Since 1986, I’ve taught a variety of courses and workshops in a variety of places.

Currently, at Augusta University, I teach

  • Introduction to Creative Writing
  • Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
  • Advanced Creative Nonfiction
  • Literature for the Creative Writer: Creative Nonfiction
  • Freshman Composition

Also, currently, at Converse College, I teach

  • Creative Nonfiction. Responsibilities include:
    • teaching and facilitating daily workshops during residencies,
    • delivering a Craft Lecture,
    • giving a reading,
    • and working individually with students to improve their writing and create semester plans.
    • I also serve on Selection Committee for C. Michael Curtis Editing Internship.

At Radford University, I taught  the following:

  • Core 103—A comprehensive Freshmen Honors course that focused on developing students’ skills in writing, researching, and public speaking.
  • American Literature—A survey of classics and contemporary works by American authors, all tied to a course theme of “Liberty, Community, and the American Dream.”
  • Creative Nonfiction—A writing course focusing on the diverse forms of this genre and how to make art from our lives and the world around us.
  • The Study of Fiction—A course exploring what makes a good story, by analyzing the many elements of fiction while reading a diversity of examples.
  • Freshmen Composition and Research Writing—The “standards” where students build on previous knowledge to write both personal and academic/researched essays.

What Others Say about a School Visit:

Kathy Mangan, McDaniel College: “I wish every academic week had an inspiring poet plugged into the middle of it! You were wonderful and giving with both the audience at the poetry reading and the students in the class. Your visit to McDaniel was—on all fronts—a rousing success.”


Topics that I’ve taught in writing workshops or craft lectures include the following:

  • Playing with Words: How to create fresh metaphors to improve writing. (All genres).
  • Finding Authentic Voices for Characters (fiction, primarily, but other genres, too).
  • Playing with Time: How prose writers manipulate time at all levels.
  • Truth, Lies and Form, or How Creative is CNF?
  • How to Respond to Other’s Writing
  • Op-Eds: How-to and Why

Places where I’ve taught workshops:

  • University of Virginia’s Central Virginia Writing Project (Visiting Writer)
  • West Virginia Writers Conference
  • Hindman Settlement School’s Appalachian Writers Workshop
  • Virginia’s Governor’s School for the Arts
  • Table Rock Writers Retreat
  • Tennessee Mountain Writers
  • Virginia Highlands Festival
  • Blacksburg Home-School Association
  • Radford University’s Highland Summer Conference
  • Mt. Rogers Naturalist Rally
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Alabama’s Writers Conclave
  • Lincoln Memorial University
  • Appalachian State University
  • WriterHouse, Charlottesville, VA
  • Southwest Virginia Community College
  • Roanoke Regional Writers at Hollins University
  • Appalachian Writing Project, UVA-Wise
  • Pearl Buck Homestead Museum
  • Tennessee Humanities Council’s Appalachian Young Writers Workshop at Lincoln Memorial University (7-day workshop)
  • Writing in Place Conference, Wofford University
  • Christopher Newport University
  • Thomas More College
  • High Country Literary Festival, Boone, NC

In addition, I’ve taught or lectured on many other topics related to the craft of writing, sustainable food and forestry, blueberries, and Appalachian Literature.

Recent Posts

Fire Is Your Water

I’m thrilled to announce that my novel Fire Is Your Water will be published by Ohio UP in the spring of 2017.

Here’s a book cover description:

Ada Franklin is a young powwow doctor in the Pennsylvania Dutch, religious faith tradition. By saying sacred chants, she can remove warts, stanch bleeding, and “take out fire” to heal burns. That all changes on a June day in 1953 when the Franklin barn ignites into flame. Ada and her mother enter the burning building to rescue their animals. The scorching heat, the roar of the blaze, the shrill bellows of so many cows trapped inside—all of it changes Ada. For the first time, she fears death and—for the first time—she doubts God. After the fire, she no longer can heal. Then Ada meets Will Burk and his pet raven, Cicero. And then there is another fire.

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