Literary festival brings diversity through literature

Western Carolina University will host its 20th annual Spring Literary Festival from March 14 to 17 in the A.K. Hinds University Center theatre. Admission is free for everyone and masks are encouraged. 

This festival showcases writers from around the world with diverse backgrounds. These published writers will be on campus to present their work to students and faculty, answer questions, speak in classes, and get involved in the community at WCU. These emerging and established authors showcase a variety of literary talents. Fiction, non-fiction, and poetry will be featured at the festival, so there is something for everyone on campus. 

This event reflects the University’s commitment to providing humanities education to its students and bringing the arts to the mountains. By bringing local and national writers together, WCU is promising their own writers that they will always have a deep connection to North Carolina’s rich literary history no matter where they end up.

If you are interested in the festival and meeting award-winning writers, please come out and show your support from March 14 to 17.

 The literary festival is also accepting volunteers. If a Literary Festival Volunteer position interests you, please reach out to the festival directors at


Visiting Writers

  • Aimee Nezhukumatathil- author of the New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments.
  • Deesha Philyaw- author of the National Book Award Finalist, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.
  • Wiley Cash- author of the New York Times best-selling novel, A Land More Kind Than Home.
  • Ashley M. Jones- Poet Laureate of Alabama (2022-2026) and award-winning poet.
  • Torrey Peters- author of Detransition, Baby, longlisted for the Women’s Prize in Fiction.
  • Rachel Yoder- author of Nightbitch, longlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction.
  • Eduardo C. Corral- author of Guillotine and winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition for Slow Lightning.
  • Kerry Howley- author of the New York Times Notable Book, Thrown.
  • James Tate Hill- author of New York Times Editor’s Choice memoir, Blind Man’s Bluff.
  • Brian Brodeur- author of poetry collections Every Hour Is Late, Natural Causes, and Other Latitudes.
  • Steve Scafidi- author of Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer and award-winning poet.
  • Karen Salyer McElmurray- author of AWP Award-winning novel, Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey.
  • Ed Southern- author of Fight Songs: A Story of Love & Sports in a complicated South and Executive Director of the North Carolina Writer’s Network.
  • Meagan Lucas- author of the award-winning novel, Songbirds and Stray Dogs. 
  • Jayne Zanglein- author of The Girl Explorers and a long-time WCU professor.


Festival Schedule:

Monday, March 14th

12:00 pm – Gilbert-Chappell Poets

4:00 pm – Karen Salyer McElmurray and Meagan Lucas

7:00 pm – Ashley M. Jones


Tuesday, March 15th

12:00 pm – Brian Brodeur and Steve Scafidi

4:00 pm  – James Tate Hill and Ed Southern

7:00 pm – Deesha Philyaw


Wednesday, March 16th

12:00 pm – Winners of creative writing competitions 

4:00 pm – Rachel Yoder and Kerry Howley

7:00 pm – Wiley Cash


Thursday, March 17th

12:00 pm – Celebration of Jayne Zanglein

4:00 pm – Eduardo Corral and Torrey Peters

7:00 pm – Aimee Nezhukumatathil