2018 Featured Authors


Well, the 2018 Featured Authors slate is really taking shape!  Here are the authors we have lined up so far.

Please don’t forget to go to our Regional Writers page to check out the Regional Writer line up.



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Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the 2012 Dundee International Book Award and was published by Cargo.  His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize and was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2014.  His most recent books include a novel, The Biology of Luck (Elephant Rock, 2013), an essay collection, Phoning Home (University of South Carolina Press, 2014) and a short story collection, Einstein’s Beach House (Pressgang/Butler University, 2014).  Jacob’s short fiction has appeared in more than two hundred literary journals including Agni, Colorado Review, Gettysburg Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Southwest Review, Threepenny Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and West Branch.  His prose has won the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review’s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review’s Short Fiction Prize, the Salem College Center for Women Writers’ Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award on four occasions, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant.   His stories have been short-listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008, 2013), Best American Nonrequired Reading (2007, 2008), and the Pushcart Prize anthology (2005, 2006, 2011, 2014).  Jacob’s stage plays have been performed at New York’s Theatre Row, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Adrienne Theatre (Philadelphia), Detroit Repertory Theatre, Heller Theater (Tulsa), Curtain Players (Columbus), Epilogue Players (Indianapolis), Open State Theatre (Pittsburgh), Intentional Theatre (New London), Little Theatre of Alexandria and elsewhere.

Jacob has taught most recently at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City, and at Yeshiva College, where he was the writer-in-residence.  He was honored with Brown’s Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003.   He formerly held academic appointments at Pace University, Hunter College, William Paterson University, Manhattan College, Columbia University and New York University.  Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown, an M.S. in bioethics from Albany Medical College, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. from N.Y.U. and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  He also publishes in the field of bioethics and contributes regularly to such publications as the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the Hastings Center Report and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.  His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Orlando Sentinel, The Providence Journal and many regional newspapers.  Please visit Jacob’s website:  www.jacobmappel.com

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A native of Perry, Georgia, Johnathan Barrett’s Georgia roots date back to the late 1700s.  For seven generations, fresh, farm-to-table food played a unifying role in his family, and as child he was introduced, first-hand, to the ingredients, practices, and nuances of Southern fare. This rich heritage of place continues to play center stage in Johnathon’s life, particularly in regards to food and dining.  Successfully melding the classic menus of his birthplace with an expanded appreciation of other cuisines, the author, now a renowned host and cook, has called culinary-rich Savannah, Georgia his home for the last thirty years.

Professionally, Johnathon, a Certified Public Accountant, began his career in the area of business, and moved into the arena of nonprofit management in the late 1990s.  He currently serves as vice-president of statewide operations for Junior Achievement of Georgia.  Through his adult life, Johnathon has also lent his time and talents to a

number of worthwhile projects, and has served on the boards of numerous organizations, such as The Georgia Historical Society, the Savannah Book Festival, Live Oak Regional Public Libraries, and The Rotary Club of Savannah.

Aside from work and his time spent in the kitchen, Johnathon enjoys fishing – he says he feels as if he were born with a rod and reel in his hand – as well as travel, gardening, and genealogy.  He also collects Southern paintings and art.

Please visit his website:  http://www.johnathonscottbarrett.com/


 4693435-4064172-thumbnailValerie Boyd is the author of Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston and the forthcoming Spirits in the Dark: The Untold Story of Black Women in Hollywood.

She is an Associate Professor and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, where she teaches magazine writing, arts reviewing and narrative nonfiction. She also has taught creative nonfiction in the graduate writing program at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

Valerie earned a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1985 and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Goucher College in 1999.

An accomplished journalist and cultural critic, Valerie is the former arts editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and she has been published in numerous anthologies, magazines and newspapers. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in Step Into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature, Ms. magazine, Paste, The Oxford American, Book magazine, Essence, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Creative Nonfiction, African American Review, The Scholar and Feminist Online and other publications.

