Since opening its doors to writers in 2000, The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow has made a lasting impact on the arts and literary communities providing uninterrupted residency time for novice and accomplished writers of all genres, including culinary, composers, and artists, without discrimination. Our podcast features some of the over 1,400 writers from 48 states and 12 countries who have stayed at The Writers' Colony, and it delves into their lives and what writing means to them.
Cheryl King is an author who lives in Eureka Springs, Arkansas with her best friend and husband, Harland. Her first career was in publishing working as a proofreader for Doubleday and then later as an editor for a vanity press publishing firm. Life then intruded and sent her on a course where she would spend the next thirty years in corporate America in the telecommunications industry. It was a vital and exciting time with massive growth and explosive changes. She participated in the launch of some of today's most critical data networks and platforms. Through all the years she carried the dream of writing and decided to pursue her passion when she parted company with corporate employment. Her story 'Red Sky at Dawn', from the Rare Coins: A Collection of Short Stories book, was chosen for inclusion in the 2019 edition of eMerge Magazine, the online magazine of the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs.
About Vicki Mayk in her own words: "I can still remember the first time I walked into a newsroom. I was 12 and it was early on a Sunday morning – probably one of the only times that it’s quiet in a place where the insanity of putting out a daily newspaper takes place. I was meeting one of the writers I admired, a dream come true for a kid from Pittsburgh who aspired to be a writer. It was a place where magic happened: Men and women wrote true stories about real people. I fell in love with writing those kinds of stories and my passion for it has never changed. First as a reporter on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Courier News in Bridgewater, N.J., and later as the editor of three university magazines, writing stories about real people, places and events has been my passion. And passion is where good storytelling begins. It’s never been “just the facts, ma’am.” During my career, I also worked for a large health-care network, writing stories about the people who deliver care and the patients who receive it. Later, as a content writer, I knew telling good stories – not writing ad copy – was the best way to build a brand in a compelling and memorable way. When I earned a Master of Fine Arts degree, I considered writing poetry or plays, but the pull of the true story remained strong and I focused on creative nonfiction. I started writing about my own life – and began helping to teach others how to write their stories. I’ve taught writing in a hospice bereavement program, adult education workshops and in a college class called “The Power of Story.” Growing Up On The Gridiron, my first nonfiction book, gave me a new opportunity to tell a true story with the kind of detail and depth I’ve always brought to my work. That’s my true story."
Jeremy Leon Hance is a writer and freelance environmental journalist, who also happens to cohabitate with mental illnesses. He has named his OCD Steve and his depression goes by the name of Malachi. He is the author of the memoir Baggage: Confessions of a Globe-Trotting Hypochondriac. As a journalist, Hance cut his teeth at Mongabay, beginning in 2009 and working as a lead writer and editor for six years. For over three years he wrote the blog Radical Conservation on the Guardian. Today, he is a columnist for Mongabay, writing monthly articles under the banner Saving Life on Earth: Words on the Wild.
As a journalist, he is passionate about wildlife conservation, climate change, forests, animal behavior, and indigenous people and many other topics. His works have appeared in Mongabay, the Guardian, HuffPost, Ensia, YaleE360, Sydney Morning Herald among others. A story on the Sumatran rhino was chosen for the 2019 edition of the Best American Science and Nature Writing.
In pursuit of stories, Hance has traveled to over 30 countries on five continents. He considers himself ridiculously lucky to have spent time with singing rhinos, dinosaur mammals, and angry clownfish.
Hance is a 2002 graduate of Macalester College with a major in English and minor in History as well as a 2009 graduate of St. John’s College’s Great Books Master’s Degree program. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife, daughter, and pooch. When not writing, he enjoys time with friends, cups of tea, long hikes, longer naps, even longer novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Aaron East is a 2019 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where he majored in English and History. Originally hailing from Royse City, Texas, Aaron is now a graduate student of English at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. His research interests include Medieval literature and history, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Emily and Raymond of Melonlight in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, are certified professional ballroom dance instructors. They have over 40 years of combined experience teaching, performing, and inspiring couples to make dance a part of their relationships. It's not a hobby for Emily and Raymond, it is their passion and career that they take seriously. Oh, but they have tons of fun too! It’s Melonlight's mission to deliver inspiring quality content that has a lasting impact.
- Intro music, "Let's Face the Music and Dance" by Nat King Cole, from his 1964 album, "Let's Face the Music and Dance."
Cynthia Sample has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Vermont College and also holds a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her writing credits include stories in SLAB, Numéro Cinq, Summerset Review, Sleet, Wichita Falls Review of Literature and Art, Between the Lines, and Love After 70. She was also a finalist in the New Letters Fiction Prize. Her stories have won first places in contests such as the Arkansas Writers’ Conference and the Ozark Writers’ Conference. Find out more about Cynthia at http://www.cynthiacsample.com/.
Jody Hobbs Hesler has written ever since she could hold a pencil. She lives and writes at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her work includes short stories, novels, feature articles, book reviews, essays, and other free-lance writing and editing.
Growing up, Jody split her time between suburban Richmond, Virginia, and the mountains outside Winchester, Virginia. Experiences of both regions flavor her writing.
Today, Jody teaches at Writer House in Charlottesville, Virginia and is offering an online course beginning September 19th, “Staying the Course.” It is designed for people with long-term writing goals, such as novels, memoirs, story collections, but it would also work for anyone who wants accountability and camaraderie for their writing discipline, even if they aren't shaping that discipline around a specific project. Find out more here: https://writerhouse.org/class/staying-the-course-2/2020-09-19/
In her eleventh year of teaching both American and women’s literature, Wendy Whelan-Stewart is an associate professor of English at McNeese State University, where she also directs the Master of Arts in English program. She has published articles on Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Plath, H.D., and Gwendolyn Brooks and is working on her first book.
