WORDS AWAKE2! featured outstanding alumni/ae writers who inspired in public schools, interacted with fellow students, and offered wisdom and insight to all event attendees, including:
Joseph Bathanti (P ’06), past Poet Laureate of North Carolina, teaches creative writing at Appalachian State University, and has published in both poetry and prose. His most recent novel is The Life of the World to Come, based partly upon his growing up in Pittsburgh. Recently Joe was named the Charles George VA Medical Center Writer-in-Residence, in an innovative program in the Veterans Health Administration in Asheville funded by a North Carolina Arts Council and North Carolina Humanities Council grant.
Jane Bianchi(’05) is a freelance magazine writer who has written, edited, and produced health-related publications in online and print forms. In the past she has worked and written for magazines such as Seventeen, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Glamour, and Esquire.
Anne Boyle is Professor of English at Wake Forest and directs the Writing Program. She has served as Associate Dean of the College and evolved the popular LENS summer program at WFU.
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.
Emily Brewer (’98) is an author, researcher, and book designer of Legacy Storybooks. She completed the PhD in English at UNC-CH.
Paul Bullock (’02) is a television writer and producer. He’s worked on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” Syfy’s “Defiance,” Lifetime’s “Devious Maids,” and many others. He’s also a frequent contributor to Under the Radar magazine and owns an absurd number of records.
Rachel Venuti Bullock (’02) is COO of Render Media, a digital media company that owns four rapidly growing content destinations: Opposing Views, America News, Cooking Panda and Watch This. Rachel has worked with the company’s founding team since 2011 and was named COO in 2014. Rachel has been instrumental in developing Render into a media powerhouse of 28 million unique monthly visitors and 12 million Facebook fans across multiple verticals, and has grown the organization from a handful of employees to a team of 50 people.
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. Davis — whose work has been published in multiple languages and with over 7 million copies sold — is judged to be the most published alumni author in Wake Forest history.
Lamaya Covington Williams (’01, ’05 MALS) teaches Humanities at Forsyth Technical Community College, and is the author of Quite Happy, a highly acclaimed collection of poems.
Adam Dovico (’04) earned a BA in elementary education, and later a masters in elementary education from Appalachian State University (’06) and his National Board Certification (’07). After graduating from Wake, he taught in Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools and in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, earning numerous awards and honors. He then had the tremendous honor of teaching at the Ron Clark Academy, where he served as an educator and professional development trainer, having over 15,000 educators observe his teaching and workshops. He has conducted educator training in over thirty states and around the world and has written a book for educators called Inside the Trenches: An Educator’s Guide for What You CAN Do in the Classroom based on these experiences. Currently, he is serving as the clinical professor in the Wake Forest Department of Education, where he teaches multiple education courses and advises elementary education student teachers.
Steve Duin (’76, MA ’79) has been The Oregonian’s Metro columnist, a post he 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. His novel, The Less We Touch, about predatory sports coaches in Portland youth programs, was published in 2015.
Julie Dunlop’s (’95) latest collection of poetry is Breath, Bone, Earth, Sky. Her work has been published in a variety of national literary magazines as well as in medical journals, such as JAMA. Originally from Virginia, she lives in New Mexico where she teaches writing.
Eric Ekstrand (’07) is a poet living and working in North Carolina. His first full-length collection, Laodicea, was selected by Donald Revell for the Omnidawn 1st/2nd Book Prize. He is the recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship awarded by the Poetry Foundation and graduated with his MFA from the University of Houston in 2010. He teaches creative writing and composition at Wake Forest University. His poems can be found in Poetry, jubilat, Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, Bat City Review, and elsewhere.
