The 52nd GAYARead More »
It’s here! Georgia Writers Association’s First Digital Magazine for WritersRead More »
51st Annual GAYA Winners, Finalists, and Honorable MentionsRead More »
Exclusive Interview with Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Philip Lee WilliamsRead More »
Georgia Author of the Year Nominations Now OpenRead More »
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON RED CLAY WRITERS CONFERENCERead More »
GAYA Photos Posted on GWA Facebook PageRead More »
GAYA Lifetime and Posthumous Achievement Award Winners AnnouncedRead More »
Georgia Author of the Year Banquet Tickets Now AvailableRead More »
T. Geronimo Johnson Visits KennesawRead More »
The Facts of Fiction
In the monthly column, ‘The Facts of Fiction” award-winning author Soniah Kamal will discuss the art and craft of writing fiction as well as the ins and outs of the writer’s life both on the page and off the page. Click here to read Soniah’s blog posts.
Soniah Kamal is an award-winning novelist, essayist and public speaker. She gave a TEDx talk on redefining dreams and is a frequent speaker on writing, post-colonialism, parenting, Jane Austen, immigrant life and real American Dreams. Her work has appeared in critically acclaimed anthologies and publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, Catapult, The Georgia Review, The Bitter Southerner, VIDA, The Normal School, The Missing Slate, Pithead Chapel and more. Soniah’s novel, Unmarriageable: Pride & Prejudice in Pakistan is a 2019 Financial Times Readers’ Best Book Pick, a People’s Magazine Pick, an NPR Code Switch Reads Pick, a 2020 Georgia Author of the Year for Literary Fiction nominee, and more. Her debut novel An Isolated Incident was shortlisted for the Townsend Prize. She has taught creative writing at Emory University, Oglethorpe University and teaches at the MFA program at Reinhardt University. She is on Twitter & Instagram @soniahkamal.
Lessons in Submission
This is a monthly look at the process of submitting your work for publication. As an editor with experience as a freelance writer Josina Guess will draw on her own failures and foibles along with examples for what works and what doesn’t work when trying to get your writing published. Every month you’ll get some practical ideas to help peel back some of the mystery behind pitching, rejection, acceptance, revising, and publication. Click here to read Josina’s blog posts.
Josina Guess is the managing editor of The Bitter Southerner and she loves harvesting stories about the South in all its complexity. She was born in Epes, Alabama, and grew up in Washington, D.C., where she attended D.C. public schools.
She has a bachelor’s in art from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. She lived in Philadelphia for 11 years before settling in rural northeast Georgia. Josina lives on 4 acres of land where she tends to family, animals, and some fruits and vegetables. Read more at JosinaGuess.com Twitter and Instagram: @josinaguess
John Holman has taught fiction writing at Georgia State University since 1993. A Whiting Award winner, he is the author of Squabble and Other Stories, Luminous Mysteries, and Triangle Ray. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Mississippi Review, Fiction, Oxford American, Chattahoochee Review, Flash Fiction Review, and other publications, as well as in several anthologies.
Terri Dudenhoeffer is a Program Coordinator for the Georgia Writers Association and the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project at Kennesaw State University. She holds a M.A. in Communication with a concentration in film studies from Georgia State University.
Kelly is the award-winning author of the memoir An Imperfect Rapture. She has been a lawyer, an activist, a teacher, and a musician. Her essays and other work appear in Creative Nonfiction, Five Points, Bacopa Literary Review, the Santa Ana River Review, and other literary journals. Her essay, “A True Prayer is One That You Do Not Understand,” was a prize winner in the 2020 VanderMey Creative Nonfiction Contest, forthcoming in Ruminate. She will be joining the faculty of Reinhardt University’s low-residency MFA program in June of 2020.
“Free Verse” explores the practice of poetry with a focus on craft, community and history. Free Verse is a space for writers of any experience level to think critically about where poems come from and how poetry can affect the real world. Click here to read Nicholas’ blog posts.
