Kathie Collins Charlotte Lit Co-Founder & Executive Director
Poet & Mythologist
Kathie Collins, Ph.D., co-founder of Charlotte Center for Literary Arts, earned her graduate degree in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she is currently an adjunct professor. A poet and lifelong student of Jungian psychology, Kathie thrives in the in-between space from which dreams and creativity emerge. She’s happiest when she can share that space with others and one of her great passions is bringing words and people together for transformative conversations. Kathie’s poetry has appeared in Immanence, Kakalak, BibleWorkbench, and Between. Her chapbook Jubilee was published by Main Street Rag in 2011.
Paul Reali Charlotte Lit Co-Founder & Operations Manager
Writer, Editor, Coach, Instructor
Paul Reali, co-founder of Charlotte Lit, is the co-author of Creativity Rising: Creative Thinking and Creative Problem Solving in the 21st Century. In addition, his work has been published in Winston-Salem Journal, InSpine, Office Solutions, Lawyers Weekly, and others. His fiction has been awarded first place in the Elizabeth Simpson Smith and Ruth Moose Flash Fiction competitions, and he received a Regional Artist Project Grant from Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council in 2018. Paul has an M.S. in Creativity from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State, where he also is an adjunct instructor and the managing editor of ICSC Press. Paul has been a trainer and facilitator for more than 25 years, in the areas of creativity, innovation, and business and writing skills.
Lisa Zerkle’s poems have appeared in The Collagist, Comstock Review, Southern Poetry Anthology, Broad River Review, Tar River Poetry, Nimrod, Sixfold, poemmemoirstory, Crucible, and Main Street Rag, among others. Author of the chapbook, Heart of the Light, she has served as President of the North Carolina Poetry Society, community columnist for The Charlotte Observer, and editor of Kakalak. She is the curator of 4X4CLT, a public art and poetry series of the Charlotte Center for Literary Arts.
Charlotte Lit Faculty
John Amen is the author of several collections of poetry; most recently, strange theater (NYQ Books, 2015) and Illusion of an Overwhelm (NYQ Books, 2017). His poetry and prose have appeared in various journals, including Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Los Angeles Review, and Colorado Review. He is a staff reviewer for the music magazine and website No Depression and a frequent contributor to The Brooklyn Rail. He founded and edits Pedestal Magazine.
Catherine Anderson, author of The Creative Photographer, knows the power of images to speak to us on a deep level. She has expanded this knowledge in her work as a SoulCollage Facilitator where imagery, imagination and intuition are used together to access our inner wisdom. Catherine teaches creativity, photography and book-making workshops in her studio in Charlotte, and at Ghost Ranch and John C. Campbell Folk School. She has published four books of collage imagery as well as Journaling the Labyrinth Path.
Tina Barr’s books include Green Target, winner of the Barrow Street Press Book Prize and the Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poems published by a North Carolinian in 2018, Kaleidoscope (Iris Press), The Gathering Eye (Tupelo Press Editor’s Prize), and three chapbooks, all winners of chapbook contests. Her Fellowships include the National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and MacDowell Colony. She teaches in the Great Smokies Creative Writing Program at UNC Asheville.
Jan Beatty’s fifth book, Jackknife: New and Selected Poems, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and won the 2018 Paterson Poetry Prize. Her last book, The Switching/Yard, was named by Library Journal one of …30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry. The Huffington Post named Beatty one of ten women writers for “required reading.” Books includeRed Sugar, Boneshaker, and Mad River, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, all published by University of Pittsburgh Press. She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University, where she runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops and is Distinguished Writer in Residence in the MFA program.
Wiley Cash is a New York Times bestselling writer. His novels have won the Southern Book Prize, the Sir Walter Raleigh Award, the Weatherford Award, and others, and they have been named notable books of the year by The New York Times, the American Library Association, and Library Journal. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Weymouth Center for the Arts, and the North Carolina Arts Council. He is the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA Program.
Bryn Chancellor is the author of the novel Sycamore, a Southwest Book of the Year and Amazon Editors’ Best Book of 2017, and the story collection When Are You Coming Home?, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, with work published in numerous literary journals. Honors include a 2018 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship and the Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. She is associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Jennifer Chang is the author of two books of poetry, The History of Anonymity and Some Say the Lark, which won the William Carlos Williams Award in 2018. Her poems and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Nation, New England Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. She co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman and teaches at George Washington University and the low-residency MFA in Writing program at Bennington College. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Sarah Creech is the author of two novels, Season of the Dragonflies (William Morrow, 2014) and The Whole Way Home (William Morrow, 2017). Her short fiction and essays have appeared in The Cortland Review, WritersDigest.com, StorySouth, Literary Mama, and others. She lives in Charlotte with her husband and children and teaches at Queens University of Charlotte.
