, since 1990. Her poetry chapbook, Larger Bodies Than Mine (Finishing Line Press, 2006), was included in Finishing Line’s New Women’s Voices series and chosen as the 2007 Appalachian Book of the Year in poetry by the Appalachian Writers Association. She is editor of Motif: Writing By Ear, An Anthology of Writings About Music (MotesBooks, 2009) and Motif 2: Come What May, An Anthology of Writings About Chance (MotesBooks, 2010). Worthington is poetry editor and former book reviews editor for Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine. Along with Silas House and Jason Howard, she founded the online literary journal Still: The Journal in 2009, for which she serves as poetry editor. She is associate professor of Communication and Journalism at University of the Cumberlands, and a creative writing instructor for the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts.

Marianne Worthington's blog

February 7
 
Pre-Conference Writers Workshops
Poetry
10:00 am :: HUM 106
Morristown Campus

George Ella Lyon

George Ella Lyon has published award-winning books for readers of all ages, and her poem, “Where I’m From,” has been used as a model by teachers around the world. Recent titles include She Let Herself Go (poems) and the following picture books: “Which Side Are You On?” The Story of a Song, and Allthe Water in the World (both CCBC Choices), The Pirate of Kindergarten (Schneider Award) and You and Me and Home Sweet Home (Jane Addams Honor). Originally from the mountains of Kentucky, Lyon works as a freelance writer and teacher based in Lexington, where she lives with her husband, writer and musician Steve Lyon. They have two grown sons.

February 7
 
Pre-Conference Writers Workshops
Children's Books
10:00 am :: HUM 148Q (Conference Room)
Morristown Campus

D.A. Adams

D.A. Adams was born in Florida but was raised in East Tennessee. He received a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of Memphis in 1999 and has taught college English for over a decade. His first novel, The Brotherhood of Dwarves, was released in 2005 and has been described as a solid, honest work about camaraderie, bravery, and sacrifice, a very personal journey, more interested in the ways that a person is changed by life's events than in epic battles and high magic. In 2008, the sequel, Red Sky at Dawn, was released to the exaltation that this novel thunders along, at times with dizzying speed. The action is visceral and imaginative without being gratuitous. Book three, The Fall of Dorkhun, came out in 2011, followed by book four, Between Dark and Light, in 2012.

In terms of writing style, Adams exhibits an effortless narrative voice and a masterful balance between richly detailed descriptions and tightly worded minimalism. The pacing of his stories is breathtaking, with relentless action and captivating plot twists that keep readers riveted page after page. But his true talent as a writer lies in character development. Readers find themselves empathizing with, fearing for, and cheering on the characters as they overcome their personal shortcomings and grow as fully rendered individuals. 

Adams is also the father of two wonderful sons and, despite his professional accomplishments, maintains that they are his greatest achievement in life. He resides in East Tennessee.

February 7
 
Pre-Conference Writers Workshops
E-Publishing/self-publishing/small business publishing
10:00 am :: HUM 120 (Writing Lab)
Morristown Campus