She founded EightRock, a cutting-edge journal of black arts and culture, in 1990. In 1992, she co-founded HealthQuest, the first nationally distributed magazine focusing on African-American health.

Wrapped in Rainbows—the first biography of Zora Neale Hurston in 25 years—was published to wide critical acclaim. It was hailed by Alice Walker as “magnificent” and “extraordinary”; by The Washington Post as  “definitive”; by the Boston Globe as “elegant and exhilarating”; and by the Denver Post as “a rich, rich read.”

For her work on Wrapped in Rainbows, Valerie received the Georgia Author of the Year Award in nonfiction as well as an American Library Association Notable Book Award. The Georgia Center for the Book named Wrapped in Rainbows one of the “25 Books That All Georgians Should Read,” and the Southern Book Critics Circle honored it with the 2003 Southern Book Award for best nonfiction of the year.

Valerie is currently finishing her next book, Spirits in the Dark: The Untold Story of Black Women in Hollywood, which will be published by Knopf. She lives in Atlanta.

Please visit her website:  http://valerieboyd.com/about/



DSC_0656The Fat Boy Chronicles, Michael Buchanan’s YA novel co-authored with Diane Lang, won the National Parenting Publication’s Gold Award, Mom’s Choice Award of Excellence and the New York Champion of Character Award. Schools around the nation use the novel in their anti-bullying and childhood obesity efforts.

Buchanan also wrote the screenplay for the feature film adapted from the book. The movie won multiple awards for its impacting, yet hopeful depiction of an obese and bullied 9th grader’s world. Since its release in 2012, millions of fans around the world have seen the film. Teachers and parents in every state support both the book and movie.

In their journey with the story, the authors have spoken to and inspired thousands of students to be a hero to those who need it most. Buchanan and Lang are also guest speakers at local, state and national conferences where they discuss inspiring solutions to bullying along with the issue’s connection to academics and school climate. The pair also conducts writing/screenwriting workshops for middle and high school students.

The sequel to The Fat Boy Chronicles is underway while their next book, Treasure of the Four Lions, is completed. Buchanan is lead writer for the documentaries Spiral Bound and Nature Matters, feature-length films about the importance of the arts and nature, respectively.

Buchanan is a nationally recognized retired math and science teacher. His hobbies include diving in alligator-infested rivers searching for fossils and artifacts. His paintings are in galleries.



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Gail Lumet Buckley is the author of the national bestsellers American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and The Hornes: An American Family, which became a PBS “American Masters” documentary. She has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, New York Daily News, Washington Post, Vogue, Playboy, and People. Her most recent book is The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family.  Though born in Pittsburgh, PA, Gail has ties to Georgia as her mother, Lena Horne, spent her early childhood years growing up in Georgia.




Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of two thrillers, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls and The Weight of Lies (June 6). After graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, she moved to New York City. She’s worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for the CBS shows, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family. Visit Emily at emilycarpenterauthor.com and on Facebook and Twitter.  Please visit her website:  http://emilycarpenterauthor.com/press/



f12612_37ff363a0a354a20bc85e90ff3a683d3~mv2_d_2400_3000_s_4_2Sarah Creech is the author of two novels, Season of the Dragonflies and The Whole Way Home. Her short fiction and essays have appeared at various publications, including The Cortland Review, Writer’sDigest.com, StorySouth, and Literary Mama. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and children and teaches at Queens University of Charlotte.  Please visit her website: https://www.sarahcreech.org/





I, Phillippe Diedrich, am the son of exiles. I grew up without extended family and lived a rather nomadic life. Now that I’m settled in Florida with a wonderful and whacky blended family, I can finally look at my life from the outside in and try and make sense of things. I think that’s where my writing comes from. It’s a blend of nostalgia and curiosity.

My goal is to try and tell stories that matter in an entertaining way. I focus on my characters and the story they want to tell. I often find myself asking them, “What would you do?” It is they who lead me on a journey that I hope makes for a fun and entertaining read.

