West Virginia Book Festival


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Mark Brazaitis is the director of the creative writing program at West Virginia University and the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of three books of fiction, the short story collections “An American Affair” and “The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala” and the novel “Steal My Heart.” His most recent book is a collection of poems, “The Other Language,” which won the 2008 ABZ Poetry Prize.

Vic Burkhammer is news editor of The Charleston Gazette. He holds a master’s in English from WVU. His MountainWord poetry blog casts a wide-ranging net over poetry with a West Virginia connection. His favorite writers include Winston Fuller, Irene McKinney, Frank X Walker, and Steve Scafidi, but the list contains about 200 names.

Elizabeth Fraser got into library work to earn a Girl Scout badge and hasn’t left since. However, contrary to what her niece thinks, she does not actually live in the library. Her reading passions are history, biography and science fiction.

Dawn Miller is editorial page editor of The Charleston Gazette and is a member of the board of directors of Read Aloud West Virginia. She has a degree in history from WVU and a fondness for children’s literature. She grew up in southern Berkeley County.

Susan Maguire is a librarian at the Kanawha County Public Library in Charleston.  She loves hearing from book lovers, writing about books, and occasionally (obsessively), reading them.

Pam May is the marketing supervisor for Kanawha County Public Library. She has served on the Steering Committee of the West Virginia Book Festival since its inception, 18 months before the first festival in 2001. She has been chairwoman of the festival since 2006.

Greg Moore is assistant city editor of The Charleston Gazette. A longtime Morgantown resident, a WVU graduate and a lifelong reader, he has been an unofficial volunteer at the West Virginia Book Festival, helping to lead children’s parades and handing out Silly Putty, since the festival’s inception in 2001.

Mark Payne is the program officer for the West Virginia Humanities Council
and has served on the West Virginia Book Festival steering committee since
2001. Prior to joining the council he was the director of an arts center and
before that worked for the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. He has
performed traditional bluegrass and mountain music for many years, most
recently with bands Gandydancer and The Full Moon Boys.

Judy Polak is a children’s librarian for Kanawha County Public Library and the chair of children’s programs and Word Play for the West Virginia Book Festival.  A reader, writer, puppeteer, storyteller and mom, she was her classroom librarian as a second-grader and finally found her way back to the library and library school as an adult.

Mona Seghatoleslami is an announcer/producer at West Virginia Public Radio and writes about classical music in West Virginia and beyond on the Classically Speaking blog.  She also plays viola and electric bass.

A. E. Stringer is the author of two poetry collections, most recently “Human Costume.” His work has appeared in such journals as The Nation, The Ohio Review, Shenandoah, The Cincinnati Review, and in the anthology “Backcountry: Contemporary Writing in West Virginia.” He recently edited and introduced a new edition of Louise McNeill’s “Paradox Hill” from WVU Press.  For 20 years, he has taught writing and literature at Marshall University.

Phyllis Wilson Moore researches and writes about the multicultural literary history of West Virginia. Her research provided the foundation for the first official literary map of West Virginia (2004) and is the nucleus for the first Internet site devoted entirely to West Virginia literature. In addition to collecting West Virginia books and related memorabilia, Moore writes poetry, essays, short stories, and book reviews. She presents programs on West Virginia’s literature at state and national conferences.