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Words Awake!

A Celebration of Wake Forest Writers and Writing!



WORDS AWAKE! will be punctuated by many popular and professional panelists who will be prepared to pontificate, perhaps including:

Stephen Amidon (’81) is the critically acclaimed author of Subdivision, a book of short stories, and six novels, including The New City and Human Capital, which The Washington Post selected as one of the five best novels of 2004. Stephen is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines in the US and Great Britain. His next work of non-fiction, something Like the Gods, is scheduled to release in June 2012.


Helen Anders (’74) is a lifelong journalist, having worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist for newspapers and magazines in Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, and Texas. She is currently a features and travel writer for the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas. She is also the author of two books: Fixin’ to be Texan and Fixin’ to Party Texas Style.


Herb Appenzeller (’48, MA ’51) is Jefferson-Pilot Professor Emeritus of Sport Studies at Guliford College. He is an expert in the field of sports liability and has received hall of fame honors from a number of national organizations including the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Herb is president of Appenzeller and Associates, and he serves as editor of the newsletter, “From the Gym to the Jury.”


Carol Barbee (’81) is a television writer, actress, and producer. She has received acting roles on shows such as “LA Law,” “JAG,” and “Ellen,” among others. Carol wrote her first script for NBC’s “Providence” in 2001, and has since written for “Judging Amy” and “Close to Home.” She is currently an executive producer for the new Fox pilot, “Touch.”

 Jane Bianchi(’05) is the editor of Daily Health News, a free e-newsletter that reaches approximately a million people. Prior to that, she worked as an editor in the news and health departments at the following magazines: Seventeen, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Glamour, and Esquire.

Mary Boone(’80) is president of Boone Associates, a management consulting firm in Connecticut. Her writing is an integral part of her consulting work, and she has authored hundreds of articles for a variety of general business publications. In 2008 Mary received the Academy of Management award for her Harvard Business Review cover article, “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making.” Mary’s books include Managing Interactively: Executing Strategy, Improving Communication and Creating a Knowledge-Sharing Culture.

 Blake Brandes (’06), a Marshall Scholar, has dedicated his life to exploring the intersection of music, academics, and youth achievement. As President of Decrypt Productions LLC, Blake has produced Top 40 radio singles, in addition to being an active musician and performer of piano, rap, and beatbox. Blake has performed numerous hip-hop workshops all over the world at which he teaches young people how to beatbox and helps them create connections between their passion and their academic studies.


Ben Brantley is the chief theater critic of The New York Times and has received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. He has also worked for The New Yorker magazine, Vanity Fair magazine, and for several years reviewed films for Elle magazine. Ben is the editor of The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century.

Linda Brinson (’69) acted as Book Review Editor and Editorial Page Editor of the Winston-Salem Journal for 25 years. Linda writes for the blog she created, Briar Patch Books, which reviews a broad range of books, with a special emphasis on Southern literature. She currently teaches journalism at UNC-CH.


Paul Bullock (’02) began his career in television working as a Production Assistant on NBC’s “Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit.” After moving to Los Angeles, Paul worked on NBC’s “Medium” before writing for ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.” Paul is the founder of Mean Beard Recordings, and in 2011 he co-founded Beranial with Foundations Music Management and MTHEORY. He is a frequent contributor to Under the Radar magazine.

Davis Bunn (’74) is a writer of historical fiction and legal thrillers. Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include The Great Divide, Winner Take All, The Meeting Place, The Warning, The Book of Hours, and The Quilt. A sought-after speaker in the art of writing, Davis serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.


Justin Catanoso (MALS ’93) became senior lecturer and director of Journalism at WFU in September 2011 after having a 30-year career as a professional journalist at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and North Carolina. He was founding Executive Editor of The Business Journal in the Triad and continues to do weekly business reports on WFDD-88.5 FM. In 2008, Justin published his first book, a family memoir titled My Cousin the Saint, A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles.


Doug Davis (’89, MA ’99) played music in North Carolina and New York for several years before becoming a full-time producer. In 2005, he decided to write music again, as a solo artist, and now performs a mixture of rock, folk, and soul.


Frances O’Roark Dowell (’86) is a bestselling author of children’s literature. Her first book, Dovey Coe, was published in 2000, and since then she has published 10 more. Her books have received numerous awards, including the Edgar Award (Dovey Coe), The Christopher Award (Shooting the Moon), The Voya Book Award (Where I’d Like to Be), and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Fiction.