After working as a photojournalist for about 15 years, I turned to writing. My short stories have been published in a number of literary journals and have received four Pushcart nominations. The manuscript to my young adult novel “Finding Home at the End of the World won the 2017 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. I have also received a Florida Artist Fellowship in Literature from the State of Florida, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant.

I write mysteries and thrillers under the pen name: Danny Lopez. You can check out that website here:  http://www.dannylopezwrites.com/


Vince #1, 2010

For over 50 years, Vince Dooley has had an enduring impact on the University of Georgia, Southeastern Conference, and collegiate athletics across the country. Serving as head football coach at UGA from December, 1963, to Jan. 1, 1989, and as Director of Athletics from 1979-2004, he has been a man of great foresight in times of charting the future, stability in times of change, and vision in critical times that have shaped the path of college athletics.

His contributions to the University were recognized in 2008 with the dedication of the Vince Dooley Athletic Complex on Nov. 29, 2008. A special statue and garden commemorate his accomplishments along with the naming of all the south campus athletic facilities in his honor.

His contributions to coaching and athletics administration are significantly defined by his place as the only person ever to hold the presidency of both the American Football Coaches Association and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

Dooley’s 25 years as head football coach earned him the distinction as the most successful coach in Georgia history. He guided the Bulldogs to a career record of 201-77-10 becoming only the ninth coach in NCAA Division I history to win over 200 games. The Bulldogs won one national championship (1980) and six SEC Championships under his direction. He was named NCAA National Coach of the Year by every major poll in 1980 and by Chevrolet-WTBS in 1982. A former president of the American Football Coaches Association, Dooley was named SEC Coach of the Year seven times and NCAA District Coach of the Year on six occasions. Under his watch as athletic director (since 1979), Georgia teams won 23 national championships (ten in his final six years) including an unprecedented four during the 1998-99 year (women’s swimming, gymnastics, men’s tennis, men’s golf). During Dooley’s tenure Georgia athletic teams won 78 SEC team championships and numerous individual national titles in both men’s and women’s sports.

He has also authored several books including two editions of Dooley’s Dawgs (with Loran Smith), My 40 Years at Georgia (with Tony Barnhart), Dooley’s Playbook: The 34 Most Memorable Plays in Georgia Football History, Dooley’s Garden: A Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach, and History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia. Dooley has also written an article on the “two” great football teams on the Georgia campus in 1942 that was published in the Georgia Historical Quarterly in the Fall, 2014. He is currently co-writing a book on the Civil War.

In addition to his writings, he has also done hundreds of speaking engagements and appearances as well as consulting from 20010-15 with Kennesaw State University which began playing varsity football in the Fall of 2015. He is currently serving on two committees, The Georgia Historical Society as Vice-Chairman and the National Civil War Preservation Trust as chair of the Education committee.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Dooley is married to the former Barbara Meshad of Birmingham. They have four children: Deanna Dooley, Daniel (married to the former Suzanne Maher), Denise (Mrs. Jay Douglas Mitchell), and Derek (married to the former Allison Jeffers) who is currently an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys. The Dooleys also have eleven grandchildren: Patrick, Catherine and Christopher Cook; Michael and Matthew Dooley (Daniel and Suzanne); Ty, Joe and Cal Mitchell; and John Taylor, Peyton, and Julianna Elizabeth Dooley (Derek and Allison Dooley).



New York Times Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson is the author of seven novels and a novella: The Opposite of Everyone, Someone Else’s Love Story, gods in Alabama, Between, Georgia, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Backseat Saints, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and the novella My Own Miraculous. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages, won SIBA’s novel of the year, three times been a #1 Book Sense Pick, twice won Georgia Author of the Year, and three times been shortlisted for the Townsend prize.

A former actor, Jackson reads the audio versions of her novels; her work in this field has been nominated for the Audie Award, was selected by AudioFile Magazine for their best of the year list, has made the 2012 Audible All-Star list for highest listener ranks/reviews, and garnered three Listen Up Awards from Publisher’s Weekly. In 2012 Jackson began reading the audio versions of books written by other novelists, beginning with Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer.