Intro music "Yoga" by Janelle Monáe and Jidenna.
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is a poet, writer, and translator. His works of fiction are Beloved Comrades: a Novel in Stories (Quanah, Texas: Anaphora Literary Press, 2020) and Prodigal Children in the House of G-d: Stories (London; Cambridge; New York; Sharjah: Austin Macauley, 2018), winner of two CIPA EVVY Merit Awards (LGBTQ Fiction and Religious/Spiritual Fiction) and named a finalist for a Foreword INDIES Award (Religious (Adult Fiction)). He is the author of six books of poetry: A moyz tsvishn vakldike volkn-kratsers: geklibene Yidishe lider/A Mouse Among Tottering Skyscrapers: Selected Yiddish Poems (Tel Aviv: Bibliotek fun der haynttsaytiker Yidisher literatur/Library of Contemporary Yiddish Literature, 2017), The Education of a Daffodil/Di bildung fun a geln nartsis (Saarbrucken, Germany: Hadassa Word Press, 2017), Prayers of a Heretic/Tfiles fun an apikoyres (Austin, Tex.: Plain View Press, 2013), Uncle Feygele (Austin, Tex.: Plain View Press, 2011), What Stillness Illuminated/Vos shtilkayt hot baloykhtn (West Lafayette, Ind.:Parlor Press, 2008), and The Insatiable Psalm(Hershey, Pa.: Wind River Press, 2005). Tsugreytndik zikh tsu tantsn: naye Yidishe lider/Preparing to Dance: New Yiddish songs is a CD of nine of his Yiddish poems set to music composed by Michał Górczyński and performed by Malerai–Goldstein–Masecki (Poznan, Poland: Multikulti Project, 2014). Learn more about Yermiyahu at https://yataubdotnet.wordpress.com/.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, a writer, teacher, and facilitator, and coach and consultant who explores how the spoken, written and sung word can help us live more vibrant lives. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Caryn is the author or editor of over 20 books of poetry, fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and anthologies. A registered songwriter with BMI, her poetry and prose has been published widely.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is a visionary. She bases her writing within communities for community empowerment. I cannot tell how strongly I feel that we are lucky to have her here for her significant and sustained contributions to the word arts. ~ Denise Low, 2007-09 Kansas Poet Laureate
As a beloved workshop facilitator, she has led workshops since 1992 for adults in transition, people living with serious illness, and intergenerational and multi-cultural groups. She leads writing and singing retreats and performances with singer-songwriter Kelley Hunt through Brave Voice. She also offers writing, facilitation, and right livelihood coaching, and with Laura Packer, offers the Your Right Livelihood training.
Caryn was born in Brooklyn, and grew up there and in Manalapan, N.J. until she headed west to study journalism at the University of Missouri, where she got a labor history degree instead. She continued west to Lawrence, Kansas, where she fell in love with the land, community, and her husband. Caryn received her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, and she has trained in organizational development and group process, grassroots organizing, poetry therapy, and teaching yoga. She is the recipient of Kansas Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the Rocky Mountain National Park artist-in-residency, and other honors.
Caryn lives in the country, just south of Lawrence, Kansas with her husband, bioregional writer Ken Lassman, two big dogs and a cat, and young adult children who visit to the delight of all the humans and animals.
David Haynes is the author of seven novels for adults and five books for younger readers. He is an Associate Professor of English at Southern Methodist University where he directs the creative writing program. He also teaches regularly in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and has taught in the MFA Programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Hamline University, and at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, and at the Writers’ Garret in Dallas.
David received a fellowship from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and several of his short stories have been read and recorded for the National Public Radio series “Selected Shorts.” His sixth and most recent novel is The Full Matilda. He is also the author of a series for children called “The West Seventh Wildcats.”
For fifteen years David served as a teacher in urban schools, mostly teaching middle grades in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He worked on numerous school reform efforts, including developing the influential Saturn School of Tomorrow, where he served as Associate Teacher for Humanities.
He has been involved in the work of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, coordinating efforts of the nation’s finest educators to develop standards in the fields of social studies, vocational education, early childhood education and for teachers of students whose first language is not English. He is currently a director of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and is the Founder and Project Director for Kimbilio.
LAURA PARKER CASTORO is a best-selling author with thirty-nine (39) books published in the U.S. Her work has also been published in fifteen (15) foreign languages.
"Being a writer is the best thing in the world. You spend your days working with characters you've created, making them do and say things you think they should. If you're lucky, they listen. If you're even luckier, you get paid."
Laura began her career writing historical and contemporary romance as LAURA PARKER. Her first title was SILKS AND SABERS (May 1980, Dell). She went on to write novels in other genres: western, saga, romantic suspense, YA non-fiction, African American, and mainstream. Her most recent works include LOVE ON THE LINE, COUGAR TALES Anthology, and a re-issue of ROSE OF THE MISTS.
Other recent novels by LAURA CASTORO include humorous looks at the contemporary life, loves, and trials of women of "a certain age". These include A NEW LU and ICING ON THE CAKE. Both are available as ebooks.
Molly Sroges is a linguist-poet who teaches English as a Second Language at Green Forest High School. She has been published in Scibendi and performed poetry all over Arkansas, as well as representing Northwest Arkansas at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Albuquerque and Dallas. She is the current host of the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective, on the last Tuesday of the month in Fayetteville, and of Word Brews, on the second Thursday at Brews in Eureka Springs. She is also a co-host of the podcast Reading Circle Temple, which can be found at www.readingcircletemple.com.
Jacqueline Wolven amplifies real places, people and work through the motto #DoGoodWork.