Steve Duin (’76, MA ’79) is The Oregonian’s Metro columnist, a post he has held for 15 years. He has twice been named the nation’s best local columnist by the Society of Professional Journalists. He has written or co-authored five books, including Comics: Between the Panels, a history of comics, and Father Time, a collection of columns on fatherhood and family.


Julie Edelson is a novelist who most recently published The Fat Friend. Her other works include No News is Good; Bad Housekeeping; and Courting Disaster, which was nominated for the Sir Walter Raleigh Prize. Julie has taught literature and creative writing in various venues since 1970, and she currently edits for scholars in all field of the arts and sciences.

Eric Ekstrand (’07) teaches writing and literature at the University of Houston where he received his MFA in 2010.  He is a former Ruth Lilly Fellow awarded by the Poetry Foundation and Inprint/Brown Fellow. His poems have appeared in Poetry, jubilat, Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Bat City Review and elsewhere.  His full-length collection of poems, Lawn Games, was a finalist for the 2011 National Poetry Series and a semi-fianlist for the Brittigham/ Pollak prizes.


Laura Elliott (’79) is the author of young adult historical novels, including Under a War-Torn Sky, A Troubled Peace, and Flying South, which won the Joan G. Sugarman Children’s Literature Award.  Elliott has authored four picture books with New York Times best-selling illustrator, Lynn Munsinger. A long-time writer for The Washingtonian magazine, Elliott was twice a finalist for the National Magazine Award.


Brent Filson (’61) is the founder and president of the Filson Leadership Group, Inc. He is also the author of numerous books and articles focusing on leadership, which have been featured over 300 magazines and newspapers. His latest book, The Leadership Talk: The Great Leadership Tool, has been selected finalist in the careers category of a national book award.


Ladd Flock is the Associate Director of the Office of Personal and Career Development at WFU. He has extensive experience in employer development, program management and evaluation, and implementation of career preparation and jobs search tools. Previously, Flock was associate director in the Career Management Center at Old Dominion University and assistant director in the Arts and Sciences Placement Office at Indiana University.


Matt Gallagher (’05) joined the U.S. Army in 2005 and received a commission in the armored cavalry. Following a fifteen-month deployment in Iraq, Gallagher left the army and now lives in New York City, where he works at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) as a Senior Fellow. He published his war memoir, Kaboom, in 2010, and is an MFA candidate at Columbia University.


Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (’98) is a counter-terrorism expert and attorney whose writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Reader’s Digest, and The Wall Street Journal Europe, among others. He is the Vice President of Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the author of My Year Inside Radical Islam. Daveed’s most recent book, Bin Laden’s Legacy, examines the evolution of al Qaeda’s strategy.


Joy Goodwin (’95) is the author of The Second Mark, a Sports Illustrated Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her nonfiction and criticism have appeared in The New York times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, The New York Sun, Elle, among others. A television and film producer, her credits include an Emmy award and six independent films. Joy also writes screenplays, including the forthcoming adaptation of Intruder in the Dust.

Greg Griffey (MDiv ’11) developed a love of reading the Bible and writing sermons while growing up in central Appalachia. He now writes as an advocate for Appalachian religious and cultural concerns, integrating his Appalachian cultural literacy heritage with more recent formal academic training at Wake Forest School of Divinity. His MDiv thesis was entitled, “Effacing Storied Identify: Mountaintop Removal in Appalachian Place, Biblical Faith and Theology,” and he has since written commentary for the Roanoke Times.


Shane Harris (’98) is an award-winning author and magazine journalist. His book The Watchers won the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. Shane is also the winner of the 2010 Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. He is currently senior writer at The Washingtonian magazine.

Tom Hayes (’79) is an independent film producer in New York City.  He is at work on a forthcoming documentary of his father, Harold T. P. Hayes.


Maria Henson (’82) has served as a general assignment reporter, statehouse reporter, Washington correspondent, editorial writer, assistant managing editor and deputy editorial page editor from North Carolina to California and many states in between. She won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing and, while at The Sacramento Bee, edited the series about Yosemite National Park that won a 2005 Pulitzer Prize. In 2010, she returned to her alma mater where she oversees the Wake Forest Magazine and teaches Journalism.


