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. GWA publishes Exit 271: Your Georgia Writers Resource, a quarterly digital magazine—both a writer’s resource magazine and a literary journal. Four times a year, Exit 271 brings you a motivational kick to get you writing more, publishing more, and living the writer’s life—Georgia style. The GWA also hosts two annual events, the Georgia Author of the Year Awards and the Red Clay Writers Conference.



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 mwalter1@kennesaw.edu.

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 two rescue dogs. Please direct any questions about GAYA, Red Clay Writers Conference, or the Georgia Writers Association in general to administrator@georgiawriters.org

Val Mathews, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Designer for Exit 271: Your Georgia Writers Resource
Val Mathews is an ex-commercial pilot and once ate an entire bag of Fig Newtons on a spontaneous road trip from New Orleans to Philadelphia. (She puked.) However, now she is the editor-in-chief of Exit 271: Your Georgia Writers Resource and the founder of The Exit 271 Studio. The Exit 271 Studio is a small group of nurturing editors who make revision and promotion fun. Go to http://www.exit271.com. Val lives in Athens, Georgia. She may be reached at editors@exit271.com.



Chris Ward, Board President
Kennesaw State Webmaster, Christopher Ward, joined KSU in April 2002. As webmaster he designs and maintains the top levels of kennesaw.edu 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

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 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/

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.