Authenticity isn't just a buzzword in the Do Good Work Studio. I live it. Write about it. Push and pull it out of you and your company/project/idea. It is my highest goal in all the work I do to help you have that aha moment.
You, of course, can hire me to work directly with you, book me to speak or facilitate your group. Let's talk. Email or Call +1-479-244-5074. Or you can sign up for my letter that I send out once a month to motivate you to do good work.
Some fun facts about me:
I’m a teetotaler.
My first job was taking photographs in Roaring 20’s costume at Knott’s Berry Farm.
I started out as a women’s studies major, but decided that I would like to a) eat and b) influence people. I’ve been marketing huge corporations, destinations, nonprofits, small businesses and events for 20+ years. I know my stuff.
I worked, as a kid, for Taco Bell for 20 minutes. Really, if you saw what they do to make that food you would have lasted as long as I did too.
I’ve been meditating for over 27 years. Trust me when I say it is still a practice.
Lonnie Whitaker’s first novel, Geese to a Poor Market, was published September 2010 and was awarded the Ozark Writers’ League Best Book of the Year. His stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Missouri Life, The Ozark Mountaineer, Echoes of the Ozarks, Cuivre River Anthology, and he has received awards in nationally advertised fiction contests.
He served as an editor for Peculiar Pilgrims: Stories from the Left Hand of God, (Hourglass Books, 2007), and as the literary fiction editor for High Hill Press (2012-2017) He was awarded the 2005 Starr Fellowship at the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow. His short story, “A Story Finally Told” was published in Mysteries of the Ozarks Volume V, October 2017. (Also available on Amazon.)
Lonnie’s first children’s picture book, Mulligan Meets the Poodlums was published November 2017 by Little Hands Press has over 50 Star Amazon reviews.
His western short story, “Coffin Nails in Callaway County” was published in the first anthology by Five Star Press, an imprint of Cengage, June 2018. A second Western story, “Grogan’s Choice,” will be published in the Five Star Press anthology, Hobnail, December 2019.
Author Jane Elzey writes a modern-day cozy mystery about four audacious women and the games they play to win... while husbands die trying. As spirited in their middle-aged years as they were in their youth, Amy, Zelda, Genna and Rian manage to land in trouble wherever they go. Join these four friends on their adventures in an Ozarks tale of calamity and Southern sass, as they unravel whodunnit and whodidn't. Jane Elzey writes from her home in the Ozark Mountains in the Natural State. Enjoy the ride and camaraderie at The Cardboard Cottage & Company with these zany women who live their lives like it's nobody's business but their own. Until someone's husband dies. The husband always dies. Find out more at https://cardboardcottagemystery.com/.
As the daughter of an Arkansas farmer, Talya Tate Boerner grew up playing in the cotton fields of Mississippi County while perfecting the art of making mudpies. After high school, she attended college at Baylor University, graduating with an economics degree primarily because her Daddy said, “If I’m paying for college, you’ll get a business degree.” So that’s what she did.
For nearly thirty years, Talya lived in Dallas, built a successful banking career, married, raised two incredible children and enjoyed life—all the while planning to someday return to Arkansas.
In 2011, after an “aha” moment, (the topic of her forthcoming memoir, Gene, Everywhere) she left banking to pursue her dream of writing. Now she lives in Fayetteville with her husband, John, and two miniature schnauzers, Lucy and Annabelle. Her family still farms in the Arkansas Delta.
Talya’s debut novel, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, was released in January 2016. Although the story is fiction, the characters and setting will be familiar and relatable, especially to those with southern roots, less than perfect families, and questions about life in general. The Second Edition of The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee is now available – complete with illustrations!)
Talya is a contributor to Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Front Porch Magazine where she writes a regular column, Delta Child. Her short stories, essays, and micro-fiction have been published in Arkansas Review, Ponder Review, and other print and on-line journals. She shares stories of farm, food, garden, and life on her personal blog, Grace Grits and Gardening. Follow her on Goodreads too!
Although a Yankee by birth, Allyn Lord has called Northwest Arkansas home for more than half of her life and worked in its museums for more than thirty-five years. She has been active in numerous professional museum organizations in Arkansas, the Southeast, and the U.S. She serves as a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums and as a field reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Currently serving on the board of the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, Allyn may be found in her off-hours working on a historical biography, spoiling various cats, and hosting the occasional game-show fundraiser.
Wife, Mom, Social Worker, and now Author, Sanya Whittaker Gragg has always had a passion for working with and inspiring kids. She holds degrees from the University of Memphis, Georgia State University, and the University of Southern California. She has worn many hats including 10 years in marketing/PR and athletics; working for NIKE, the Detroit Pistons and the University of Michigan Athletics Department. Sanya also worked as an assistant to best selling author, E.Lynn Harris. Her community work has included serving on the board for a homeless shelter for families, and advocating in the courts for foster children as a CASA. This prompted her to pursue her M.S.W, leading her to work for Tulsa Public Schools as a school based therapist and social worker
Over the years, Sanya has also taken breaks in her career to be at home full time supporting her children with their many activities, as well as supporting her husband with his demanding job as an athletic director. Raising two black sons (now young adults) prompted her to write her debut book, “Momma, Did You Hear the News?” It is centered around ten year old Avery who is in a panic over the shooting of another unarmed black man. It was featured in Essence, the Huffington Post and several other national outlets. Her follow up book, "Daddy, Did You Hear the News?" addresses bullying which she often witnessed working with young children. Both books encourage readers to “memorize the 5” as she uses catchy chants to help remember what to do when faced with these challenging situations.
A to the L to the I-V-E... come home ALIVE...that is the KEY!
B to the U to the L-L-Y...when they go low...then we go HIGH!
