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The Bert C. Bach Written Word

Department of Literature and Language

Featured Presenters

Featured Presenters, Spring 2020 Festival

Emily Rosko

Emily Rosko’s poetry collections are Weather Inventions (University of Akron Press, 2018), Prop Rockery (University of Akron Press, 2012), and Raw Goods Inventory (University of Iowa Press, 2006). She earned a MFA from Cornell and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Her honors include: a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine, and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in Antioch Review, AGNI, The Denver Quarterly, Epoch, New American Writing, New Orleans Review, Pleiades, and West Branch, and her pedagogical essays on poetic craft have been anthologized in Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook and The Working Poet II. She is the editor of A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (University of Iowa Press, 2011) and poetry editor for Crazyhorse. She is Associate Professor at the College of Charleston and Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program.

John McNally

John McNally is the author or editor of seventeen books, including the novel The Book of Ralph and, more recently, The Promise of Failure: One Writer’s Perspective on Not Succeeding. A new short story collection titled The Fear of Everything will be published in the fall of 2020. His stories, reviews, and essays have appeared in over a hundred publications, including Virginia Quarterly Review, the Sun, and the Washington Post. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and the recipient of fellowships from Paramount Pictures (Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project), the University of Iowa (James Michener Award), George Washington University (Jenny McKean Moore Fellowship), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship). Recently, he wrote several screenplays for the Norwegian film company Evil Doghouse. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, John now teaches as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Sonja Livingston

Sonja Livingston’s latest book, The Virgin of Prince Street, uses an unexpected return to her childhood church as an occasion to travel through space and time to explore the changes in the larger Church and in her own life. The result is a generous but unflinching look at the rapidly shifting nature of devotion. Sonja’s first book, Ghostbread, won an AWP Book Prize for Nonfiction and has been widely adopted for classroom use. The author of four books, her writing has been honored with a NYFA Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, a VanderMey Nonfiction Prize, an Arts & Letters Essay Prize, and grants from Vermont Studio Center and The Deming Fund for Women and appears widely in anthologies and outlets such as Salon, Creative Nonfiction and LitHub. Sonja is an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and teaches in the Postgraduate Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Mark Baumgartner

Mark D. Baumgartner lives in Johnson City, Tennessee, with his wife and children. He holds a PhD from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where he was a Schaeffer/Black Mountain fellow in creative writing, and an MFA degree from Bowling Green State University. His work has been published in several literary journals, including The Southern Review, Confrontation, FugueBest of Ohio Anthology, Bellingham Review, Phoebe, and Wisconsin Review, among others. He has worked in various editorial capacities at Witness, Mid-American Review, and River Styx. Currently he teaches at East Tennessee State University and is Editor of Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature.

Danielle Nicole Byington

Danielle Nicole Byington's work is published or forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Still: The Journal, The Cape Rock, and Cold Mountain Review, and her chapbook The Absurdity of Origins, was published by Dancing Girl Press. in 2019. She completed her English-MA at East Tennessee State University in spring 2017, and, during said time, served as editor for the 2017 volume of the university's literary/arts magazine, The Mockingbird. Byington’s strong interest in the relationship between word and image is evident in her writing—often reflecting works of art and painting visual narratives of personal experiences—as well as her business, Sight into Insight, which seeks teaching emotional understanding through the intersection of language and visualization. She teaches English at various colleges, having been voted by students in 2018 as one of the "Most Inspirational" faculty/staff members at ETSU. Byington enjoys life with her Shakespearean better half and three ridiculous cats.


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