Laura Elliott (’79) is the author of young adult historical novels, including Under a War-Torn Sky, a Jefferson Cup Honor Book for Historical Fiction, and its sequel, A Troubled Peace, both named Notable Books in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC); New York Times Best-seller Annie Between the States, also an IRA Teacher’s Choice; Give Me Liberty; and Flying South, which won the Joan G. Sugarman Children’s Literature Award. Elliott has also authored five picture books. A long-time writer for The Washingtonian magazine, Elliott specialized in women’s issues, and was twice a finalist for the National Magazine Award and author of a nonfiction work on the first nationally-discussed domestic violence case. Her latest work, DaVinci’s Tiger, imagines the life of Leonardo DaVinci’s first portraiture muse through a feminist lens.
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. His Youngblood: A Novel will be published in April, 2016.
Jan Hensley (’62), who will deliver the Friday, April 8 evening lecture, has become as much a part of North Carolina’s literary scene as some of the authors he’s collected. His photographs of authors have been exhibited at Wake Forest, UNC and other universities. In 2006, he received the Sam G. Ragan Award for outstanding contributions to the fine arts in North Carolina, presented annually by St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He’s a familiar face at literary festivals and book signings, tracking down authors to autograph the latest book or article he’s found. Jan has donated a portion of his extensive collection of literabilia to Wake Forest and the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.
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. She will be inducted into the Wake Forest University Writers Hall of Fame in 2016.
Trice Hickman (MALS ’98) is a self-proclaimed Southern girl and an award-winning, bestselling author. Trice’s love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success and shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington Publishing Co. (Dafina Books) where she is currently published. Her 8th, novel, Deadly Satisfaction, released January 2016. Learn more about Trice at www.tricehickman.com.
Candide Jones (’72, MA ’78) has published In the Tree Top: A New Lullaby (illustrations by Steve Emery). A food feature writer and restaurant critic, Candide also served as assistant director of Wake Forest University Press for 25 years. She works with inmates in a prison dog-training program.
Darin Kennedy (’93, MD ’97), born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of the College and Medical School. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq. His debut novel, a paranormal thriller titled The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. The sequel, The Stravinsky Intrigue, due out in late 2016, continues the journey through myth, music, and madness. Pawn’s Gambit, his contemporary fantasy, and another project, this one his first YA novel, are both on submission at this time. His short stories can be found in over twenty anthologies and magazines. He is currently at work on his next novel. Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.
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, which won the Midwest Book Award. He is author of three collections of poetry (Sidetracks, published by our own Emily Wilson at Jackpine Press; Wind Over Water, and Dead Languages). His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over 75 national magazines and literary journals. Clint has 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.
Aimee Mepham grew up in Dearborn, Michigan. She holds a BA in English from Albion College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. She has taught creative writing workshops at Indiana University, Washington University in St. Louis, Salem College, and Wake Forest University. Her work has appeared in Meridian, River Styx, Opium Magazine, and Pinball Magazine, and has been performed twice by Liars’ League NYC. She is currently the Program Coordinator for the Humanities Institute at Wake Forest University.
Joan Mitchell earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction in Secondary English from the University of Alabama and currently serves as an adjunct professor of English Education at Wake Forest University. After completing her MAEd in English Education at Wake Forest, she taught a diverse group of North Carolina and Colorado students in courses ranging from regular English 9 to AP Literature. Her research focus is the pedagogy of revision and its impact on student writing. She is co-author of the English Education textbook Bridging English and a regular presenter at both NCTE’s and the North Carolina English Teachers Association’s annual conferences. Her presentations and articles have examined topics such as mentoring pre-service teachers, examining inequities in students’ opportunity to learn, embracing Young Adult literature, and revitalizing nonfiction in the classroom.
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) is the Director of the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston. He is also the Co-Director of the Gulf Coast Food Project—an interdisciplinary project that promotes the study of food in the Texas Gulf Coast region—for which he oversees the production of the documentary films and multimedia stories. Temple’s research broadly seeks to understand how the media can influence our attitudes and behaviors and has been published in a wide array of respected journals, including Media Psychology and Applied Cognitive Psychology. Popular with the media, he is a regular guest on Houston Matters and his research has been featured everywhere from the Los Angeles Times to USA Today. Temple has also made an in-studio appearance in New York City as a guest on the nationally televised Fox & Friends. Before coming to UH, Temple worked in Los Angeles as a sitcom writer and was part of over 180 episodes of primetime television.