Harrie Farrow grew up in the Virgin Islands and graduated summa cum laude from San Francisco State with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Human Sexual Studies. A brief career in freelance writing in the Virgin Islands was followed by a move to the Ozarks, where she opened and operated a fine dining restaurant for 18 years.
She became an investigative reporter after retiring from the restaurant business, but four slashed tires convinced her to quit that line of work and instead focus on publishing her bisexual themed novel, “Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe.”
Farrow is also a former board member of BiNet USA. She’s written a monthly bisexual column for The Gayly; written articles for Bi Women Quarterly, including a piece entitled “Solutions for Bisexual Mental Health Issues;” and was the exclusive writer on bisexual topics for the online LGBT news and entertainment site, Hornet, and wrote for the Bisexual Institute of America’s blog, and BiNet USA’s blog.
Also, in 2016, Farrow was a nominated Change Maker to the White House Summit on the State of Women, and in conjunction, attended the Federal Justice Department’s symposium on violence against women. She was selected also that year to participate in the White House’s convening on Advancing Progress for Rural LGBT peoples. In 2016 as well, Farrow gave a workshop at the Bisexual Empowering Conference (BECAUSE) on bisexual specific mental health issues. Later that year, Farrow was given a scholarship to take part in Arkansas HRC’s LGBT competency training for medical and mental heath professionals.
In 2017 Farrow got involved in resistance work, and became an Indivisible leader in her area. Working with the Center for Popular Democracy and other National advocacy/activism organizations, she participated in more than a dozen actions in Washington D.C including being arrested 9 times in civil disobedience actions, such as during the Kavanaugh hearing and the Senate vote on the GOP Tax bill.
In 2018 Farrow was elected as Justice of the Peace in Carroll Country Arkansas, and is running for a second term.
She is working on completing her second novel, “Finding Bonita.”
Please contact Harrie Farrow for requests to speak, write, consult and/or educate about bisexuality, resistance activism, Twitter for activism/advocacy, or diversity and inclusivity.
DAVINA S. KOTULSKI, PH.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, sought after speaker, and award-winning, best-selling author with a thriving private therapy practice in Los Angeles, California and an international life coaching practice.
She’s worked with successful authors, HBO and syndicated actors, managers, vice presidents of companies, seven-figure professionals, non-profit leaders, hospital administrators, entrepreneurs, and medical professionals. She’s helped clients move through fear, self-doubt, transition, creative blocks, grief and loss, coming out, and even gender reassignment surgery to lead fulfilling, empowered lives.
She facilitates workshops and webinars including following your courageous heart, past life regression, mysticism, spiritual growth, self-empowerment, and authentic self-expression.
Her book It’s Never Too Late to Be Your Self: Follow Your Inner Compass and Take Back Your Life is now an award-winning audiobook, ebook and paperback.
She’s also the author of Why You Should Give a Damn About Gay Marriage , Love Warriors: The rise of the marriage equality movement and why it will prevail and Behind Barbed Eyes. She created the How to Come Out Of the Closet and Into Your Power audio programs addressing coming out and living an authentic life.
As a respected leader in the LGBT equality movement, Davina Kotulski has appeared in dozens of documentaries, Newsweek magazine, USA Today, CNN, the San Francisco Chronicle, L.A. Times, the Oregonian, and several other mainstream newspapers throughout the United States and Europe. Davina has shared the stage with comedian Margaret Cho, civil rights leaders Rev. Cecil Williams, Dolores Huerta, and Senator Mark Leno, and celebrities Cloris Leachman, Dustin Lance Black, and Armistead Maupin. She’s received numerous awards for her public speaking and leadership including; the Saints Alive Award and San Francisco LGBT Pride Community Grand Marshal.
After receiving her Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1996, Dr. Kotulski worked for over 13 years as a psychologist in a federal prison, leading empowerment workshops with female inmates, introducing them to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn, Napoleon Hill, and Tony Robbins.
She is passionate about helping people overcome obstacles to make their dreams come true.
Bill McCloud has been teaching American history since 1974 and is a three-time Teacher of the Year. Bill has been on-site at WCDH as a guest reader at Poetluck in November 2018 and again in April 2019 for National Poetry Month. He is a frequent contributor to WCDH’s eMerge Online Literary Magazine. Bill’s first book, “WHAT SHOULD WE TELL OUR CHILDREN ABOUT VIETNAM?” (University of Oklahoma Press), was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. All of his Vietnam War papers have been purchased by the main library at Harvard University. Dozens of his Vietnam War poems are part of the official curriculum in both English and American History classes at the University School of Milwaukee, WI, one of the nation's leading private college-preparatory schools. His new book, “THE SMELL OF THE LIGHT” (Balkan Press), consists of 106 poems that cover, chronologically, his year in Vietnam. He's a 2017 Woody Guthrie Poet and is an adjunct professor of American history at Rogers State University. He lives in Pryor, OK, where a Little League baseball field has been named in his honor. Check out some of Bill’s work at https://emerge-writerscolony.org/author/bill/.
Dr. Kathy Martone is a Jungian Psychologist and healer in private practice since 1986. She has served as a company psychologist for a large corporation and has previously taught at Colorado Free University, Iliff School of Theology, Naropa University, and Jungian Ministries International. For the past 20 years, she has been in analysis with Richmond K. Greene, past chair of the New York Jungian Institute. Steeped in the ancient traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Celtic Spirituality, Dr. Martone is a warm and compassionate healer who has crafted deep intuitive wisdom out of her many and varied life experiences. She has written a book entitled “Sacred Wounds” that chronicles a woman’s spiritual and emotional journey through the dark memories of incest.
Doug Stowe began his woodworking career in 1976.
In 1977 Doug founded the Eureka Springs Guild of Artists and Craftspeople. In 1995, he started writing books and articles about woodworking. In 1998, he was one of three founders of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.
