Lincoln Memorial University

Mountain Heritage Literary Festival

Darnell Arnoult

Dear Friends and Writers,

It’s time for the 2019 Annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, our 14th festival at Lincoln Memorial University. We look forward each third weekend of June to renew old friendships and make new ones as we celebrate writing and build a stronger writing community.

MHLF orginated with Silas House, former LMU Writer-in-Residence, who wanted to extend the nurturing community of Appalachian Writrs Workshop at the Hindman Settlement School, and we thank Silas and Denton Loving, who then worked for LMU Office of Advancement, for setting this wonderful annual event in motion.  

As always, we have a packed schedule for you this year.  We welcome back the amazing Joseph Bathanti, who will be our keynote speaker as well as a poetry master class leader. Joseph has a list of awards a mile long, but more than that, he is an excellent teacher and friend to the festival and one of the best guys I know. Georgann Eubanks will give the James Still Lecture as well as present a special session on writing a nonfiction book proposal.  Our other master class instructor in poetry is Dana Wildsmith. Fiction instructors are Abigail DeWitt and Charles Dodd White. Our creative nonfiction master class leader is Jim Minick. We are also welcoming back Doug and Telisha Williams for a master class in songwriting, and Rod Picott will be our singer-songwriter in concert. Rod also has a first collection of short stories coming out just before the festival, so we'll also hear from that new work  during the festival.  Rosemary Royston will teach a session on poetry and compression, and Sharon Hatfield will teach a session on researching your story.   That is just the beginning! 

We have lots more lined up to help you get your juices flowing and offer you a venue to respond to writers and their work.  And of course, we hope to hear from many of you during the open mic event, led by Larry Thacker, who will share work from two new books during the festival.

For those of you staying for Gap Creek Writers Studio, we are delighted to have returning GCWS writer-in-residence Sonja Livingston, who is an award-winning author of both poetry and prose.  I  have several wonderful writers in the wings if we have enough enrollment for two sharing groups at studio. 

Once again, registration will take place through Eventbrite.  This year if you are attending either the MHLF or both MHLF and the Gap Creek Writers Studio, go to the MHLF Eventbrite page. For both events use the MHLF/GCWS Combo and save $50.  If you are planning just to attend the Gap Creek Writers Studio, there is an Eventbrite page for that weeklong studio with late afternoon sharing sessions. The studio begins immediately following the festival, June 16-21.  This year we've included an option for those of you who are staying off campus. Anyone using oncampus housing for the festival and/or the studio will be staying in Lafrentz-Poole residence hall and all meals will be provided in the LMU Dining Hall.  

As you know, the festival is sandwiched between two other excellent writing events. Playwright Intensive with Lisa Soland will be June 8-15, with dramatic readings on Thursday night. And this year, Poet Boot Camp with Aaron Smith will take place the week immediately following the festival. 

Registration for MHLF is now open as is registartion for these other excellent writing events. Simply click on the name of the event above and you'll go directly to that Eventbrite registration page.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about our festival or studio please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or try my cell number, 615.715.3956. My voicemail fills up quickly, so you might want to email or text me.

If you have questions about Playwright Intensive or Poet Boot Camp, contact Tiffany Sanchez at [email protected].  

We hope to see you in Harrogate this June!

All my very best to you,

Darnell Arnoult, Writer-in-Residence


Lincoln Memorial University
Department of Literature and Languages
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752

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423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752