About Us


440 Bartow Avenue, Kennesaw, GA 30144


Margaret Walters, Executive Director
Before joining up with the Georgia Writers Association, Margaret received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University and, in 1997, began teaching at Kennesaw State University, where she  teaches both undergraduate English and writing classes and graduate writing classes. She has published a biography titled A.L. Burruss: The Life of a Georgia Politician and a Man to Trust. She has also had numerous articles published on topics such as professional writing and research. If you have comments or questions, please contact her at


Board of Directors

Chris Ward, Board President
Kennesaw State Webmaster, Christopher Ward, joined KSU in April 2002. As webmaster he designs and maintains the top levels of as well as multiple academic and administrative department sites. Chris graduated in 1995 with a B.S. in Political Science and in 2011 with a Master of Arts in Professional Writing. Chris has published three books of poetry, Seventeen DaysRico, and Man Poems: From Beers and Gears to Grills and Girls. When not writing or working, he enjoys watching sports, playing video games, and obsession over the minutiae of the Star Wars universe.

JoAnn Loverde-Dropp, Board Secretary
JoAnn LoVerde-Dropp is a full-time instructor at Southern Polytechnic State University. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and her B.S. in English from SUNY Brockport. JoAnn’s poetry has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine and in “Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Short Poems” from Accents publishing and is the newest contributor at Poetry Matters.

Ray Atkins
Raymond L. Atkins resides in Rome, Georgia, where he is an instructor of English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. A two-time Georgia Author of the Year Award winner, Atkins’s third novel, Camp Redemption (2013), was awarded the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction by Mercer University Press and the Georgia Author of the Year Finalist Award in Literary Fiction in 2015.

Candi Deal
After a career in elementary ed and a stint directing a private preschool, Candi Deal enrolled in a MAPW program to pursue her love of writing. She currently teaches first year composition at Kennesaw State University as a TA. She writes mostly creative nonfiction and has published articles in consumer magazines such as Working Mother, Georgia Backroads, 1,001 Home Ideas, Vibrant Lift, North State Parent, Reflections, Baby Talk, Home Life, Living with Children, Marriage & Family, and Mothers Today. Chicken Soup for the Soul recently bought one of her sappy stories. She has written curriculum and designed thematic units of study for various educational publications.

Anne R. Richards
Anne R. Richards is Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University, where she teaches professional communication and gender studies and is active in the university’s peace studies minor. In 2008, she and co-editor Carol David published the anthology Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication (Parlor Press). Dr. Richards has published three articles on alternative rhetorics in Technical Communication Quarterly; the most recent article concerns the rhetoric of sound in new media. With Adrienne Lamberti, she is about to publish Complex Worlds:  Digital Culture, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication, for Baywood’s Technical Communication Series.  With Iraj Omidvar, she is editing Muslims in American Popular Culture, a collection forthcoming with Praeger. She and Omidvar are also completing, for Syracuse University Press, a collection of travel writing by Easterners who have visited the West. In 2006-2007, Richards and Omidvar served as Fulbright Teaching Fellows in Tunisia.

Ann Hite
Ann Hite‘s debut novel Ghost On Black Mountain was a Townsend Prize Finalist and winner for First Novel, Georgia Author of the Year in 2012. Her personal essays and short stories have been published in numerous national anthologies. The Storycatcher, her second Black Mountain novel, will be released by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster on September 10th. Lowcountry Spirit, an eBook novella, will be available from Pocket Star, also an imprint of Simon & Schuster, on August 13th. Ann is an admitted book junkie with a library of over a thousand books. She lives in Smyrna, Georgia, with her husband and daughter, where she allows her Appalachian characters to dictate their stories.

Katie Marvel
Katie is the previous administrator of the Georgia Writers Association, who stepped down in order to spend more time with her baby boy. She graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in professional writing.

Iraj Omidvar
Iraj Omidvar is an associate professor of English and director of the University Honors Program at Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Georgia. Iraj has lived in Iran, Germany, and the United States. In spring 2007, he was a Fulbright Fellow in Tunisia. Among his publications are Muslims and American Popular Culture (Praeger, February 2014) and Historic Engagements with Occidental Cultures, Religions, Powers (Palgrave MacMillan, October 2014), both of which he edited with Anne Richards. Modern Iranian poems he translated with his father, Parviz Omidvar, have appeared in several literary journals in the United States and abroad. Iraj and his father are currently working on Parviz’s memoir.

Carol Roddenberry

Nancy Stephan
Nancy enjoys writing both poetry and prose. Her work has been published online and in print. Her first book, The Truth About Butterflies, was published in June 2011 in both paperback and Kindle eBook and was the winner for Memoir, Georgia Author of the Year in 2012.  Nancy has earned a B.S. in Speech Communication, M.A. in Professional Writing with concentrations in poetry and applied writing, and holds graduate certification in Ethics. She graduated Cum Laude from Kennesaw State University and was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, the Golden Key International Honor Society, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Nancy was born in Gary, Indiana, and currently resides in Atlanta.

Paul Wakeman
Paul Wakeman earned his doctorate of English at Marquette University and teaches at Southern Polytechnic State University. He is currently editing Dr. William Sessions’ upcoming book Stalking Joy: Flannery O’Connor, Her Life and Her Times. His own research examines the imagination as a source of luminous intelligence, especially as this idea relates to O’Connor’s works.

Jerry Watts
Jerald L. Watts, M. D. was born in Atlanta, and attended mostly Atlanta schools. He spent one year as a page in U. S. Congress, and he attended college at Tulane University then Emory School of Medicine. He interned and completed a year of general surgery, then served in the USAF as a Flight Surgeon. After his service, he returned to Atlanta for an Orthopaedic Surgery residency at Emory/Grady Hospitals and obtained a Law Degree (J.D.) in 1987. Jerry Wrote two books, Promises Kept (GWA Nominee in 2010) and Military Medicine and Cold War in 2014. Before final publication, he withdrew his book for revision and it is now available in ebook. He has served on the GWA Board for five years, and resides with my companion, Ellen Ulken, in Peachtree City since moving from New Orleans, Louisiana after Katrina. Jerry has three children and seven grandchildren.

Renea Winchester
Renea Winchester is an award-winning author who leads writing workshops in North Carolina and Georgia. She is a member of the Appalachian Writers Association, Atlanta Writers Club, Georgia Writers Association, and the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Renea is passionate about literacy and a fierce supporter of libraries. There were no bookstores in her home town, which is why she purposes to help Independent Bookstores survive during this electronic age. She supports the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), and encourages booksellers throughout the South to join this group. She has a longstanding reputation for helping emerging authors and has judged many writing contests, including the Georgia Author of the Year Award. She offers individual critique sessions, editing services, and blurbs. Renea edits manuscripts up to 80,000 words. She does not read graphic content, erotica, science fiction, or young adult novels. Southern Fiction preferred. Email her for pricing.

The Georgia Writers Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is dedicated to encouraging and promoting writers throughout Georgia. Monthly writers workshops offer writers the opportunity to hear from successful, published writers and learn from their experiences. Our publication, The Georgia Authority, contains information about current writers events around Georgia, and includes articles designed to educate, encourage, or entertain our readership. The GWA hosts two annual events, the Georgia Author of the Year Awards and the Red Clay Writers Conference.