In 2001 he started the Wisdom of the Hands Program at the Clear Spring School, a small independent school in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to prove the value of wood shop and hands-on learning. In 2006 he began his blog, Wisdom of the Hands. In 2009, the Arkansas Arts Council named Doug an Arkansas Living Treasure for his work with wood and in education.
He has published 90 articles in various woodworking magazines and educational journals and has written 13 books on woodworking techniques.
Doug continues to teach woodworking grades 1-12 at the Clear Spring School, to work daily in his own shop, and to travel around teaching adult woodworking classes for schools and clubs.
He lives in a hardwood forest at the edge of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, with his wife, Jean.
Our beloved poet and writer, Ruth Weinstein, has published her memoir, "Back to the Land: Alliance Colony to the Ozarks in Four Generations" as a descendant of original settlers of the Alliance Colony in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, New Jersey. It was the first successful Jewish farming community in America. Ruth tells the story of her forbears, her time in Alliance and Norma as a child and teenager, and her life as a long-time member of the back-to-the-land movement in the Ozarks of Arkansas.
Karen writes both fiction and creative nonfiction. Her memoir, Surrendered Child, won the AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction and was listed as a “notable book” by the National Book Critics Circle. She is also the author of Motel of the Stars, Editor's Pick from Oxford American, and a Lit Life Book of the Year. Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven (University of Georgia Press), a novel that won the Lillie Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing and, most recently, Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean, co-edited with Adrian Blevins, from Ohio University Press. Her essays have won the Annie Dillard Prize, the New Southerner Prize, the Orison Magazine Anthology Award and have several times been Notable in Best American Essays. A collection of her essays is forthcoming from Iris Books. Her newest book, a novel called Wanting Radiance, will be released in April 2020 from University Press of Kentucky.
Karen has an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Virginia, an MA in Creative Writing from Hollins University, and a PhD from the University of Georgia, where she studied American Literature and Fiction Writing. Her work has received numerous awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She is frequently visiting writer and lecturer at a variety of programs and reading series.
Karen is a lover of lakes, animals, sunlight, and her native Appalachian tongue.
Jonathan Vatner is an award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Poets & Writers; and many other publications. He has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University. He lives in Yonkers, NY, with his husband and cats. Carnegie Hill is his first novel. His second novel, The Bridesmaids Union, is forthcoming from Thomas Dunne Books in 2021.
Wendy Reese Hartmann is a yoga and mindfulness mentor, author, speaker, host of The Whole Being Zone and a 500 Registered Yoga Teacher/200 private yoga hour eRYT with rs of teaching experience. Wendy considers yoga asana to be training for living whole off the mat. She infuses ancient wisdom with pragmatic woo-woo in applicable, fun, and slightly irreverent ways to optimize wholeness.
Wendy holds a BS in Exercise Science from Northern Arizona University and a MA in Applied Community Change and Conservation from Future Generations Graduate School. She has worked in the field of health and wellness for 25 years!
She is the host of a youtube channel that offers yoga and mindfulness for leaders. She is the host of two podcasts: The Whole Being Zone and Mindfulness Miracles.
She is the author of two books on Amazon and you can find her writing in MindBodyGreen, Huffington Post, Yogadownload, Elephant Journal, and BrainSpeak.
An award-winning artist, Zeek Taylor has been the subject of many one-man-exhibits and juried shows. He is the recipient of the Arkansas Governor's Art Award for Lifetime Achievement, and his paintings have hung in the Arkansas Governor's Mansion. He received the 2018 Idle Class Magazine Black Apple "Legacy" award.
His work has been displayed on five occasions in the Arkansas Arts Center, three times in the prestigious Delta Exhibition and two times in the International Toys Designed by Artists Exhibition. Zeek has earned several "Best of Show" awards. His work is available in the museum store at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR.
A storyteller and writer, he has performed twice on the National Public Radio show "Tales from the South," and his stories were heard by more than 130 million listeners worldwide. A StoryCorps interview with Zeek is on file in the Library of Congress. A segment of the interview aired on NPR's Morning Edition and was heard by 50 million listeners. He gave a TedX talk in Bentonville, AR, and is the author of two published books: "Chimps Having Fun," and "Out of the Delta." Zeek lives and maintains a studio in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Working with watercolor, I often forsake the standard rules imposed on the medium, exploring all possibilities, while ever respectful of its transparent and fluid properties. I paint with greater concern for style over realism and with a focus on pattern and color theory. The one rule that I adhere to is “break the rules.”
Eric Sasson is the author of the short story collection “Margins of Tolerance” (Livingston Press, 2012) and the forthcoming novel, “Admissions.” His stories have been nominated for the Robert Olen Butler Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and one is in The Best Gay Stories 2013. For three years, he wrote “Ctrl-Alt,” a column on LGBT culture for the Wall Street Journal, and he is now a regular contributor to The New Republic and GOOD magazine. His political articles have been featured on “Meet the Press” and “Morning Joe,” and his December 2016 article “Turning Fury into Fuel” for GOOD magazine just won a National Magazine Award “Ellie” for Personal Service. Other publication credits include pieces in Salon, Five Points, William and Mary Review, The Puritan, BLOOM and Nashville Review, among others. He was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference and is the recipient of fellowships to several residencies, including Ragdale, VCCA, Hambidge, Anderson Center and I-Park, among others. He received his MA in Creative Writing from NYU and has taught fiction writing in Brooklyn, where he was born, bred, and still resides.
Hannah Bae is a freelance journalist and nonfiction writer who is at work on a memoir about family estrangement and mental illness.
Her work has been published in books including “(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation on Mental Health” (Algonquin Young Readers, 2018) and “The Monocle Travel Guide, Seoul” (food and drinks chapter co-editor/writer, 2018).