She serves on the board of Reforming Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to providing theatre infused liberal arts education to women who are under carceral control in Georgia. Through their education-in-prison and reentry programs, Reforming Arts fosters the development of critical and creative thinking skills, encouraging students to build livable lives. Joshilyn volunteers inside Lee Arrendale State Prison, teaching creative writing courses and facilitating a new literary magazine/newsletter that the students are producing. You can find out how to help support this organization HERE.



Julia McDermott is the author of domestic psychological suspense novels DADDY’S GIRL and UNDERWATER, a Top 10 Kindle Bestseller. Her debut novel was French travel/young adult romance MAKE THAT DEUX, and in between the publication of her suspense novels she penned creative nonfiction ALL THE ABOVE: MY SON’S BATTLE WITH BRAIN CANCER, a Top 20 Kindle Bestseller and Finalist for Georgia Author of the Year Award (GAYA). Her suspense novels were GAYA Nominees, and UNDERWATER was also a Nominee for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award – Best Novel.

Julia is also the author of “Personal Journey” article Fear and Gratitude, published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution in its Sunday edition on July 10, 2016, about her book ALL THE ABOVE, and how her son’s battle with cancer changed her life, and his.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Julia grew up in Atlanta and is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she studied Economics and French. During her Tar Heel days, she spent a year in the south of France. After college, she headed back to Dallas, worked in a downtown bank and later for a software developer in Richardson, Texas. While working full time, she aced her MBA courses at the University of Dallas and North Texas State University, but chose to abandon her pursuit of that degree when (at five months pregnant) she learned she was carrying twins.

After their first birthday, she “retired,” had two more children, and moved across the country four times. As her family grew, Julia successfully avoided volunteer leadership roles, but found herself constantly being drafted to write articles, create newsletters, edit and proof essays, and update websites. Once her kids began to leave the nest, she attended a variety of writing workshops and seminars, joined a writers critique group, and launched a career as a multi-genre author.

A fluent French speaker, Julia belongs to the Atlanta Toulouse Sister Cities Committee, the Atlanta Women’s Chamber of Commerce, mystery writers organization Sisters in Crime, and the Atlanta Writers Club. Julia loves reading almost all kinds of fiction and nonfiction, watching football, most kinds of art, and all things French.

She is a strong supporter of the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, and CURE Childhood Cancer. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and family. Visit her Amazon Author Page here.


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Children’s author Dana Middleton is from Dahlonega and much of the inspiration for her books has come from her experiences living on the family farm there. After moving to Los Angeles, she produced an Academy Award-nominated short film and was the recipient of a Los Angeles Theatre Ovation Award. Her children’s books include The Infinity Year of Avalon James and Open If You Dare. She still lives in Southern California with her British husband, author Peter Atkins, but tries to come home to Dahlonega as often as possible!  Please visit her website:  http://www.danamiddletonbooks.com



Steve Oney is the author of a new collection of magazine articles — A Man’s World: Portraits. The book brings together 20 profiles of fighters, creators, actors, and desperadoes written over a 40-year period for such publications as Esquire, Premiere, Los Angeles, GQ, Time, and Playboy. It features the famous (Harrison Ford), the brilliant (Robert Penn Warren), the tortured (Gregg Allman), and the controversial (Andrew Breitbart). Oney is also the author of And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank, now in paperback from Vintage. The book won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award for best work on the nation’s legal system and the National Jewish Book Award for history. Early in his career Oney was a staff writer at The Atlanta Journal & Constitution Magazine. Later, he was a senior editor at Los Angeles magazine. His stories have been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing, 2006; The Best American Magazine Writing, 2008; and Innocent When You Dream, The Tom Waits Reader. Oney was educated at the University of Georgia and at Harvard, where he was a Nieman and a Shorenstein Fellow. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, designer Madeline Stuart. He is at work on a book about National Public Radio for Simon & Schuster.



Gin Phillips is the author of five novels. Her debut novel, The Well and the Mine, was the winner of the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Since then her work has been sold in 29 countries.

