The Georgia Writers Association (GWA) 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. The GWA hosts two annual events, the Georgia Author of the Year Awards and the Red Clay Writers Conference.



440 Bartow Avenue, Kennesaw, GA 30144



Jenny Sadre-Orafai, Executive Director

Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of Paper, Cotton, Leather and Malak. Her poetry has appeared in Cream City Review, Ninth Letter, The Cortland Review, Hotel Amerika, The Pinch, and other journals. Her prose has appeared in Los Angeles Review, The Rumpus, South Loop Review, Fourteen Hills, The Collagist, and other journals. She is co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterlyand an Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.

Jessica Wilson, Administrator

In 2009, Jessica Wilson received her Master of Arts in Professional Writing at Kennesaw State University. She was awarded the Robert Hill Award for Graduate Writing from Kennesaw State University in 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of South Carolina Upstate and also attended Furman University as an undergraduate. She is currently working on revisions of her first novel when not listening to the great imaginings of her young daughter or the endless barking of her rescue dog. Please direct any questions about GAYA, Red Clay Writers Conference, or the Georgia Writers Association in general to administrator@georgiawriters.org


JoAnn LoVerde-Dropp, President 

JoAnn LoVerde-Dropp is a Lecturer at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.  She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and her poetry has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine, Public.Republic.net, and Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Short Poems. She serves as President on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Writers Association and facilitates GWA’s poetry writing workshops. JoAnn is a regular contributor for the poetry blog, Poetry Matters http://readwritepoetry.blogspot.com/

Valerie Smith, Secretary  

Valerie Smith is a poet and creative nonfiction writer currently completing the Master of Arts in Professional Writing program at Kennesaw State University. Her poems have appeared in South85 JournalBlazeVOX15, and Exit 271: Your Georgia Writers Resource. She is currently preparing for May 2018 graduation with a book-length poetry manuscript tentatively titled, Imprimatur.

Lora Mirza

After growing up in the seaside town of Marblehead, Massachusetts, Lora Mirza graduated from Brown University, worked for Doubleday, met her future husband on the steps of the New York Public Library, and married Usman in Pakistan. They have two sons. Lora holds master’s degrees in library science and in teaching English. She served as children’s librarian at the Chicago Public Library, and, in Atlanta, worked for Georgia Perimeter College, now part of Georgia State University, from 1989, retiring as professor, library services, and associate director of the Dunwoody Campus Library in July 2016. Lora Mirza and historian Paul Hudson have collaborated on articles for the Georgia Historical Quarterly and the New Georgia Encyclopedia. Their book Atlanta’s Stone Mountain: A Multicultural History (Charleston: History Press, 2011), received the 2012 Lilla M. Hawes Award for best local Georgia history book published the previous year.

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.

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.

Raymond Atkins 

Raymond L. Atkins resides in Rome, Georgia, where he is an instructor of English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Author of four novels, his first, Front Porch Prophet, won the 2008 Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel. His third novel, Camp Redemption, was awarded the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction and the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Fiction. In 2017 he received the Georgia Author of the Year Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

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.

Komal Mathew

Komal Mathew received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Institute of Technology. Her work has appeared in The New RepublicThe Southern ReviewAtlanta Review, Third Coast, NarrativePrairie Schooner, and others. Her poetry collection, Dressing for Diwali, has also been a finalist for the National Poetry Series Open Competition, the Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award, and a semifinalist for the Alice James Books’ Beatrice Hawley Award. She is the co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterly and the editor of Three Revisions.

Cheryl Stiles 

Poet, essayist, and librarian Cheryl Stiles has published more than one hundred works in journals such as Poet Lore, Atlanta Review, Southern Women’s Review, SLANT, POEM, 32 Poems, and Storysouth. Her poetry has been included in several anthologies: Sincerely Elvis, a collection of original poems about Elvis Presley, Modern Grimmoire, and The World is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins. Her poem “No Anointing” received a Pushcart prize nomination and the Agnes Scott Literary Festival Prize. Stiles is a member of the Georgia Writers Registry and is an alumna of Kennesaw State University’s Master of Arts in Professional Writing program. She has worked as a librarian at KSU for twenty years and currently serves as the Director of the Graduate Library. She has given numerous workshops and readings throughout the Southeast. She has also given regular conference program or panel presentations including three for the annual Red Clay Writers conference: FREEdom to Write—Best Free Online Tools for Writers, The Four Pillars of Poetic Practice, and 21: Twenty-on Questions Frequently Asked by Poets. In 2006 she founded La Vita Poetica Press (LVP), a small press dedicated to producing handcrafted, limited edition poetry chapbooks. To date LVP has published eight chapbooks, two of which have been Georgia Author of the Year nominees. Her complete vita and selected publications are available on her KSU Selected Works website.

Shiloh Garcia

Shiloh Gill-Garcia is a second-year English graduate teaching assistant at Kennesaw State University with a focus in composition and rhetoric and creative writing. Her current areas of research include; symbolic annihilation in the archives, archival research in first-year composition classrooms, the intersections of feminism and the Chicana voice, and the impact of social justice pedagogy in the classroom. She is dedicated to giving the underrepresented a voice and enabling students with the tools to do the same. She has served as editor-in-chief for anyonesittinghere.org, an ongoing initiative to unearth the untold stories of civil rights in Atlanta. Her recent chapter collaboration “Is Anyone Sitting Here?: Mirroring ‘Survival Steps’ in the Justice-Focused Archive” will be published by Southern Illinois University Press later this year.