Our Featured Author lineup for the 2019 Dahlonega Literary Festival is under construction! Please scroll down to view their pictures and read their brief biographies. Please come back and visit this page from time to time to see the Featured Authors biographies and pictures as they are added.
Come see them as they participate in our programs (once our Schedule of Programs has been finalized please go to our “Schedule” page for complete Program Schedule).
Go to our “FA Books” page to see our Featured Authors book covers and plot summaries.
At the end of our Regional Writer biographies and pictures are the biographies of the 2019 Workshop Instructors, so please take a look at them. We will be offering four workshops this year: Screenwriting ; Promoting & Publicizing Your Writing ; Memoir ; and Poetry.
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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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Raymond L. Atkins is the author of four award-winning novels and his first creative non-fiction book South of the Etowah, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2017, Atkins was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Writers Association. He teaches English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Creative Writing at Reinhardt University. His newest novel is Set List. Set in the 1970s, fellow writer Michael Buffalo Smith summed it up as “A story of life, love, mortality, and music – a rock and roll dream.” Atkins earlier novels are: The Front Porch Prophets, Sorrow Wood, Camp Redemption and Sweetwater Blues.
He lives in Rome, Georgia. Learn more about him at raymondlatkins.com.
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2016 Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards
—Breach of Power
Winner of the 2013 Indie Excellence Award in Political Thrillers.
Finalist in the 2013 International Book Awards Thriller/Adventure category.
Finalist in the 2013 International Book Awards Thriller/Adventure & Mystery/Suspense categories.
—The Savannah Project
Finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards Thriller/Adventure category.
Second Place in the 2011 Reviewers Choice Awards Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Horror category.
Honorable Mention in the 2011 ForeWord Reviews Book-Of-The-Year Awards Thriller/Suspense category.
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Cliff Graubart was born ad raised in New York City and moved south in 1971. He is a graduate of Georgia State University. His short stories have appeared in several publications. He is author of a book, The Curious Vision of Sammy Levitt and Other Stories.
In the 70s, his The Old New York Bookstore became famous for book signing parties for Atlanta authors – beginning when Pat Conroy walked in the shop in 1973. Soon Terry Kay, Paul Hemphill, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Howell Raines and others held book signing here.
Cliff and his wife Cynthia reside in Atlanta and have two grown children.
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Cynthia Graubart is a food writer, acclaimed cookbook author, speaker, cooking teacher, and former cooking show television producer. Her eighth cookbook, Sunday Suppers (Oxmoor House 2017) was released in October 2017. Named a Georgia Grown Executive Chef for 2017, she shares her passion for her home state and its bountiful produce and products with her audiences across many platforms, including recipe development for the nationwide Atlanta-based meal kit service PeachDish. She and Nathalie Dupree wrote the best-selling (and James Beard Award winning) Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking (Gibbs-Smith 2012). She is a graduate of UGA (Grady College of Journalism), is married to Cliff Graubart, and both were close friends of Pat Conroy. Please visit her online at www.cynthiagraubart.com
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Anthony Grooms grew up in rural Virginia. His education at the College of William and Mary and George Mason University led him to a teaching career in Georgia, where since 1995, he has taught creative writing and literature at Kennesaw State University, and directs its M. A. in Professional Writing Program. He is the author of Ice Poems, Trouble No More: Stories and Bombingham, a novel. His stories and poems have been published in Callaloo, African American Review, Crab Orchard Review, and other literary journals and anthologies both in the US and abroad. Reviewing Bombingham for the Washington Post, critic Jabari Asim wrote, “In its insistence that ‘the world is a tumultuous place and every soul in it suffers,’ this powerful, resonant novel offers no consolations. Grooms offers consolation, however, in allowing us to be present at the emergence of a brave and promising talent.” Grooms is a Fulbright Fellow, a Yaddo Fellow, a Hurston-Wright Foundation Legacy Award finalist, an Arts Administration Fellow from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the recipient of two Lillian Smith Awards for Fiction. Both Trouble No More and Bombingham were selected as All Georgia Reads books. Adopted for study in colleges, Bombingham was the 2013 common book selection for Washington, D. C. The Vain Conversation, a novel, is scheduled to be published by Story River Books (USC Press) in February 2018. Author Ron Rash said of the novel, that it “vividly evokes the horrors of American racism, but Anthony Grooms never denies the humanity of his characters, whether black or white, young or old. His novel achieves what only the best literature can give us: it refuses too-easy consolations or too-easy condemnations. When we finish the last page, the book is not finished with us. It will haunt us.” Currently, Grooms is finishing novels about Black Americans in Sweden and school desegregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Grooms lives in Atlanta with his wife and son. For more information about Anthony Grooms, go to www.AnthonyGrooms.com.
Phil Hudgins and Jessica Phillips have teamed up to co-author Travels With Foxfire: Stories of People, Passions, and Practices from Southern Appalachia.
