summer 2019 VISITING WRITERS, july 6-11


WV Wesleyan’s MFA will host a Visiting Writers Series during the program’s Summer 2019 Residency. These events are free and open to the public. The writers will be reading from their original work, and copies of their books will be available for sale. Readings will be held on Wesleyan’s campus in Loar Auditorium in Loar Hall of Music (see #15 on the campus map (PDF) and click here for directions to campus).

Belle Boggs at 7 pm, July 6

Belle Boggs is the author of The Gulf, a novel; The Art of Waiting, a book of essays on fertility, medicine, and motherhood; and Mattaponi Queen, a collection of linked stories set along Virginia’s Mattaponi River. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council and is an associate professor and director of the MFA program at North Carolina State University.

Jonathan Corcoran & Eric Waggoner at 7 pm, July 7

Jonathan Corcoran is the author of the story collection, The Rope Swing, which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards and long-listed for The Story Prize. He received a BA in Literary Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Rutgers University-Newark, where he teaches writing. He was born and raised in a small town in West Virginia and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Eric Waggoner is Executive Director of the WV Humanities Council. His literary criticism has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and book collections, most recently American Literature in Transition, 1970-1980 (Cambridge UP, 2018). Over a 19-year music and cultural journalism career, he has written hundreds of profile pieces and book, album, concert, and film reviews, and published long-form interviews with artists and musicians. He is founding editor and publisher of Latham House Press, a micropress dedicated to releasing first chapbooks by promising Appalachian writers.

M. Randal O’Wain & Savannah Sipple at 7 pm, July 8

M. Randal O’Wain holds an MFA from Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. Currently, he teaches creative writing at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. O’Wain is the author of Meander Belt: family, loss, and coming of age in the working class south (American Lives Series, Bison Books, 2019) and Hallelujah Station and other stories (Autumn House Press, 2020). His essays and short stories have appeared in Oxford American, Guernica, Booth, Hotel Amerika, Zone 3, among others.

Savannah Sipple is a writer from east Kentucky. Her debut poetry collection WWJD and Other Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019) explores what it is to be a queer woman in Appalachia. With a beer-drinking Jesus as her wing-man, she navigates this difficult terrain of stereotype, conservative Evangelicalism, and, perhaps most, shame. Her writing can be found in Southern Cultures, Salon, Appalachian Heritage, Waxwing, and The Offing. She is the recipient of grants from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. A writer, editor, and teacher, Savannah resides in Lexington, Kentucky with her fiancée, Ashley.

Cameron Barnett at 7 pm, July 10

Cameron Barnett is a poet and teacher from Pittsburgh, PA. He earned his MFA in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, and his first collection, The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water, was selected by Ada Limón in 2017 as the inaugural winner of the Rising Writer contest from Autumn House Press. In 2018 he was a finalist for the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry.

A Reading from Feminine Rising at 7 pm, July 11

Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility is an anthology edited by WVWC MFA alums Andrea Fekete & Lara Lillibridge. The collection brings together women of all races, nationalities, and sexual orientations to reflect on the unique experience of womanhood. International poets and essayists, both award-winning and emergent, unite to celebrate women’s differences, while embracing their sameness. The reading will feature contributors Cheryl Denise and Tuesday Taylor, along with WVWC MFA alumni contributors Rachel Hicks, Lisa Hayes Minney, and Jessica Spruill Waggoner.

For more information about the readings, contact MFA Director Doug Van Gundy:, 304.473.8523.

This project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.