Western Carolina University – Annual Spring Literary Festival Returns to WCU Campus with Live Events


After two years of online celebration, Western Carolina University’s Spring Literary Festival returns to campus March 14-17 for a series of live events.

The 20th Annual Gathering of Poets and Authors is free and open to the public, with all events taking place in the theater at Hinds University Center. Led by Jeremy Jones, Associate Professor of English, the festival has a long tradition of bringing established and emerging literary talent to the community.

“Lit Fest brings the literary world – in all its diversity – to the western North Carolina region and we’re excited to do it in person again this year,” Jones said. “A lot of the magic happens in casual conversations around readings and online for book signings, so we’re looking forward to having readers and writers in the same space in March to create that magic. To keep everyone as safe as possible, WCU will continue to follow campus pandemic protocols, with face coverings optional outdoors but required in public spaces indoors.

The 2022 program:

Monday March 14

  • Noon – Poets Gilbert-Chappell
  • 4:00 p.m. – Karen Salyer McElmurray, author of “Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey” and the novels “Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven”, “The Motel of the Stars” and “Wanting Radiance”, and Meagan Lucas, author of the award-winning novel “Songbirds and Stray Dogs”
  • 7:00 p.m. – Ashley M. Jones, Alabama Poet Laureate and author of “Magic City Gospel” and “REPAIRS NOW!”

Deesha Philyaw

tuesday march 15

  • Noon – Brian Brodeur, author of “Every Hour Is Late” and Steve Scafidi, author of “Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer”, “For Love of Common Words”, “The Cabinetmaker’s Window” and “To the Bramble and the Briar ”
  • 4:00 p.m. – James Tate Hill, author of New York Times Editors’ Pick memoir “Blind Man’s Bluff” and Ed Southern, author of “Fight Songs: A Story of Love & Sports in a Complicated South”
  • 7 p.m. — Deesha Philyaw, whose short story collection, “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies,” won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Prize for Fiction

Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash

Wednesday March 16

  • Noon – Winners of the Undergraduate and Graduate Student Creative Writing Competitions
  • 4:00 p.m. – Rachel Yoder, author of “Nightbitch” and founding editor of draft: the journal of process, and Kerry Howley, author of “Thrown,” a remarkable New York Times book
  • 7 p.m. — Wiley Cash, author of “When Ghosts Come Home” and New York Times bestseller “A Land More Kind Than Home,” and former author-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Asheville

Thursday March 17

  • Noon – Jayne Zanglein, WCU Professor Emeritus and author of “The Girl Explorers: The Untold Story of the Globetrotting Women Who Trekked, Flyw and Fought Their Way Around the World”
  • 4:00 p.m. – Eduardo Corral, author of “Guillotine” and “Slow Lightning”, and Torrey Peters, author of the best-selling novel “Detransition, Baby” and the novels “Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones” and “The Masker”
  • 7 p.m. – Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of “World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks & Other Astonishments,” which was named Barnes and Nobles’ Book of the Year 2020, and four award-winning books of poetry.

For more information, visit litfestival.org or contact the WCU English Department at 828-227-7264.

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