Phil Hudgins worked as a reporter, editor, and publisher at several newspapers for more than fifty years, retiring as senior editor or Community Newspapers Inc. where he coached writers in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. He was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard University in 1974 where he studied folklore. Phil served on the Foxfire community board when he worked in Rabun County, Georgia. He is a native of Hall County, Georgia and he and wife Shirley have retired there.
Terry Kay is a 2006 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, and a 2009 recipient of the Governor’s Award in the Humanities. He has been further honored in 2015 by the Atlanta Writers Club’s designation of its annual fiction award as The Terry Kay Prize for Fiction.
A native of Hart County in northeast Georgia, Kay has been a sports writer and film/theater critic (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), a public relations executive and a corporate officer. He is the author of seventeen published books, including the 2014 release of Song of the Vagabond Bird.
His other works include The Seventh Mirror, The Greats of Cuttercane, Bogmeadow’s Wish, The Book of Marie, To Dance With the White Dog, The Valley of Light, Taking Lottie Home, The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene, Shadow Song, The Runaway, Dark Thirty, After Eli, The Year the Lights Came On, To Whom the Angel Spoke, as well as a book of essays, Special K: The Wisdom of Terry Kay.
Three of his novels have been produced as Hallmark Hall of Fame movies –To Dance With the White Dog, The Runaway and The Valley of Light. Additionally, a Japanese film based on To Dance With the White Dog was produced, and a stage version of the book was presented in Japan in 2016.
His books have been published in more than twenty foreign languages, with To Dance With the White Dog selling two million copies in Japan.
An essayist and regional Emmy-winning screenwriter as well as a novelist, Kay’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies.
LaGrange College and Mercer University have recognized his work with honorary doctorate degrees.
In 2011, Kay was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Writers Association. He has received the Georgia Author of the Year award four times and in 2004 was presented with the Townsend Prize, considered the state’s top literary award. In October, 2006, he received the prestigious Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. In March of 2007, he was presented the Brooke Baker Award from Dunwoody Library honoring his career as a writer.
Also in 2007, Kay was presented the Stanley W. Lindberg Award, named for the late editor of The Georgia Review and considered one of the state’s most prestigious literary honors, given for an individual’s significant contribution to the preservation and celebration of Georgia’s literary heritage.
Kay and his wife now reside in Athens, GA.
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Jessica Khoury wrote her first book at age 4, a fan fic sequel to Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur, which she scribbled on notebook paper, stapled together, and placed on the bookshelf of her preschool classroom. Since that day, she’s dreamed of being an author.
When not writing, Jess enjoys spending time with family, playing video games, and spending obscene amounts of time on Pinterest. She is very passionate about orcas, Spanish soccer, and choosing the perfect font.
Jess currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina. She is the author of Origin, Vitro, Kalahari, and The Forbidden Wish. Visit Jessica at http://www.jessicakhoury.com.
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Nayomi Munaweera’s debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was long-listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize and the Dublin IMPAC Prize. It was short-listed for the DSC Prize and the Northern California Book Prize. It won the Commonwealth Regional Prize and a Godage Prize from its home country. It was a Target Book Club selection. Munaweera’s second novel, What Lies Between Us, a book about a Sri Lanka-American, was hailed as one of the most exciting literary releases of 2016 from venues ranging from Buzzfeed to Elle magazine. It won the Sri Lankan National Book Award for best English novel and the Godage Award for Best English Novel. Munaweera is the writer-in-residence at the University of North Georgia for Spring 2019 semester.
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Stacia Brown Pelletier is the author of Accidents of Providence and The Half Wives, both of which were shortlisted for the Townsend Prize in Fiction. She earned graduate degrees in religion and historical theology from Emory University. She has been a Woodruff Fellow, a W.M. Keck Foundation Fellow, and a two-time fellow of the Hambidge Center. She works at Emory University in Atlanta.
Learn more at staciapelletier.com.
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D.J. Steele grew up as an Air Force brat. Born in the Philippines, she went to ten schools by the time she graduated high school, living in Germany, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Florida, Texas, Montana, and Mississippi. After earning a degree in Forestry from the University of Georgia, she became one of the first female foresters hired in the private sector timber industry, where she worked for over twenty years. Prior to writing her own thriller, Declared Dead, she edited five books for her husband Chuck Barrett, also a thriller writer. D.J. Steele loves to laugh, to listen to classic rock, and most of all, loves her husband and children (all five of them). She and Barrett now live in Fort Collins, Colorado. They hike as much as possible and folks in Colorado tell them they have southern accents.