She is focused on stories about Korean American culture and identity, and in 2019, several of her essays received nominations for The Pushcart Prize. She was a 2019 Open City fellow in narrative nonfiction at Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Through 2018 and 2019, Hannah served as president of Asian American Journalists Association’s New York chapter, for which she was named AAJA National’s Chapter President of the Year in 2019.
Hannah has worked full-time for organizations such as CNN Business, Newsday and the U.S. State Department. She started her journalism career in Seoul on a Princeton-in-Asia fellowship that led to full-time editor positions at some of South Korea’s largest news organizations and freelance work with CNN, Monocle, Eater, The Associated Press and other clients.
She serves as a reader for the literary journal Pigeon Pages, as a co-director of AAJA’s national mentoring program and as a volunteer with Womankind, a nonprofit that serves survivors of gender-based violence.
Hannah is also an illustrator whose work can be found on Goldthread, Tricycle.org, SupChina and EatDrinkDraw.com, the website she runs with her husband, Adam Oelsner. She and Adam live in Brooklyn with their dog, Ramona.
Ruth Mitchell has been writing non-fiction articles for many years. White Oak is her first work of fiction. Her articles have appeared in Art & Antiques, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, American History, Fodor’s USA Travel Guide and Fodor’s Great American Vacations, Watercolor, American Style, Niche, Wedding Dresses, and Sailing magazines. Ruth interviewed world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli for Echoes magazine; wrote an article on early aviatrixes, Louise Thaden and Amelia Earhart, for American History magazine as well as many travel articles on Europe, the Bahamas, San Francisco, Antigua, and Napa Valley for Romantic Destinations. She has been editor of At Home in Arkansas and Special Publications Editor for Arkansas Business. Ruth also wrote Arkansas Heritage, a state-adopted Arkansas History textbook for elementary-aged children.
You may find out more about Ruth by visiting:
After leaving the US Army, Dan worked various odd jobs while studying at the University of Minnesota. In 1983, he and a partner launched a software start-up and Dan hit the road to peddle it. That was the start of his life as a traveling man who's been in every state of the Union, along with towns in Korea, the Ukraine, Laos, Cambodia, the Former Soviet Union, Egypt, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Eastern Europe, Italy, Kosovo...well, let's just say that Dan "was on the last slow boat to China and the last plane to leave Saigon."
Feet on the road for sure, but with heart and mind in the little town of Berryville, nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Dan wrote about life in the Ozarks while sitting in airports all over the world, imagining and bringing to life it's odd culture, tender time-traveling mercies, and occasional visits by time traveling saints, reformed serial killers, and the real-life people who happened to find their way into fiction.
I have a passion for learning people’s stories: the way we do things, individually and as a society; how we share our values and face our challenges; what motivates our interaction with the world.
I have worked as a freelance journalist since 2003, focusing on religion and spirituality, backpacking and hiking, social justice and politics, civil rights, and public speaking.
From 2006 to 2015 I wrote The Straight Path blog for the Houston Chronicle. I have also contributed to the paper’s Belief and Gray Matters sections. I have written on politics and civil rights for the MuslimMatters online magazine. I have been a regular contributor to the Religion News Service, Azizah, Islamic Horizons, The Trek, The Lily, and Toastmaster.
From 2013 to 2017 (with a break to finish working on my MFA manuscript), I served as Communications Coordinator for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In that position, I was responsible for sharing the chapter’s message, our goals and activities, through print and online media as well as press appearances and interviews.
From 2008 to 2011, I managed Light of Islam, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit bookstore and educational center whose mission was to share accurate information about Islam and Muslims. We sold books, CDs and DVDs that covered everything from Qur’anic studies to modern fiction. Light of Islam offered classes in Islam 101, Qur’anic studies, and events and club meetings.
In December 2003, I completed a Master of Arts degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I received the school’s Presidential Fellowship. My capstone project profiled drug offenders going through the Roxbury, Massachusetts drug court system.
I followed the journalism degree with a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from Goucher College in 2015. My final manuscript is a combination of reported writing and memoir examining the experience of minority religions in the United States which I am currently developing into a book.
I am president of the Society of Professional Journalists Houston Pro chapter and a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Writers League of Texas and Religion Newswriters Association. I serve in a volunteer capacity as communications director for Houston Women March On. I also volunteer with Team Brownsville, providing humanitarian aid to asylum seekers on the southern border.
I am a New Jersey native based in Houston, where I have lived since 2003.
Philip Cioffari grew up in the Bronx and received his B.A. from St. John's University and his Ph.D. from New York University. He teaches in the writing program at William Paterson University. His novels and story collections include: If Anyone Asks, Say I Died From The Heartbreaking Blues; The Bronx Kill; Catholic Boys; Dark Road, Dead End; Jesusville; and A History Of Things Lost Or Broken.
His independent movie, Love In The Age Of Dion, has won numerous film festival awards including, Best Feature Film at the Long Island International Film Expo and Best Director at the NY International Film and Video Festival. His short stories have been published widely in literary and commercial magazines and anthologies, including North American Review, Playboy, Michigan Quarterly Review, Northwest Review, Southern Humanities Review, 100% Pure Florida Fiction, Italian Americana, The Westchester Review, etc.
His plays have been produced off and off-off-Broadway at the Chelsea Playhouse, The Belmont Italian American Playhouse, American Globe Theater and American Theatre for Actors, among others. He is a member of the Playwrights/Directors Unit of the Actors Studio.
