Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Virginia Butts Sturm Workshop

The Department of English announces

Janisse Ray

2013 Virginia Butts Sturm Writer in Residence 

Through the generosity of the Sturm endowment, students at West Virginia University are given the opportunity to study for one week with a nationally renowned visiting writer in a workshop setting.  Janisse Ray, author of The Seed Underground and Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, is the writer selected to lead the 2013 Virginia Butts Sturm Writer-in-Residence Workshop, which is scheduled for September 30-October 4.

The Sturm Residency sponsors the writer in a free public reading, which will be held on Monday, September 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gold Ballroom, WVU Mountainlair.

Janisse Ray is a writer, naturalist, and activist. Her publications include five books of literary nonfiction and a collection of poetry. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called Ray’s most recent book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, an “enchanting narrative—part memoir, part botany primer, part political manifesto.” The Seed Underground has won several awards including the Nautilus Gold Book Award Better Books for a Better World in the Green Living Category, the American Horticultural Society Book Award, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors Arlene Eisenberg Award for Writing that Makes a Difference. Her highly acclaimed Ecology of a Cracker Childhood was a New York Times Notable Book and won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction in 2000. Ray holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and she is on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program. She lives on a farm in Southern Georgia.

 How to Apply for the Workshop:

 Students interested in being considered for the Sturm Residency should submit 10-15 typed pages of nonfiction to Marsha Bissett in the Department of English (room 100, Colson Hall) by Monday, September 2, 2013.  With the entry, students will be asked to complete a Manuscript Submission Form, which will list name, address, telephone number and other information.  Students may also email their entry as a single attachment to Within the body of the email, please include your name, address, and telephone number. Please note: anyone enrolled as a student at WVU is eligible to participate in the Sturm Writer-in-Residence Workshop.

 The 12 students selected for the workshop will be notified by September 16th. If selected, students are required to attend the Monday, September 30, evening public reading.  Janisse Ray will then meet with them Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.  An optional, closing event is held on Friday.  Students who complete the workshop will receive one hour of English credit.

 Questions?  Contact Professor Mary Ann Samyn at 293-9730 or

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