MOUNTAIN HERITAGE LITERARY FESTIVAL SET FOR JUNE 15-17
May 11, 2012 - Harrogate, Tennessee — Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) will present the seventh annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival (MHLF) June 15-17 on its main campus in Harrogate, Tenn. Award-winning poet Maurice Manning will be featured as the keynote speaker and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Matraca Berg will serve as keynote musician.
The Festival celebrates Appalachian tradition, storytelling and the legacy of LMU’s rich literary heritage. Among the iconic writers who have lived and been inspired at LMU are James Still, Jesse Stewart, Don West, Emma Bell Miles and more recently MHLF founding director Silas House. The MHLF also features classes and sessions with some of the best fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, playwrights and songwriters from the region. Darnell Arnoult, LMU writer-in-residence and author of the novel Sufficient Grace, will co-direct the 2012 MHLF along with Denton Loving.
Arnoult has noted that House described the MHLF best when he said, “This is a festival that is completely down-home, accessible and fun – traits that Appalachians have rightly been known for. Instead of fancy meals, at the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival you’ll be fed the food your grandmother might have prepared for you. You’ll breathe in the crisp air of the Cumberland Mountains and be treated to traditional music strummed on an autoharp. There will be plenty of music to be heard, perhaps plays to be seen and good fellowship to be had.”
Manning is a critically acclaimed poet who has been associated with the MHLF since its founding. A native of Kentucky, he often writes about the land and culture of Appalachia. His first book of poems, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, was chosen by poet and judge W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His subsequent books include A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Lone Hunter, Back Woodsman and Bucolics. His fourth book of poetry, The Common Man, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. A new collection called The Gone and The Going Away is forthcoming, Manning teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and in the fall will begin teaching at Transylvania University in Lexington. He resides in Kentucky and is currently a Guggenheim fellow.
Berg earned her first No. 1 at the age of 18. Her first Grammy nomination came at 22. She has served as a cartographer for the hills and valleys of women’s souls, doubts, loves and sorrows for her entire life. That emotional transparency can be heard all over her newest album The Dreaming Fields. She is one of the most recorded composers and has provided pivotal hits for traditional and progressive women ranging from the Dixie Chicks to Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood to Gretchen Wilson as well as Linda Ronstadt and Dusty Springfield.
A favorite face of regular MHLF attendees, Barbara Bates Smith returns with “Agate Hill to Appomattox,” which includes excerpts from her productions based on Ron Rash’s Lincolnites, Lee Smith’s On Agate Hill and Allan Gurganus’s Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All. A Southeastern Theatre Conference ‘Best Actress’ award winner, Bates has enjoyed featured roles in numerous regional productions including “Hamlet,” “Doubt” and “Driving Miss Daisy.” Known particularly for her performance of “Ivy Rowe” from Smith’s Fair and Tender Ladies, she has adapted numerous works of literature for the stage, and she has written and performed her own original work. Musician Jeff Sebens will accompany Bates on stage.
The MHLF will also feature a brilliant line-up of master classes led by a staff of outstanding utility players. Nearly all of the instructors are writers in multiple genres. Fiction will be taught by Joseph Bathanti; poetry by Michael Chitwood; creative non-fiction by Jim Minick and writing for the stage by Lisa Soland. Additionally, George Ella Lyons will deliver the Jesse Stuart Lecture and Sue Masseck of the Reel World String Band will give a tribute concert preceding Manning’s keynote address. A MHLF regular, Pamela Duncan will serve as guest writer-in-residence.
New to the festival this year, Arnoult and Loving have added extended programming for writers looking for solitude to write or collaborative minds to inspire. The inaugural Cumberland Gap Writers Studio in collaboration with Table Rock Writers Workshop will allow writers who, after three days of inspiring workshops, panels and presentations, want to stay a little longer. The studio is designed for participants to have the time and space to write during the day. There will be opportunities in the evenings to share their work with other participants. The writers will have access to LMU facilities and landscape throughout their extended stay, and select members of the staff will be on hand as well. Writers who attend both the festival and studio will receive a discount.
A pre-conference teacher workshop will precede the MHLF on Friday, June 15. Spartanburg Writing Project instructors Tasha Thomas and Dawn Mitchell will present a program entitled, Native Soil: Discovering Place with Appalachian Writers. The methods and tests used in the workshop are appropriate for all teachers and students in grades 6-university level. Cost to attend the workshop is $50. A discount fee of $25 is offered if also attending the MHLF. There is a discounted fee of $15 for students. The pre-conference workshop fee is in addition to festival registration. The Spartanburg Writing Project is a professional development organization committed to the mission of improving writing and the teaching of writing by providing services and resources to teachers, students, schools and school districts. The workshop will meet from 9 a.m. to noon in room 124 of LMU’s Business-Education Building.
Registration for the MHLF remains open. Visit www.lmunet.edu/MHLF for more information.
Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at email@example.com.
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