Andrea Downs, creator of Airing Out the “Dirty” Laundry, is is an artist who has taught art for 16 years. She creates work that is designed to foster collaboration, connections, and deeper dialogue across different segments of the diverse communities within which she lives and works. Relationships, connections, identity, and an openness to engage with one another are at the center of Andrea’s work. She creates opportunities and shared experiences in order to foster the kinds of connections that build strong communities. Her most important work, in partnership with her husband, is raising her two children to believe in equality. Andrea lives and works in Charlotte.
Marvin Espy, originally from Cincinnati, trained under Franklin M. Shands, and studied oils under Henry Koerner at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he earned an Associate’s in Visual Communication. After a break of nearly 27 years Marvin began painting again. He won “Best of Show” at Hart Witzen’s SHOWDOWN events in 2013 and 2016. His work has been featured at Art with Heart, Art Unleashed, and FABO Art Café. Marvin lives in Charlotte with his wife and daughter.
Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She’s won grants and awards from the N.E.A., the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil. Fennelly has published three poetry books: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, a book of nonfiction, Great with Child, and The Tilted World, a novel she co-authored with her husband, Tom Franklin. Her newest book is Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs (W.W. Norton, 2017). Fennelly and Franklin live in Oxford with their three children.
Julie Funderburk is author of the poetry collection The Door That Always Opens from LSU Press and a limited-edition chapbook from Unicorn Press. She is the recipient of fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her work appears in Best New Poets, Cave Wall, The Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Ploughshares. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Queens University in Charlotte, where she directs The Arts at Queens.
Patrice Gopo is a 2017-2018 North Carolina Arts Council Literature Fellow. Her essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and other publications, including Gulf Coast, Full Grown People, Creative Nonfiction, and online in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is the author of All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging. She lives with her family in Charlotte.
Jaki Shelton Green is Poet Laureate of North Carolina. She is a writer and poet, a North Carolina native whose publications include Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, Blue Opal (a play), and Feeding the Light. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Crucible, Obsidian, Essence Magazine, Callaloo, and Black Gold: An Anthology of Black Poetry, among many others. In 2014 the North Carolina native was inducted into the state’s Literary Hall of Fame Among other honors, she received a 2007 Sam Ragan Award for Contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina and a 2003 North Carolina Award (literature), the state’s highest civilian honor for significant contributions to the state and nation in fine art, literature, public service, and science. Green has taught poetry and facilitated creative writing classes at public libraries, universities and community colleges, public/private schools, and literary organizations.
Since 1986, Jennifer Halls has helped thousands of people physically experience and understand how to access their deep intuitive knowing through a variety of playful practices that enable a shift in perspective. Her approach is practical, straightforward, and involves a lot of humor. The result is a seamless alignment of heart and spirit that benefits all areas of our lives, especially creative practices like writing. Jennifer is the author of The Runes Workshop: A You Know. Intuition Workbook (soon available in Spanish, too). Her website is Youknow.net.
Lola Haskins is the author of thirteen books of poetry and three of prose. Among her honors are the Iowa Poetry Prize, two Florida Book Awards, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Emily Dickinson Prize from Poetry Society of America, awards for narrative poetry from New England Review and Southern Poetry Review, and recognition for environmental writing from Florida’s Eden. She currently serves as Honorary Chancellor of the Florida State Poets Association.
Jodi Helmer is a freelance journalist and the author of six books. Her newest titles, Protecting Pollinators: How to Save the Creatures that Feed Our World and Growing Your Own Tea Garden, hit bookstores in April 2019. When she is not writing (and promoting) books, she writes articles for National Geographic Traveler, Scientific American, Sierra, NPR, Our State and WebMD, and cares for a menagerie of dogs, goats, chickens and a donkey on her hobby farm.
Irene Blair Honeycutt’s fourth poetry book, Beneath the Bamboo Sky (Main Street Rag 2017), is sub-titled Poems andPieces on Loss and Consolation. Her kinship with trees began in her childhood in FL where she often retreated to her palm hut. She still meets with the woods and enjoys writing time in her mountain cabin. Her work has been published by journals, including Nimrod, Southern Poetry Review, The SouthernPoetry Anthology: VII, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She founded CPCC’s Sensoria. Upon her retirement from teaching, the college established a Distinguished Lectureship in her name.
