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Creative Writing Festival

Department of Literature and Language

Featured Presenters

Featured Presenters, Spring 2018 Festival

Bianca Lynne Spriggs is an award-winning writer and multidisciplinary artist from Lexington, Kentucky. An Assistant Professor of English at Ohio University, Bianca is the author of four collections of poems, most recently Call Her by Her Name (Northwestern University Press, 2016) and The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor (Argos Books, 2016). She is the co-editor of three poetry anthologies, most recently Undead: Ghouls, Ghosts & More (Apex Publications, 2017) and the forthcoming Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets (University of Kentucky Press, 2018). 

 Mark Powell

Mark Powell has authored five novels, among them Small Treasons from Simon & Schuster, a SIBA Okra Pick, a Southern Living Best Book of the Year, and a New York Post “Must Read.” Powell has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Breadloaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. In 2014, he was a Fulbright Fellow to Slovakia. In 2009 he received the Chaffin Award for contributions to Appalachian literature. He holds degrees from Yale Divinity School, the University of South Carolina, and the Citadel. He lives in the mountains of North Carolina, where he teaches at Appalachian State University.  


Courtney Stevens grew up among rivers, cornfields, churches, and gossip in the small-town South. She is a former adjunct professor, youth minister, and Olympic torchbearer. She has a pet whale named Herman, a bandsaw named Rex, and several novels with her name on the spine: Faking Normal, The Lies about Truth, the e-novella The Blue-Haired Boy, and Dress Codes for Small Towns. As an educator and author, she visits schools, designs retreats, and teaches workshops on marketing, revision, character development, and Channeling Your Brave. She also likes chips and queso and feels deeply sorry for the lactose intolerant.

Michael Cody

Michael Amos Cody joined the East Tennessee State University faculty in 2001 after a remarkable set of life experiences of working as a songwriter in Nashville and then earning his PhD in English from the University of South Carolina. He continues to combine his love of literature and his love of music. His short fiction has appeared in The Tampa Review, Yemassee, and other publications; he has also released as a solo artist the albums Homecoming and Wonderful Life. His short story "To the Moon, Alice" won Potpourri's Nancy Pickard Fiction Award in 1994. Gabriel's Songbook (Pisgah Press, 2017) is his first novel.

Felipe Fiuza

Felipe Fiuza is a Brazilian scholar who recently received his Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from Purdue University. His areas of specialization include, but are not limited to, Spanish Literature of the Golden Age (Cervantes), Medieval Spanish Literature (Chivalry), and Latin America Literature (Brazil). Fiuza also writes poetry, and in this past April he was a keynote speaker at the Lusophones Studies section at the 70th Kentucky Foreign Languages Conference (KFLC). He is the new Director of the Language and Culture Resource Center here at ETSU.

 Jesse Graves

Jesse Graves, the poet-in-residence at ETSU, directs the ETSU Celebrates Creative Writing Initiative. His first poetry collections, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine and Basin Ghosts (Texas Review Press, 2011, 2014), have each won the Weatherford Award for Poetry. He was given the 2013 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. His poems have appeared in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Connecticut Review, and in the Poem of the Week feature for Missouri Review. He is editor of several volumes of poetry and scholarship, including three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology (Contemporary Appalachia, Tennessee, and North Carolina), Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston (University of Tennessee Press, 2016), and the forthcoming Complete Poems of James Agee (University of Tennessee Press, 2018). Graves was awarded the 2014 Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing from Cornell University, and the 2015 James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. With William Wright, he has recently released the collaborative poetry volume Specter Mountain (Mercer University Press, 2028).

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