Called by the Chicago Tribune, “An earthy, red-headed yarn-spinning woman,” Crescent Dragonwagon is the much-published author of fifty books in five genres, numerous magazine articles, and two blogs. Presently, at 6:00 p.m. CST on Facebook Live, Crescent reads aloud each evening with tech/text support by Mark Graff. Selections are books she's written and ones written by her mother, Charlotte Zolotowoffers. You can find her delicious recipies (like the lentil soup mentioned in the podcast) on her blog as well as in her cookbooks.
Crescent is the developer and leader of the Fearless WritingTM family of on- and off-line workshops and courses, which have helped hundreds of writers write (and in many cases publish) with greater ease, more authenticity of voice, and less angst.
One of her best-known students was the late Julia Child, who took Fearless when she was over 80, preparatory to beginning her memoir, My Life in France. “I loved (Fearless), ” Julia wrote. “And I recommend it often and enthusiastically, to both established and aspiring writers; indeed, to anyone in search of a rejuvenating new way of looking at and understanding life. ”
Born in New York, Crescent spent the majority of her life in the South, in the Ozark Mountain resort town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
There, for eighteen years, she ran an acclaimed country inn and restaurant called Dairy Hollow House with her late husband, the writer/historic preservationist Ned Shank.
“You don’t have to believe in reincarnation to believe in reincarnation,” she has sometimes said, “Just live long enough.” Some of her lifetimes in the one life she’s living actually include
growing up in a literary family, the daughter of show-business biographer Maurice Zolotow and children’s book writer/editor Charlotte Zolotow (she now serves as literary executor to both her parents...
writing eight culinary-memoirs, including the James Beard Award-winning Passionate Vegetarian, Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread Cookbook, The Cornbread Gospels and Bean by Bean (click here to hear an NPR interview on the latter, in On Point with Tom Ashbrook)
…which (along with her life as a chef/innkeeper/restaurateur) led to the distinction of having prepared beans and cornbread for a U.S. President (Bill Clinton), titled royalty (Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia), and world-renowned feminist (Betty Friedan)
She also prepared brunch for 1200 people at Bill Clinton’s first presidential election.
… which lead to appearances on Good Morning America, Today, TVFN, & CNN
Writing 28 children’s books, including the Coretta Scott King Award-winning Half a Moon and One Whole Star and the Golden Kite Winner Home Place (both illustrated by Jerry Pinkney)
… which lead to more than 20 years of periodic appearances and workshops in schools and universities, initially as part of the NEA-funded Artists-in-Schools Program
the publication of two novels, including New York Times Notable The Year It Rained (published in five languages) and, in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Zindel, the young-adult novel, To Take a Dare. Both are available on Kindle.
She’s also published a book of poetry, Message from the Avocados.
having the privilege of walking her late mother, Charlotte Zolotow, through the last five years of her life until her death at the age of 98
Charles Templeton, author of Boot: A Sorta Novel of Vietnam, was born in deep East Texas in 1946. So deep, they had to pipe in the sunshine. His parents were nomads in the Mojave Desert in the fifties where Chuck Yeager taught him how to crush beer cans on his forehead. After being dismissed from the Copyle Lincoln Therapeutic Boarding School for Miscreant Teenage Girls, he attended Sherman High School in Sherman, TX. He was admitted to Austin College after promising to bring back all of the furniture that had disappeared from the office of the president. As the president of the college predicted, Charles found himself in the Marine Corps in 1967. Charles went aboard a Caribbean bound helicopter carrier with his squadron in the Spring of 1968 to prevent the insurgent Cuban communist guerillas from invading Florida. His squadron was so successful that Charles was promoted to corporal and received orders for Vietnam shortly afterward. Charles served as a Marine Corps helicopter crew chief in HMM-265 in Vietnam in 1968 – 69, where he earned his Air Crew wings and flew over 150 missions. He was promoted to Sergeant and received orders for the Presidential Helicopter Squadron when his squadron was ordered to stand down in 1969.
Charles completed his B.A. at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, in 1973 and M.ED. from North Texas State Univ. in 1974 after paying off his excessive parking fines.
After a career in education in Texas and becoming a hundredaire, Charles retired. He moved with the love of his life, Sandra, to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He is a board member of The Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow and creator of the Write Now at The Writers' Colony podcast.
Charles has three adult daughters and five granddaughters who continue to bring joy, love, headaches from laughter into his world.
Charles still enjoys Bleu de Hue brownies, a Templetini, and listening to music from the Vietnam era. Life never seems to grow old.
Charles is still a voracious reader and lover of the written and wakes up every day, thankful for the gifts he has been given, and looking forward to whatever adventures the day brings. Knowing that whatever happens, it beats ‘shovelin’ shit in the south China Sea.’
Martha Anne Toll's fiction has appeared in Catapult, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, eMerge, Slush Pile Magazine, Yale's Letters Journal, Inkapture Magazine, Referential Magazine, and Poetica E-Magazine. Her essays and reviews appear regularly on NPR and in The Millions; as well as in Washington Post's The Lily, The Rumpus, Bloom, Scoundrel Time, After the Art [forthcoming] Narrative Magazine, [PANK] Magazine, Cargo Literary, Tin House blog, The Nervous Breakdown, Heck Magazine, and the Washington Independent Review of Books. Martha was a nominator and critic for NPR's 2017, 2018, and 2019 book concierge. A four-time finalist in Glimmer Train writing contests, Martha won the Dante Society of America’s prize for the best essay written by an undergraduate at an American or Canadian university.
The themes in Martha's fiction include the emotional power of music, the interplay of time and memory, and the disciplined life. At Tin House Writers’ Workshop, Martha worked with Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Harding, and novelist Pauls Toutonghi. At the Colgate Writers’ Conference, she worked with novelist Brian Hall. Martha's novel in process was longlisted for the 2019 Dzanc Fiction Award [top 10 out of 700 entries] and shortlisted for the 2016 Mary Roberts Rinehart fiction contest. She was a 2017 and 2018 Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and was a 2019 fellow at VCCA's Moulin à Nef. Martha was also awarded a 2019 residency at Monson Arts and at Dairy Hollow for 2020. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and serves as a frequent interviewer at Washington DC's beloved independent bookstore Politics & Prose.