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Rebecca Wells’ 1996 novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, about mothers and daughters, female friendships, alcoholism, and spirituality, was on the #1 NY Times Bestseller list for over a year, won the American Booksellers Award, and was short-listed for the Orange Prize. It has been translated into 28 languages, has sold over 6 million copies, and is one of the most beloved novels about women written in the 20th century. The book launched a host of “Ya-Ya” clubs worldwide and was made into a feature film starring Sandra Bullock and Ellen Burstyn in 2002. Wells’ other novels include Little Altars Everywhere (winner of the Western States Book Award) and Ya-Yas in Bloom. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder introduced an entirely new set of characters from the magical Louisiana town of Le Clair. Born on a cotton farm in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, Wells comes from a culture where story telling is as essential and as rich as gumbo. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rebecca studied Tibetan Buddhism and creative writing at the Naropa Institute. She studied acting in New York City, and performed off Broadway. She has been a guest artist, teaching writing and acting at several universities. After almost forty years away, Rebecca has returned to the South and currently lives in Nashville, TN. She continues to tour her new one-woman show “An Evening with Rebecca Wells and the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”, and is writing her first memoir. An accomplished actress and playwright, Rebecca has toured her one-woman show Splittin’ Hairs throughout the country. In her play Gloria Duplex, called “one of the glories of the decade” by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Rebecca developed and performed the title role of an erotic dancer in the French Quarter who sees the face of God in the mirror ball above her dance floor. Wells comments, “I was sprung from the jail of Southern Ladyhood with the help of Janis Joplin, Yellowstone National Park, and Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
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Here are the pictures and biographies of the instructors who will be conducting the workshops we will have as part of the 2019 Dahlonega Literary Festival. We will be offering four workshops this year: Screenwriting ; Promoting & Publicizing Your Writing ; Memoir ; and Poetry. We hope that you will attend and find them useful.
MIKE BUCHANAN will be conducting our Screenwriting Workshop.
Author and screenwriter Michael Buchanan, was first an educator. He tuaghtg high school and college math for thirty-one years, and was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2000.
In 2010, he co-authored (with Diane Lang), The Fat Boy Chronicles, which won the 2010 Mom’s Choice Gold Award, National Parenting Publications Gold Award for Teens, and NY Champions of Character Award. The writing team also wrote the screenplay for the feature film adapted from the book. Schools use this book nationally, and millions around the world have seen the movie. Michael co-authored the books Under the Gumbo Limbo Tree and Stealing First – The Teddy Kremer Story. He was the screenwriter for acclaimed shorts Last Bullet and Boxes, and writer for the feature documentaries Spiral Bound and Unplugged.
Among many other acclaims, he has been a speaker at state and national conferences for teachers and is often a film festival judge. He teaches screenwriting classes and give talks around the nation on writing and continues to work new novels and screenplays.
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VICTORIA COMELLA will be conduction our Promoting & Publicizing Your Writing Workshop.
Comella worked in book publishing in New York for over ten years, including time at Penguin Group’s G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Riverhead Books, and at HarperCollins Publishers. She successfully developed and oversaw multi-platform publicity and marketing strategies that solidify brand images and result in high sales volume.
Authors she worked with include: Daniel Silva, Ken Follett, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, Khaled Hosseini, Nick Hornby, Sarah Vowell, Julie Klam, Kim Severson, and Plum Sykes. Celebrity personalities, politicians, and thought leaders she’s worked with include Goldie Hawn, Senator Harry Reid, Secretary James A. Baker III, Dave Asprey , Trish McEvoy, David A. Kessler, Jonathan Rose, Amelia Freer, Scott McGillivray, Donna Hay, Chuck Hughes and Andrea Martin.
Comella’s own work has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Longreads, Salon, Slate, Bustle, Medium, LitHub, Huffington Post, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn to name a few. Currently, she handles Media Relations for Emory University and teaches at the Decatur (GA) Writers Studio.
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CAROL CRAWFORD will be conducting our Memoir Workshop.
Crawford has been teaching writing and helping writers meet their goals for over twenty years. Her mission is not to change your writing, but to make it the best it can be. She has been published in a variety of journals and reviews including the “Southern Humanities Review”, the “Concho River Review,” the “Journal of Kentucky Studies”, and others.
She graduated from Baylor University as a journalism and English major and has worked in public relations, adult education, and non profit agencies, helping them produce newsletters and other communication tools to get their message to the public.
Since its inception in 1996, she has served as Program Coordinator for the annual Blue Ridge (GA) Writers’ Conference and she teaches writing courses at the John Campbell Folk School.
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BILL WALSH will be conducting our Poetry Workshop.
Bill Walsh is the director of the Etowah Valey Writing Program at Reinhardt University in Waleska Georgia and a southern narrative poet in the tradition of James Dickey, David Bottoms, and Fred Chappell.
In 2017, he won the Cervana Barva poetry prize and the Červená Barva Press has published his winning manuscript, “Fly Fishing in Times Square.” “I am grateful and humbled by this award because I know how difficult it is to win,” Walsh said. “Any of the five finalists could have won. However, winning validates all the hard work and sacrifice we make as artists.” His work has appeared in several other publications.
Walsh finds inspiration in his past as he looks back to his childhood, as well as to subjects that are relatable to today’s world. Much of his childhood and interactions with family members serve as a metaphor for his life now which appears in his writing. Walsh said. “As Marion Montgomery told me years ago, each of us must sort through our inheritance. He didn’t mean money. So, I am always sorting through my inheritance, and in doing so, discovering the truth about the world.”
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