Trice Hickman (MALS ’98) is the co-host of the literary Blogtalk radio show, “On the Air with Trice and Brian.” Her debut novel, Unexpected Interruptions, was selected by Black Expressions as the December 2008 Editor’s Pick for Dynamic Debut Feature.  The Hand You’re Dealt made the list of “The Top 15 Books That Mattered in 2010” by AOL Black Voices. Trice also received the 2010 DC Ward-4 Exceptional Women in the Arts for outstanding work in the field of literary arts.


Mark Hofmann (’74) began his career in the editorial department of the Winston-Salem Journal. He is now a Senior Editor in the Washington bureau of Business Insurance magazine, where he covers property/casualty insurance industry issues, liability issues, Capitol Hill and federal agencies.


Malcolm Jones (’74) writes about books, music, and photography for The Daily Beast and Newsweek. He is the author of a memoir, The Little Boy Blues, and collaborated with the songwriter and composer Van Dyke Parks and the illustrator Barry Moser on Jump!, a retelling of Brer Rabbit stories.


Cameron Kent (’79) has published three novels: The Road to Devotion; When the Ravens Die; and Make Me Disappear. His writing credits include four films which have aired on NBC, HBO, Lifetime, and at the American Film Institute.  Cameron has worked for WXII-12 News in Winston-Salem for 27 years, serving as the main News Anchor for the last 17 years. He has been nominated for 11 Emmy Awards and won an Emmy for his reporting on the Pentagon after 9/11.


Helen Losse (MALS ’00) is a Winston-Salem poet, the author of two full-length books, Seriously Dangerous and Better with Friends, and two chapbooks. Helen’s poems have been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and three times for a Best of the Net award. Helen, a former English teacher, is the Poetry Editor for the online literary magazine The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.


Clint McCown (’74) is the only two-time winner of the American Fiction Prize. He has written three novels and recently completed a fourth, Haints. Clint has also published three volumes of poetry and received the Academy of American Poets Prize, among other honors. In journalism, he received the Associated Press Award for Documentary Excellence. He has worked with HBO Television, Warner Bros., and the National Shakespeare Company. Clint currently directs the creative writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University.


Mary Martin Niepold (’65) is the Founder of Nyanya Project and a Lecturer in Journalism at WFU. In 2009, she was named Purpose Prize Fellow, a national award for social entrepreneurs over 60 who use their experience and passion to take on society’s biggest challenges. Every year Mary takes groups of students to Africa to help with Nyanya Project by teaching grandmothers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda how to earn sustainable incomes.

 Elizabeth Norfleet (’85) is a magazine editor, cookbook editor and writer, and regional critic on food and home style.  She has collaborated with the North Carolina Museum of Art and with artist Bob Timberlake.

Temple Northup (’99) spent seven years in Hollywood writing scripts for Warner Bros. and NBC television shows. He then completed his Ph.D. at UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where he now teaches ethics and audio-video classes.


Mike Riley (’81) is Managing Editor of Bloomberg Government. Prior to that position, he was the Editor and Senior Vice President of Congressional Quarterly and the Editor of The Roanoke Times. He created and launched, a leading political Internet site founded by TIME Magazine and CNN. Riley spent a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University learning about digital technology and the online world.


 Susannah Rosenblatt (’03) is a Senior Project Director at KSA-Plus Communications. Previously, Susannah worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and has written for the International Herald Tribune, Michelin travel guides, The China Post, the Winston-Salem Journal, Family Circle, Sky Magazine, and Wake Forest Magazine.

Mark Schrope (’93)covers a broad range of subjects under the headings of science, medicine, technology, travel and adventure. His work has taken him into biomedical laboratories throughout the U.S.; on a flight into the eye of a hurricane; to the seafloor 1,700 feet deep by submersible; and around the world — from a remote Colombian island to the coral reefs of Indonesia and Fiji.


Gail Segal (’74) is a poet, filmmaker, and Associate Arts Professor in the Graduate Division of Film and TV at NYU. Her experience has included the Peabody Award winning film, Arguing the World and the 15-part television series, The Shakespeare Hour. She published her first book of poems, In Gravity’s Pull, in 2002, and she is currently working on a book of essays about film style and developing a dramatic feature in red clay farm country of southwest Georgia.