Diana Peacock (’98) is Senior Vice President of FirstBook, Inc., of Washington, DC, one of the largest non-profit distributors of books and other needed educational and public health items to pre-school, primary, and middle school children in the United States. FirstBook works especially with Title I schools and school systems.
Mike Riley (’81) is CEO and Publisher of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Prior to that position, he was Managing Editor of Bloomberg Government, the Editor and Senior Vice President of Congressional Quarterly, and the Editor of The Roanoke Times. He created and launched allpolitics.com, 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.
Carter Smith (’99) is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Writing Program at Wake Forest. His poems have appeared in Pleiades, cream city review, Pequod, and elsewhere. His book Rounds was published earlier this year.
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. His much-praised collection of short stories is Parlous Angels.
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 Africa American Fiction” and “Making Memories.”
Melissa Venable (’90) https://about.me/melissavenable works as a full-time writer and editor for OnlineColleges.net. http://onlinecolleges.net Her professional background in career counseling, instructional design, and social media management informs her work on topics related to higher education and career development. She also serves on eLearn Magazine’s Editorial Board, and is an adjunct instructor at the University of South Florida and Saint Leo University.
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 American Luthier, the biography of pioneering female American violinmaker Carleen Hutchins, a work published this spring. She has also written a memoir about her life as an estranged identical twin.
Melynda Dovel Wilcox (’85 ) writes a blog about local education issues (30,000 views in the past 2-1/2 years) in Alexandria, Virginia. She also does freelance editing for Virginia Theological Seminary. Her blog has been recognized by the American Press Institute’s Fact-Checking Project with its “Fact Check of the Week.”
George Williamson (’61) has been College Chaplain and Religion Professor at Vassar; Senior pastor, First Baptist, Granville, Ohio; and founding President, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. A memoir, Born in Sin, Upended in Grace, traces his collision with the signature contemporary social movements, beginning with the 1960 Winston-Salem sit-in, in which he was catapulted from one side to the other by each of them. Books include Holding out for a Biblical Life, Radicals, an Anabaptist Manifesto, and Quintessentially George, his sermons.
Ed Wilson (’43) is Provost Emeritus and former English Professor of WFU. In 2002, Ed 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 the WFU Medallion of Merit. He frequently delivers speeches and essays on the values of Wake Forest and recently completed The History of Wake Forest University, Volume V.
Lauren Wright (’10) is Director of Investor Relations at NV5 Global, Inc., and a board member of the White House Transition Project. While an undergraduate student at Wake Forest, Wright won the John Allen Easley Medal and Award in Religion and the Elizabeth Phillips Award for the best essay in women’s and gender studies. She received her doctorate in American government and political methodology from Georgetown University; her dissertation was nominated for the George C. Edwards III Award in presidency research. Her new book, On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and the White House Communications Strategy Today, is garnering strong preview commentary and will be published April 30 by Praeger.
John York (’77), who was born in Winston-Salem and grew up in Yadkin County, 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. In 2011, he received the James Applewhite Poetry Prize from the North Carolina Literary Review. He published his first full-length collection, Cold Spring Rising (Press 53) in 2012. In 2014, he won the Linda Flowers Literary Award from the North Carolina Humanities Council for “O Beautiful Bug,” a memoir which was published online by Indy Week and in a chapbook by Jacar Press. His poetry has recently appeared in Appalachian Journal, Kenyon Review Online, and Tar River Poetry.
Phoebe Zerwick is a prize-winning investigative journalist, narrative writer, and now associate professor of the practice at WFU. In recent years, she has reported on the Syrian refugee crisis and abortion for such publications as National Geographic online, The Nation online, and Glamour magazine. 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 Trials of Darryl Hunt.