Charles Israel, Jr., teaches creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte. His poetry chapbook, Stacking Weather, was published by Amsterdam Press. He’s also had poems and stories in Field, The Cortland Review, Crazyhorse, Nimrod International Journal, Zone 3, Pembroke Magazine, Eleven Eleven, Journal of the American Medical Association, Waccamaw Journal, Loud Zoo, and North Carolina Literary Review. He also likes playing tennis and urban bike riding.
Caroline Langerman holds a BA in English Literature from UNC Chapel Hill and an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her personal essays on love, life, and parenting have been published in The New York Times and the websites of The Washington Post, Town & Country, Southern Living, ELLE, and Salon. She lives in Charlotte with her husband and two young children.
Paula Martinac is the author of four novels, including Clio Rising (Bywater Books, 2019), The Ada Decades, a finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, and the Lambda Literary Award-winning Out of Time.Her short stories have appeared in Raleigh Review, Main Street Rag, Minerva Rising, and others; and shehas also published three nonfiction books and numerous essays, most recently in Hippocampus. Also a playwright, her plays have been produced in Pittsburgh, New York, and Washington, D.C. She teaches creative writing at UNC Charlotte and is a writing coach with Charlotte Lit.
Rebecca McClanahan has published ten books of poetry and nonfiction, most recently “The Tribal Knot” (a multigenerational memoir) and a new edition of “Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively.” “In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays” is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2020. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Boulevard, The Sun, and numerous anthologies. Recipient of the Glasgow Award in Nonfiction, the Wood Prize from Poetry Magazine, two Pushcart Prizes, the Carter Prize for the Essay, and four literary fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, McClanahan teaches in the MFA programs of Rainier Writing Workshop and Queens University.
Ashley Memory’s fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, most recently in O’Henry, Gyroscope Review, and Mental Papercuts. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has won the Doris Betts Fiction Prize twice. Her first poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, is currently available from Finishing Line Press. Online: ashley-memory.com.
Gail Peck is the author of eight books of poetry. Her first full-length book, Drop Zone, won the Texas Review Breakthrough Contest; The Braided Light won the 2014 Lena Shull Book Contest. Poems and essays have appeared in Southern Review, Nimrod, Greensboro Review, Brevity, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Comstock Review, and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart and for Best of the Net. Her essay, “Child, Waiting,” was cited as notable by Best American Essays.
Cathy Pickens’ first mystery, Southern Fried, won the coveted St. Martin’s Press Malice Domestic Award for Best Traditional Mystery. She’s written five books in the series, as well as Charlotte True Crime Stories and Charleston Mysteries (both for History Press), an essay on historic crime cases in 27 Views of Charlotte, a regular column for Mystery Readers Journal, and articles on writing craft and on business. She served as national president of Sisters in Crime and on the national board for Mystery Writers of America. As a long-time professor in the McColl School of Business at Queens, she won numerous teaching awards.
Diana Pinckney has five collections of poetry, including The Beast and The Innocent. She is the Winner of the 2010 Ekphrasis Prize, Atlanta Review’s 2012 International Prize and Press 53 Prime Number’s 2018 Award. Her work has appeared in Cave Wall, Arroyo, RHINO, Emrys Journal, The Pedestal Magazine, Green Mountains Review, Main Street Rag and other magazines and anthologies. Pinckney admits to being addicted to writing persona and ekphrastic poems, and has led workshops on both forms for Charlotte Lit.
Jaime Pollard-Smith is a full-time writing instructor at Central Piedmont Community College with a Master of Arts from New York University. She and her husband are owners and coaches of CrossFit Jane in Charlotte. Her fiction has been published in Literary Mama, and she is a regular contributor for Scary Mommy and Project We Forgot. Read her thoughts at unbecoming.co.
Dannye Romine Powell has won fellowships in poetry from the NC Arts Council, the NEA and Yaddo. Her poems have appeared in Georgia Review, The New Republic, Harvard Review Online, Poetry, Plougshares, Paris Review and many others. Her fifth collection, The Trick Is to Dream, will be out from Press 53 in the spring of 2020. She is also the author of Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers.