Ed Southern (’94) worked at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art before working for a major bookselling chain for which he opened the company’s first London store on Oxford Street. Shortly after he served as Sales Director for John F. Blair, Publisher. Today, Ed is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Writers Network.

Erica Still is an Assistant Professor of English at WFU. Her areas of interest are African American Literature, Trauma Studies, Religion and Literature, and Critical Theory. Past courses she has taught include “We Got Next: Contemporary African American Fiction” and “Making Memories.”

Jude Stewart (’96) writes frequently about design and culture for magazines including Slate, The Believer, Gastronomica, and Fast Company, among others. She also writes a twice-monthly column about color as a contributing editor for Print. Her first book, ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color will be published by Bloomsbury USA in 2013.  You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Jennifer Trafton (’97) served as the managing editor of a history magazine before returning to her first love, children’s literature. Her debut novel for middle-grade readers, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and is a nominee for Tennessee’s Volunteer State Book Award. She teaches creative writing to children in Nashville, Tennessee.


Melissa Venable (’90) has a background in higher education as an instructional designer and curriculum developer as well as an academic advisor and career counselor. She is an Education Writer for, and her work has been published in The Career Development Quarterly, TechTrends, the Journal of Computing in Higher Education, and the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching.


Doug Waller (’71) is a veteran correspondent, author, and lecturer. He spent much of his career working as a diplomatic correspondent for TIME Magazine after reporting on major military conflicts for Newsweek. A former captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, he has recently published several books, including the recent New York Times bestseller, Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who created the OSS and Modern American Espionage.

Elizabeth Watson (’74) is a principal in the consulting firm Heritage Strategies, LLC, and a co-author of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s award-winning guide to rural conservation, Saving America’s Countryside (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997, 2nd ed). She co-produced the 1992 award-winning environmental film made for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake: Living off the Land. She has planned more than a dozen heritage areas and scenic byways, most recently the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway and the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area in New Jersey.


Robert West (’91) is an Associate Professor of English at Mississippi State University and served as interim Director of the Shackouls Honors College. His essays, book reviews, and poems have appeared in journals such as: Alabama Literary Review, Appalachian Heritage, The Carolina Quarterly, Christian Science Monitor, The Journal, Southern Literary Journal, and Southern Quarterly. He is the author of three chapbooks: Convalescent, Best Company, and Out of Hand.

Ty West (’79) is a veteran television news producer, writer and executive who creates programming across multiple platforms, including network and public television, cable and the web. A native of North Carolina, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the Writer’s Guild of America. He currently lives outside New York City with his wife and two children.

 D. Quincy Whitney (’74) was the primary arts feature writer for the Boston Sunday Globe New Hampshire Weekly for fourteen years. Her first book Hidden History of New Hampshire (2008) was a research project for the Smithsonian Institution’s American Folklife Festival. As a Research Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney completed research for and is currently writing the biography of pioneering female American violinmaker Carleen Hutchins. Whitney has also written a memoir (unpublished) about her life as an estranged identical twin.

George Williamson (’61) has been a social activist and minister for fifty years, including Baptist pastorates in the east and Midwest.  He was chaplain of Vassar College for over a decade.  His sermons and writings have been published.


Ed Wilson (’43), “Mr. Wake Forest,” is Provost Emeritus and former English Professor of WFU. In 2002, Ed Wilson received the North Carolina Award for Public Service for his enormous contributions to WFU and his devotion to North Carolina, and in 2004 he received WFU’s Medallion of Merit. He frequently delivers speeches and essays on the values of WFU and recently completed The History of Wake Forest University, Volume V.


John York (’77) has taught English for over thirty years and in 2003 was named Teacher of the Year by the N.C. English Teachers Association. At WFU, John studied with poets A.R. Ammons and Emily Wilson, and in 2011, he received the James Applewhite Poetry Prize from the North Carolina Literary Review. He published Naming the Constellations, a poetry chapbook, in 2010, and in 2012 he will publish his first full-length collection, Cold Spring Rising.


Phoebe Zerwick is a prize-winning investigative journalist, narrative writer, and now lecturer at WFU. Her most recent work includes a multimedia documentary about the Yadkin River. Phoebe’s work has been recognized by The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the HBO documentary The Trial of Darryl Hunt.

Lovers of the written word unite!