About LMU

The Mountain Heritage Literary Festival
June 12-14, 2015

2015 Staff


KEYNOTE SPEAKER. Lee Smith is the Appalachian region’s most well-known writer.  Her publications include Fair and Tender Ladies, On Agate Hill, and most recently, Guests of Earth.  In all, she has published 13 novels and four collections of short stories.  She is a recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award.


KEYNOTE MUSICIAN. Scott Miller was raised on a cattle farm in the Shenandoah Valley, where he recently returned after two decades in Knoxville, Tennessee,. He co-founded The Viceroys, eventually called The V-Roys, and later formed Scott Miller and the Commonwealth. His lyrics include in-depth and specific references to his home, family, history, geography, writers and Appalachia. Jack Neely in Knoxville‘s Metropulse said about Scott, “His songs are full of rural imagery; his trademark is the mule. And he has a degree in Russian lit from William & Mary. He is not much like anybody else we know of.”


FICTION CLASS LEADER. Michael Knight is the author of two novels, Divining Rod and The Typist; two collections of short fiction, Dogfight and Other Stories and Goodnight, Nobody; and a collection of novellas, The Holiday Season. His fiction has appeared in publications such as Esquire, The New Yorker and Oxford American. His novel The Typist was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s summer reading list and as the Oprah Winfrey Book of the Week. He teaches creative writing at the University of Tennessee.


FICTION CLASS LEADER. Jessie van Eerden is author of the novel Glorybound, winner of the 2012 ForeWord Reviews Editor’s Choice Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The Oxford American, Bellingham Review, The Literary Review, The River Teeth Reader and other journals and magazines. Her prose has also been included in Best American Spiritual Writing, Red Holler: An Anthology of Contemporary Appalachian Literature, and the forthcoming Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia. A four-time Pushcart nominee, Jessie received the Milton Fellowship from Image and Seattle Pacific University for work on her debut novel, and she received her MFA in nonfiction from the University of Iowa. She lives in West Virginia where she directs the low-residency MFA writing program at WV Wesleyan College.


NONFICTION CLASS LEADER. Sharon Hatfield is a graduate of Lincoln Memorial University. Hatfield was an award-winning newspaper reporter in Wise County, Virginia, and she coedited An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature. Her book Never Seen the Moon lucidly recreates Edith Maxwell’s wild ride through the American legal system in the 1930s and was the winner of the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Celebration of Appalachian Writing Award and the W. D. Weatherford Award for Non-fiction in Appalachian Studies.


POETRY CLASS LEADER. Jane Hicks is a teacher, poet and fiber artist from upper East Tennessee. The Jesse Stuart Foundation published her book Blood & Bone Remember in 2005, and it won the 2006 Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Appalachian Writers Association. Jane served as Sharyn McCrumb's NASCAR mentor for her novel St. Dale, and McCrumb‘s mythical Appalachian Trail hiker‘s hostel in The Songcatcher was inspired by Jane and her Tennessee home.  Her newest collection of poetry, Driving with the Dead, was published in 2014 by The University Press of Kentucky.


POETRY CLASS LEADER. Maurice Manning is one of the most acclaimed contemporary American poets. His books include The Common Man, Bucolics, A Companion for Owls, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, and, most recently, The Gone and Going Away. A winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize, Manning teaches in the MFA in Writing program at Warren Wilson University and at Transylvania University. A native of Danville, Kentucky, he lives in Washington County, Kentucky.


JAMES STILL LECTURER. Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of five novels, three plays, and one work of creative nonfiction.  He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and is a former commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered."  House has been published in Oxford American, Sojourners, Newsday, New Stories From the South: The Year's Best, Best American Food Writing, and many other publications.  His many honors include the E.B. White Award, the Nautilus Award, the Intellectual Freedom Prize from the National Council of English Teachers, the Helen Lewis Award for Community Service, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Lee Smith Award, Appalachian Writer of the Year, the Kentucky Novel of the Year, and many others.  House is the founder of the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival and currently serves as the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College and on the fiction faculty at the Spalding University MFA in Creative Writing. A native of Eastern Kentucky, he lives in Berea, Kentucky. 


WRITER IN RESIDENCE. Donald Ray Pollock grew up in Knockemstiff, Ohio.  After stints in a meatpacking plant and a shoe factory, he worked for 32 years in a paper mill. His works include Knockemstiff, a collection of stories, and The Devil All the Time, a novel, both of which have been translated widely.  In recognition of his fiction, he had received the PEN/Robert Bingham Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship.


CO-DIRECTOR.  Darnell Arnoult’s Darnell Arnoult’s first book, What Travels With Us: Poems, was published in 2005. The collection received the 2005 Weatherford Award, was named 2006 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Poetry Book of the Year and was a finalist for Appalachian Poetry Book of the Year in 2005. A novel, Sufficient Grace, followed in 2006. Sufficient Grace received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and positive reviews from Book List, Kirkus, American Library Association and National Association of the Mentally Ill. It was selected for the Book Sense annual reading group list and nominated for several regional awards.  Additionally, Arnoult was honored as Tennessee Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Writers Alliance in 2007 and was awarded the Mary Frances Hobson Prize in Arts and Letters from Chowan University in 2009. Arnoult was born in Martinsville, Virginia, and then lived and worked in North Carolina for 20 years before moving to Tennessee in 1999. She is now writer-in-residence at LMU, where she also serves as program coordinator for Arts in the Gap, and co-edits drafthorse: a literary journal of work and no work.  Arnoult holds the MA from North Carolina State University and the MFA from the University of Memphis.


CO-DIRECTOR. Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collection Crimes Against Birds and editor of Seeking Its Own Level, an anthology of writings about water.  He co-edits drafthorse: a literary journal of work and no work.  His fiction, poetry, essays and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in more than 60 magazines and journals including River Styx, Flyleaf, [PANK] and Fiction Southeast.  He serves as director of prospect research at Lincoln Memorial University and lives in Speedwell, Tennessee.

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