Nicholas Goodly is a recipient of the 2017 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. A Cave Canem Fellow, Nicholas received an MFA from Columbia University, was awarded the second place prize for New South Poetry Contest, was a semi-finalist in the 2018 Discovery/ Boston Review Contest, finalist in the 2017 Tennessee Williams Poetry Contest and a finalist in the 2016 Academy of American Poets Prize. Nicholas is the writing editor of WUSSY Magazine and Critic’s Choice for Best Poet 2018 in Creative Loafing Atlanta.
The series “Engaging Poetry” considers the larger humanistic aims of poetry through examining the craft of poems that are courageous (and playful) in their truth-telling, and that invite us to more deeply see, feel, think about, and connect with the experiences of others. The hope is that readers of this blog will be inspired to engage—with new insights and new approaches—the empathetic impulses that frame their writing. Click here to read Sharan’s blog posts.
Stay in No Realms: Seeking and Essaying
In the monthly column “Stay in No Realms: Seeking and Essaying,” award-winning memoirist and teacher Christopher Martin will envision creative nonfiction as a pilgrimage by which writers can reckon their own lives and experiences as art. Alongside readers, he’ll consider the inherent challenges of the creative nonfiction path, ever mindful of the greater aims and the real work of this often misunderstood form, aims and work that include fostering empathy, learning who we are, and enriching our shared humanity. Click here to read Christopher’s blog posts.
Christopher Martin, the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year in Memoir, is author of This Gladdening Light, published by Mercer University Press, recipient of the Will D. Campbell Award in Creative Nonfiction, and featured in the AJC, ArtsATL, and the Literary Atlanta podcast. Janisse Ray called this memoir an “honest, gritty, and transcendent book” that “explores a theology of love.” The author of three poetry chapbooks and recipient of the George Scarbrough Poetry Prize, Chris teaches composition and literature at Kennesaw State University. His work appears in publications across the country. Website: chrbrmartin.com / Social media: @chrbrmartin
The Habit of Fiction
In this monthly series, novelist Anne Corbitt explores practical strategies and tips for cultivating what Flannery O’Connor describes as “the habit of art.” Click here to read Anne’s blog posts.
Anne Corbitt received her MFA in Fiction from the University of Mississippi on the John and Renée Grisham Fellowship. Her work has appeared in One Story, The Greensboro Review, Fifth Wednesday, Fourth River, and others. She lives in Atlanta, where she created and writes the interactive mystery series ATL Mysteries, and teaches writing at Kennesaw State University. Her first novel, Rules for Lying, was released by Southeast Missouri State University Press in 2016, as the winner of the Nilsen Literary Prize, and was the finalist for the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Award for a First Novel.
Max Blau writes narrative and investigative stories for newspapers, magazines, and digital media outlets. His award-winning nonfiction has appeared in Atlanta magazine, Bitter Southerner, the Boston Globe, New York Times, Politico, and Rolling Stone. A recent graduate of the University of Georgia’s narrative nonfiction M.F.A. program, Max is currently working as a freelance journalist and conducting research for a forthcoming book. Check out Max’s writing at www.maxcblau.com.
Jade Rivers studied Film Theory at Georgia State University and English at Kennesaw State University. She is passionate about creating and engaging with poetry and discourse on illness, disability, and other underrepresented intersections within the writing community. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, where she enjoys writing poetry and translating Italian poetry.
Jessica E. Lindberg has always written poetry, but did not start sending work out into the world until (most) of her children were grown and gone. Since then, she’s had work published by the Mississippi Review, Sand Hills, Santa Ana River Review, and Third Wednesday, among others. Editors at Glassworks saw fit to nominate her work for a Pushcart Prize, for which she is honored and grateful and a little bit stunned. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Georgia State University in 2007, and returned in 2010 for the Ph.D. Jessica has also worked as a picture framer, bookstore manager, and caterer, but her favorite job is her current one: teaching English at Georgia Highlands College, a small community college in the foothills of the Appalachians. Jessica lives in the woods near Rome, Georgia, with her family and dog and chickens.
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 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 is a wife, mom, grandmother, and book junkie. At age 51, she became a published novelist. Ann’s debut novel, “Ghost On Black Mountain”, won Georgia Author Of The Year and was a Townsend Prize Finalist in 2012. She has published four novels and a novella that are set in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Her latest effort is a memoir about her grandmother, Roll The Stone Away, that will be published by Mercer University Press. Being a city girl most of her life, Ann now writes each day in her home office that looks out on a decent clutter of trees.
