Literary festival brings diversity through literature – The Western Carolinian


Western Carolina University will host its 20and Annual Spring Literary Festival March 14-17 at the AK Hinds University Center Theater. Admission is free for all and masks are encouraged.

This festival presents writers from all over the world with diverse backgrounds. These published writers will be on campus to present their work to students and faculty, answer questions, speak in class, and engage in the WCU community. These emerging and established authors exhibit a variety of literary talents. Fiction, non-fiction and poetry will be presented at the festival, so there is something for everyone on campus.

This event reflects the University’s commitment to providing a humanities education to its students and bringing the arts to the mountains. By bringing together local and national writers, WCU promises its own writers that they will always have a deep connection to North Carolina’s rich literary history, no matter where they end up.

If you are interested in the festival and meeting award-winning writers, come show your support from March 14-17.

The literary festival also accepts volunteers. If you are interested in a Literary Festival volunteer position, please contact the Festival Directors at [email protected]

Guest writers:

  • Aimee Nezhukumatathil – author of the New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Wonders.
  • Deesha Philyaw – National Book Award finalist author, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.
  • Wiley Cash – author of the New York Times bestselling novel, A land kinder than home.
  • Ashley M. Jones – Poet Laureate of Alabama (2022-2026) and award-winning poet.
  • Torrey Peters – author of Detransition, Baby, nominated for the Women’s Prize in Fiction.
  • Rachel Yoder – author of Night slutshortlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction.
  • Eduardo C. Corral – author of Guillotine and winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition for slow lightning.
  • Kerry Howley – author of the New York Times Notable Book, thrown.
  • James Tate Hill – author of the New York Times Editor’s Choice memoir, Blind man’s Bluff.
  • Brian Brodeur – author of poetry collections Every hour is late, Natural Causes, and Other latitudes.
  • Steve Scafidi – author of Sparks from a nine pound hammer and award-winning poet.
  • Karen Salyer McElmurray – author of the award-winning AWP novel, Abandoned child: the journey of a biological mother.
  • Ed Southern – author of Fight Songs: a story of love and sport in a complicated South and executive director of the North Carolina Writer’s Network.
  • Meagan Lucas – author of the award-winning novel, Songbirds and stray dogs.
  • Jayne Zanglein – author of The Explorer Girls and a longtime WCU professor.

Holiday schedule:

Monday March 14

12:00 p.m. – Poets Gilbert-Chappell

4:00 p.m. – Karen Salyer McElmurray and Meagan Lucas

7:00 p.m. – Ashley M. Jones

tuesday march 15

12:00 p.m. – Brian Brodeur and Steve Scafidi

4:00 p.m. – James Tate Hill and Ed Southern

7:00 p.m. – Deesha Philyaw

Wednesday March 16

12:00 p.m. – Creative Writing Contest Winners

4:00 p.m. – Rachel Yoder and Kerry Howley

7:00 p.m. – Wiley Cash

Thursday March 17

12:00 p.m. – Jayne Zanglein Celebration

4:00 p.m. – Eduardo Corral and Torrey Peters

7:00 p.m. – Aimee Nezhukumatathil


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