David Radavich’s poetry collections have often revolved around political themes: America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007), Middle-East Mezze (2011), and The Countries We Live In (2014). His plays have been performed across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe. A cycle of plays called On the Verge focuses on various aspects of violence in our time. He has published numerous informal and scholarly essays and performed in a variety of countries, including Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, and Iceland. David has served as president of the Thomas Wolfe Society, Charlotte Writers’ Club, and North Carolina Poetry Society.
Megan Rich moved to Charlotte last summer from Denver, Colorado. She has written two books, a YA novel and a travel memoir, and is working on her third, a literary-fiction novel inspired by The Great Gatsby. As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, she was chosen to participate in the highly-selective subconcentration in creative writing, for which she completed a thesis of original poetry. In addition, she is a current member of the two-year Lighthouse Writers Workshop Book Project program. With twelve years experience as a creative writing teacher, she looks forward to providing prompts and chatting with other writers who are working through their own projects.
Kathryn Schwille is the author of the novel What Luck, This Life (Hub City Press, 2018) set in East Texas around the time of the Columbia shuttle disaster. Her short stories, which have appeared in New Letters, Memorious, Crazyhorse, West Branch and other magazines, have twice won honorable mention in the Pushcart Prize. In 2013, she was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council.
Martin Settle is a poet and an assemblage artist living in Charlotte. As a poet, he has published four books: Maple Samaras (Wild Leek Press, 2018),The Teleology of Dunes (Main Street Rag, 2015), Coming to Attention: Developing the Habit of Haiku (Main Street Rag, 2016), and The Backbone Alphabet (Xlibris, 2017). In 2016, Martin won The Poetry of Courage Award (North Carolina Poetry Society), the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, and the Griffin-Farlow Haiku Award. As an assemblage artist, Martin likes to build habitats for ideas, using found objects. He has shown his work at Ciel Gallery, McColl Center, Elder Gallery, Gallery C3, Hart Witzen, Quincy University, and UNC Pembroke.
Kristin Donnalley Sherman lives in Charlotte, where she works as a writer, editor, and writing coach. She’s published both fiction and nonfiction, and is currently at work on two novels. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Barrelhouse, Silk Road, Main Street Rag and Flashquake, and she has won or been a finalist in numerous contests, including Elizabeth Simpson Smith Short Fiction, the Writers Workshop Memoirs, the Reynolds Price Fiction, River Styx Micro-fiction, and the Press 53 Open Awards for Short Short Fiction.
Melinda Ferguson Sherman was born a Buckeye, then was a New Yorker for decades, and is now a new resident of the Queen City. She is a writer, teacher, and—for nearly 20 years—a workshop facilitator in journal and memoir writing. She is passionate about writing as a tool for exploring life, and believes a successful writer is one who writes. She has a BA from Miami University, an MA from Columbia University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Southampton. She has been an editor for Warner, Walker, and Macmillan, and an adjunct professor at SCCC (NY) and CPCC.
Gilda Morina Syverson, writer, poet, artist, educator, and speaker, is the author of the memoir My Father’s Daughter, From Rome to Sicily. Gilda’s story was a Novello Literary Award Finalist, a 2015 Nominee for the Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction, a 2016 Nominee for Author of the Year for the Artist Guild Award, a 2016 Honorable Mention for the New England Book Festival, and the 2017 Runner-Up for Autobiography in the Great Southeast Book Festival. Gilda is a long-time memoir instructor in Charlotte, including 15 years at Queens University of Charlotte.
Raegan Teller is the award-winning author of the Enid Blackwell series. Murder in Madden (Pondhawk Press, 2016) was her debut novel, followed by The Last Sale (2018) and Secrets Never Told (2019). Her novels are set in Columbia, South Carolina, where she lives with her husband. Teller writes about small-town intrigue, family secrets, and murder. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Queens University of Charlotte, and a member of Sisters in Crime, South Carolina Writers Association, and Charlotte Writers Club. RaeganTeller.com
Betsy Thorpe started in book publishing as an assistant at Atheneum, eventually becoming an acquiring and developmental editor while working at HarperCollins, Broadway Books (Random House), Macmillan, and John Wiley & Sons. She then started Betsy Thorpe Literary Services, which helps authors deliver their best work to the public, either through publishers or self-publishing. She is the co-author of numerous non-fiction books, including three featured in the New York Times, and is at work on her second novel, The Writer’s Cottage.
Elizabeth Adinolfi West is Associate Professor of English at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. She is also faculty advisor to the student creative writing organization, SWAG. Elizabeth published an essay about her son in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hopes and Miracles. She writes a weekly blog entitled “Turning Arrows into Flowers” at elizabethmwest.com.