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 Republic, The Southern Review, Atlanta Review, Third Coast, Narrative, Prairie 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.
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 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.
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.
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 a 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.
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 Journal, BlazeVOX15, and Exit 271: Your Georgia Writers Resource. She is currently preparing for May 2018 graduation with a book-length poetry manuscript tentatively titled, Imprimatur.
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/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of Paper, Cotton, Leather and Malak and co-author of Book of Levitations. 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, and Fourteen Hills, and other journals. She is a co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterly and a Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.
The Business of Writing
Want to know how to find new clients? What about handling clients who don’t pay? If you want to know more about how to manage your freelance business, from sales to lawsuits, check out The Business of Writing. Click here to read Crystal’s articles.
With a Bachelor of Arts in French from Georgia Southern University, a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University, and experience as professor of rhetoric and composition, Crystal has built a career on leveraging communication to achieve personal and professional goals. In addition to novels and poetry, she has published articles, whitepapers, and success stories on topics ranging from technology compliance to human-computer interaction. Previously, Crystal has held positions in sales and marketing before working as a freelance writer for more than five years. Currently, Crystal is responsible for content strategy and copywriting for Launch Interactive, an Atlanta digital agency.
Advice From The Writing Wallenda
This column will focus on how to become a great personal essay writer in just 60 days! Okay, I can’t promise that, but did you ever notice how a statement seems to have more credence when a number is tossed in there? Just one of the many tricks you’ll find out about in my column, a monthly repository of facts and fictions (purely for entertainment purposes of course although it will be up to you to figure out which is which) relating to the process of writing a strong personal essay, starting with inspiration and then seeing where that takes us. Yeah, we’re pretty much winging it here. Click here to read Caren’s articles.
Caren Stewart earned a B.F.A. in sculpture from Pratt Institute and an M.Ed. in Education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She has been a fine arts curriculum writer for several years and has taught both painting and poetry writing to students young and old. She is a previous contributor to the Georgia Authority and was a recent winner in the National Poetry Matters Competition. She has also contributed content to The Phoenix Writing Art Blog.
Accessible Poetry discusses works which do not require any prior poetic study and demystifies those which seem to elude readers for want of readily available context. Each monthly column will focus on a poet, a movement, or a poetic device in order to “bring the mountain to Muhammad” for the leery and curious alike. Click here to read JoAnn’s articles.
JoAnn LoVerde-Dropp is a full-time instructor at Kennesaw 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.
Food for Freelancing
Food for Freelancing addresses a different aspect of freelance writing each month, with tips about the topic. For example: “Five Ways to Make Your Freelance Resume Stand out,” or “Seven Ways to Spot a Bad Job Listing.” Food for Freelancing will be published on the 4th Wednesday of the month. Click here to read Stacy’s articles.
Stacy Smith lived in Southwest Virginia in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains prior to moving to Georgia in 2011. She received a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia at Wise. She has been a freelance writer since 2010 and ranks in the top 10 percent of oDesk freelancers. During this time, she has written over 3,000 articles covering a wide range of topics. She has also been a marketing consultant, press release writer, product reviewer, and blogger. Stacy has been published in oddities.com and Knights of the Dinner Table, and was featured in a 2010 article about couponing in The Wall Street Journal.
What Inspires You?
Writing is so much more than craft. Each month Ann Hite will talk about what brings her to the page each day or what stands in her way. She hopes writers will share their experiences too. What Inspires You? will be published on the 3rd Monday of the month. Click here to read Ann’s articles.
The Writer Within
The Writer Within is a series of columns geared to any writer who wants to increase his/her productivity. The first three series illustrated ways to learn about your writing personality and how to create an environment and establish a routine best suited to that personality. Series four and five explained the universal writing foundations for nonfiction and fiction. In series six, The Mechanics of Writing, each column will provide two takeaways to strengthen your writing – one for creativity, one for grammar. Click here to read Janice’s articles.