BOONE, N.C. — Interested in gaining different perspectives on the Appalachian region and its culture? This season’s speakers for the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series shake up stereotypes and offer fresh looks at mountaineer mores.
The Appalachian State University series returns to in-person events for the fall 2021 semester, with four acclaimed Appalachian authors speaking on campus.
Each author will read from and discuss their work as well as lead a talk on the craft of writing. Writers can learn how to refine techniques, develop sounder work habits and gain a greater appreciation of the writing process.
The visiting authors, in order of appearance:
- Fiction author Leah Hampton
- Fiction writer Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
- Poet Matthew Wimberley
- Poet Jacinta White
“What thrills me about the writers we are bringing to campus this fall are the ways in which all four are expanding and exploring the complexities of being both Appalachian and Southern, tossing aside tropes and stereotypes to dig into the nuances of the region,” said Mark Powell, author, associate professor of creative writing and director of both the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series and App State’s creative writing program.
Admission to all events is free and open to the public. Book sales and signings will follow the talks and the readings.
About the authors
Fiction author Leah Hampton
Hampton writes about Appalachia, corpses, ecoanxiety and smart women. Her debut collection, “F*ckface and Other Stories,” released by Henry Holt, was named one of the best books of 2020 by The Paris Review, the New York Public Library, Slate and others.
As part of the fall 2021 visiting writers series, Hampton will give a craft talk titled “Why Do the Work? How field research and disciplined craft enhance your fiction and reading.”
A graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, she has been awarded multiple prizes and fellowships, including UT-Austin’s Keene Prize for Literature and the Phillip Roth residency at the Stadler Center for Poetry.
Her work has appeared in Ecotone, Guernica, McSweeneys, Electric Literature, storySouth, LitHub, and many other journals. Hampton lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Fiction writer Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
Phillips’ debut collection, “Sleepovers” — described by The New Yorker as “elegant and mesmerizing” and “brimming with dark and romantic details” — won the 2019 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize and was longlisted for The Story Prize. It is forthcoming in Italian in 2022.
Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The Oxford American and other literary journals and magazines. Her essays have appeared in Our State and Lit Hub.
Phillips teaches fiction in West Virginia Wesleyan College’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts program and is an editor for Joyland Magazine. She is a graduate of Meredith College and earned her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is originally from rural Woodland.
Poet Matthew Wimberley
Wimberley, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the author of two poetry collections — “All the Great Territories” and “Daniel Boone’s Window.” The first won the 2018 Crab Orchard Poetry Series First Book Award as well as the 2020 Weatherford Award in poetry, and the second was selected by Dave Smith for the Southern Messenger Poets series.
He will deliver a craft talk titled “Speaking with the Dead: Elegies and Silence” as part of App State’s fall 2021 visiting writers series.
His chapbook, “Snake Mountain Almanac,” was selected by Eduardo C. Corral as the winner of the Rayne Arroyo Chapbook Contest from Seven Kitchens Press. A chapbook is a short (10–30 poems) collection of poems with a unifying principle, theme, question, or experience.
His work was selected by Mary Szybist for the 2016 Best New Poets Anthology and his writing has appeared most recently in the Poem-a-Day series from the Academy of American Poets, Blackbird and Threepenny Review.
Wimberley received his MFA from New York University, where he worked with children at St. Mary’s Hospital as a Starworks Fellow. He is an assistant professor of English at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk and serves as the 2021–22 Rachel Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at App State.
Poet Jacinta White
White, the author of “Resurrecting the Bones: Born from a Journey Through African American Churches & Cemeteries in the Rural South,” attributes poetry to being her lifeline, and began seriously writing after the sudden passing of her father in 1996. She is also the author of the chapbook, “Broken Ritual.”
In 2001, White found the company The Word Project, which uses poetry and art to provide a space for self-discovery and healing. The Word Project is the parent company for the international, online quarterly Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing.
She lives in Winston-Salem, where she received the city’s 2020 Outstanding Women Leaders Award. She is a member of the Board of Trustees, Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and of the Advisory Board of the Salem College’s Center for Women Writers, and is a North Carolina Arts Council Teaching Artist.
More on the series
Books by the visiting authors are available for purchase through the University Bookstore. The university’s Belk Library and Information Commons has created a Fall 2021 Visiting Writers Series guide that provides information about each author and shows which of the authors’ books are available through the library.
Fall 2021 schedule
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About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.