Date(s): Monday, August 5, 2013, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Virginia Highlands Community College, Keyser-Aday Theatre

Tickets $30

Sponsored in part by:

Creative Writing Days


Daily Schedule:

8:30 a.m…….…………………………………….……….Registration:  $30

9:00 a.m………………………………..Introductions and readings of writers

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m……….…………….…………AM writing workshops

12:00-12:30…….………………………….………..Book signings and sales

12:30-1:45………..………………………….….……..Lunch (on your own)

2:00-4:00……..……………………………….……..PM writing workshops


“A Crash Course in Fiction Craftsmanship” by Silas House (AM & PM)

Silas House will offer an intensive “crash course in fiction” writing workshop that will focus on creating vivid beginnings and characterizations, conjuring effective sense of place, writing the best dialogue, and other elements of the craft.  House plans to share all the best tips he’s gathered on his own to make short stories and novels the best they can be.

“Mood: From Creative Setting to Vessel for Meaning” by Sofia Starnes (AM)

This poetry seminar will explore the role of mood in poetry: how the creative mood ushers in a poem, what role mood plays in a poem, how it bears and actually becomes the meaning of a poem. We will consider mood’s unifying presence, and the ways we, as poets, might fulfill unity of emotion in our work.  After an initial presentation, the seminar will include a writing exercise, as well an open discussion and follow-up comments.

“Out of Emotion, Into Image” by Sofia Starnes (PM)

This poetry seminar will focus on the journey we take, as poets, from an emotion-laden, inner event to an objective image. We’ll explore how the emotion that fuels a poem must rely on imagery for its survival, and how we can maximize the tension between the two for the making of a poem. After an initial presentation and a reading of poems for discussion, there will be time for writing and for follow-up comments.

“Dramaturgy for the Stage” by Nicholas Piper (AM)

What is dramaturgy, anyway?  What role does it play in the shaping of a new play?  This workshop will offer tips on everything from developing your new play to preparing your play for submission.  We will do scene analysis from new and old work in an effort to better understand structure, character, and action.  Come and find out how to make your play connect with an audience.

“Playing with Time” by Jim Minick (PM)

When we write, we become gods, creating a world with every page. So as gods, we have many gifts, one of them being the ability to play with time. The diverse ways that writers manipulate time on the page, from the micro-level to the macro, will be explored in this workshop. For even though Mr. Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons, he said, “And indeed there will be time, there will be time.” So, no coffee spoons, please, just bring your pens.

About the Authors


Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of five novels, three plays, and one work of creative nonfiction.  His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, Oxford American, Sojourner’s, and many other publications.  A former commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” he is now the host of a popular radio show, “Hillbilly Solid,” where he has interviewed artists such as Ashley Judd, Barbara Kingsolver, bell hooks, and many others.  House’s writing has been awarded the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Kentucky Novel of the Year (twice), the Parents Choice Award, the New York Public Library Storylines Prize, the Foreword Book of the Year, The Intellectual Freedom Award, the Hobson Medal for Literature, and many other honors, and was twice a finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize.  He currently serves on the fiction faculty of the Spalding University MFA in Creative Writing and as the NEH Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College.  A native of Eastern Kentucky, he presently lives in Berea, Kentucky.

Sofia M. Starnes, Virginia’s Poet Laureate (2012-2014) is the author of five poetry collections. Her chapbook, The Soul’s Landscape (Aldrich, 2002), was selected by then U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins as one of two co-winners of the 2001 Aldrich Poetry Prize. Her first full-length poetry book, A Commerce of Moments (Pavement Saw Press, 2003), won the Editor’s Prize in the 2001 Transcontinental Poetry Award competition and was named Honor Book in the 2004 Virginia Literary Awards competition. In 2008, her chapbook, Corpus Homini: A Poem for Single Flesh, was awarded the Whitebird Poetry Series Prize and published by Wings Press, who also issued her fourth collection Fully Into Ashes, a full-length book, in 2011. In 2012, Franciscan University Press published Love and the Afterlife, a limited-edition, signed and numbered, invited chapbook, as part of the university’s poetry series. Additionally, Sofia is the editor of Four Virginia Poets Laureate, 2004-2012: An Anthology and Reader’s Guide, compiled at the request of the Poetry Society of Virginia and published by Cedar Creek Press (VA) in January 2013.

Sofia’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals, among them the Southern Poetry Review, Notre Dame Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Laurel Review, Hubbub, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, Madison Review, Hotel Amerika, Marlboro Review, and War, Literature, and the Arts. Her poems also have been anthologized in the Hawai’i Pacific Review Best of the Decade issue, Turnings: Transforming Women (Old Dominion University), the 80th Anniversary Anthology of the Poetry Society of VirginiaGinosko, and Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (Wipf and Stock, 2012). She serves as Poetry Editor and Poetry Book Review Editor of The Anglican Theological Review.
Sofia has received various recognitions for her poetry. In addition to those mentioned above, she is the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the 1997 Rainer Maria Rilke Poetry Prize, the Editor’s Prize in the 2002 Marlboro Prize in Poetry competition, the 2004 Conference on Christianity and Literature Poetry Prize, the 2005 Superior Achievement Award in Poetry of the Virginia Writer’s Club, two Pushcart Prize nominations, ten finalist commendations in national and international competitions, and listings in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who of American Women. In 2009, she was designated a Distinguished Scholar by Union College (Kentucky).

Jim Minick is the author of The Blueberry Years, a memoir that won the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from Southern Independent Booksellers Association. Minick is also the author of two books of poetry, Her Secret Song and Burning Heaven, a collection of essays, Finding a Clear Path, and editor of All There Is to Keep by Rita Riddle. His work has appeared in many publications including Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Conversations with Wendell Berry, The Sun, and Wind. He lives in the mountains of Virginia.





Nicholas Piper is an Associate Artistic Director at Barter Theatre in charge of New Play Development as well as a member of the Resident Acting Company.  A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, he has dedicated himself to the fostering of new works in several different capacities.  For the past seven years he has served as the Director of Barter Theatre’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (AFPP), a new play festival dedicated to giving voice to the stories and the playwrights of the Appalachian Region.  He has helped develop dozens of new plays that have gone on to full production on Barter’s stages as well as regional theatres across the country, including Black Pearl Sings by Frank Higgins, which in 2010 was one of the top ten produced plays in the country as listed by American Theatre Magazine.  As an actor and director, he has spent much of his career working closely with playwrights, originating dozens of roles and directing several world premieres.  NEA bio 2012.



Other Creative Writing Day Event:


A Reading with Sofia Starnes: Sunday, August 4 at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church @ 2:30 p.m.  The Poetry Society of Virginia will sponsor a reading and reception for the current Poet Laureate of Virginia, Sofia Starnes on Sunday afternoon, an annual event on the eve of our full day of seminars.  Starnes will share selections from her catalog and will field questions from the attendees.  The event will also include book sales and signing, as well as light refreshments.  This is a FREE event to the public.  St. Thomas Episcopal Church is located on Main Street, Abingdon, a quarter-mile from the Barter Theatre.

For more information, contact Phil Ferguson,




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