Martha is the Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based Butler Family Fund, a path-breaking social justice philanthropy governed by a family board in the US and the UK. The Butler Family Fund is deeply committed to racial equity in all of its work and supports advocacy to prevent and end homelessness and reform the criminal justice system, with particular focus on abolishing the death penalty and ending the sentence of juvenile life without parole. Martha serves on the board of Funders Together to End Homelessness and is an active member of 8th Amendment Project’s collaborative dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty in the U.S. She speaks at conferences around the country as well as frequently contributing to philanthropic publications.
Martha grew up in suburban Philadelphia and majored in music at Yale University, performing as a violist in the Yale Symphony and numerous chamber music groups and other ensembles. She studied viola with Max Aronoff, a founding member of the Curtis String Quartet, and Lillian Fuchs, faculty at the Juilliard School. Martha received her law degree from the Boston University School of Law.
To learn more about Martha, visit marthaannetoll.com.
Wendy Taylor Carlisle was born in Manhattan, raised in Bermuda, Connecticut and Ft Lauderdale, Florida and lives now in the Arkansas Ozarks in a house she built in 1980. She has an MA from The University of Arkansas and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of The Mercy of Traffic (Unlikely Books, 2019), Discount Fireworks (Jacaranda Press, 2008) and Reading Berryman to the Dog (Jacaranda Press, 2000.) Chapbooks include They Went to the Beach to Play (Locofo Chaps, 2016), Chap Book (Platypus Press, 2016), Persephone on the Metro (MadHat press, 2014), The Storage of Angels (Slow Water Press, 2008), and After Happily Ever After (Two River Chapbooks, 2003.) Her work appears in multiple anthologies and in The Writers' Colony's literary magazine, eMerge.
Margie Semilof is a Boston-based playwright. Her short plays have been produced at a variety of regional and national festivals, such as The Group Rep, in LA, Theatre East, in New York, Firehouse Center for the Arts, Newburyport, Mass., at Greenbrier Valley Theatre New Voices, Lewisburg, WV., and the Weathervane 8x10 in Akron, Ohio, to name a few. She was recently commissioned by Theatre East in NYC to write short pieces for the 5x5 festival that ran in conjunction with the NYCPride Festival in 2019, and a piece for students at Stella Adler Studio's summer program in New York. Her full-length comedy, Queen of the Coast, recently received a staged reading in development with Traguna Productions, NYC. She is vice president of Playwrights Platform, a playwright cooperative in Boston.
An Ohio native, Michael Fontana has lived in Bella Vista for the past 11 years. He worked as an activist, teacher, and fundraiser before retirement. His poems most recently appeared in eMerge, Oakland Review, and Owen Wister Review. He earned creative writing degrees from Charter Oak College and Miami University. Awards include an Older Writers Grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation and a Sally A. Williams Artist Fund Grant from the Arkansas Arts Council. His past work providing creative opportunities for homeless people and people with mental illness still gives him his greatest sense of accomplishment.
Keija Parssinen graduated cum laude from Princeton University, where she studied English literature and received a certificate from the Program for the Study of Women and Gender. She earned her MFA at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote fellow, a Teaching and Writing fellow, and the student editor of the Iowa Short Fiction contest. After finishing the program, she won a Michener-Copernicus award for her debut novel, The Ruins of Us, which was published in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Italy and around the Middle East. The novel was long-listed for the Chautauqua Prize, was chosen as Book of the Month by National Geographic Traveler, and was selected as a Best Book of the Middle East Region by Turkey’s Today’s Zaman newspaper. In Fall 2019, it was published in Arabic by the Syrian Ministry of Culture.
Her second novel, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, won an Alex Award from the American Library Association, was chosen as Book of the Month by Emily St. John Mandel, and was selected as a Best Book of the Year by the Kansas City Star, Lone Star Literary Life, Missouri Life, Vox Magazine, and Brazos Bookstore.
Her short fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Review of Books, the Lonely Planet travel-writing anthologies, World Literature Today, Slate, The Arkansas International, The Brooklyn Quarterly, Slice Magazine, Salon, Five Chapters, the New Delta Review, Marie Claire, Off Assignment, and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by fellowships and residencies from Hedgebrook, the Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, the Vermont Studio Center, Playa Summer Lake, the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, and The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, where she was a My Time Fellow.
Keija was born in Saudi Arabia and lived there for twelve years before her family moved to Austin, Texas. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Kenyon College and lives in Ohio with her family.
Wendy Taylor Carlisle was born in Manhattan, raised in Bermuda, Connecticut and Ft Lauderdale, Florida and lives now in the Arkansas Ozarks in a house she built in 1980. She has an MA from The University of Arkansas and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of The Mercy of Traffic (Unlikely Books, 2019), Discount Fireworks (Jacaranda Press, 2008) and Reading Berryman to the Dog (Jacaranda Press, 2000.) Chapbooks include They Went to the Beach to Play (Locofo Chaps, 2016), Chap Book (Platypus Press, 2016), Persephone on the Metro (MadHat press, 2014), The Storage of Angels (Slow Water Press, 2008), and After Happily Ever After (Two River Chapbooks, 2003.) Her work appears in multiple anthologies.
Welcome to the first episode of The Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow's podcast, "Write Now at The Writers' Colony." In this episode, host, Chad Gurley, talks with author, Sherri C. Perry. We also learn more about The Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, from Executive Director, Michelle Hannon.