Born in Montgomery, Al., Gin graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in political journalism. She worked as a magazine writer for more than a decade, living in Ireland, New York, and Washington D.C., before eventually moving back to Alabama.  She currently lives in Birmingham with her family.  Please visit her website: https://ginphillips.com/media-room/


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Anna Schachner has published short fiction and nonfiction in many journals and magazines, including Puerto del Sol, Ontario Review, and The Sun, and she contributes nonfiction about books and literary culture to publications such as The Guardian and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is a frequent guest lecturer in Emory University’s creative writing program, speaks at writing conferences and book festivals all over the South, runs a series of writing workshops for veterans, and volunteers with Reforming Arts to teach writing in the Georgia prison system. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and now lives in Atlanta, where she is the editor of The Chattahoochee Review.


Not one to take the easy way out, the bulk of Jedwin Smith’s 57 major writing awards during his 36 years as a print journalist many times came at the expense of his flesh and blood, not to mention an occasional bit of embarrassment.

While digging for the heart of the story, it often meant he would get involved in them.

For instance, take his winning Florida’s 1974 top sports writing category for his boxing story “Requiem for a Paperweight.” Following in the footsteps of renowned sportswriter George Plimpton, Jedwin decided it would be a good idea to go three rounds in an exhibition bout against No. 1 light-heavyweight contender Mike Quarry. But that didn’t dissuade legendary boxing referee Mills Lane from having Jedwin author his memoir (Crown Publishing, 1998) Let’s Get It On!

Then there was Jedwin’s 1984 Pulitzer Prize nomination as a war correspondent for hiscoverage of the United States Marine Corps peace-keeping force in Beirut, Lebanon.

Everything was progressing normally until the Marble Tower Bar was blown up by a Hezbollah suicide bomber. Carrying broken and bleeding bodies from that burning building was no treat. Neither was taking a break from the carnage only to have a teenage terrorist suddenly step from out of the shadows and jam an AK-47 into his chest.

From battling malaria and evading Soviet and Ethiopian soldiers — and becoming a 1986 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his war coverage in East Africa — to flying a World War II fighter plane. From publicly comparing battle scars with the late-great motorcycle daredevil Evil Knievel to a near-death experience bringing Spanish gold, silver and emeralds to the surface from the fabled treasure galleon Atocha (check out his 2003 John Wiley & Sons high-seas Mel Fisher memoir Fatal Treasure).

Jedwin is a former Marine; twice joining the Corps. Yes, he’s patriotic — and willing to go to extreme lengths in search of the truth.  So much so, he didn’t think twice about traveling to Vietnam in 2001 with fellow Marines in search of the Viet Cong commander responsible for killing Jedwin’s younger brother Jeff in 1968 during the Vietnam War.  Check out his 2005 (Wiley & Sons) memoir Our Brother’s Keeper to see the gut-wrenching ending to this heart-breaking story of redemption and forgiveness that spans generations.


All of which makes for good if not nerve-wracking conversation. No wonder he’s made numerous TV guest appearances on The History Channel, National Geographic Explorer, The Travel Channel, and The Discovery Channel.

In his spare time, Jedwin likes to work with our nation’s combat veterans. In 2010 he worked with the Department of Defense in conjunction with Operation Homecoming — helping Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans write their wartime experiences.

Whether its spending a few hours with them over the chess board, or simply lending an ear of understanding, Jedwin’s available. Please visit his website:  http://jedwinsmith.com/



Christopher Swann is a graduate of Woodberry Forest School in Virginia. He earned a B.A. in English from Washington and Lee University, an M.A. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Ph.D. in creative writing from Georgia State University. He has won awards and recognition from GSU, Washington and Lee University, and the Heekin Group Foundation’s Tara Fellowship for Short Fiction. He lives with his wife and two sons in Atlanta, where he is the English department chair at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School. Shadow of the Lions is his debut novel.

Please visit his website:  https://christopherswann.com/about/