Are you ready to write the great American novel or improve your poetry and nonfiction skills?

Writers of all experience levels will be able to boost their literary skills when theWest Virginia UniversityDepartment of Englishholds the 12th annualWest Virginia WritersWorkshopJuly 17-20.

The workshop will feature writing classes and a full slate of poetry, fiction and nonfiction readings, as well as craft lectures, panel discussions and informal gatherings.

This years award-winning faculty workshop leaders include Mark Brazaitis, Denise Duhamel, Brian Henry and Sheri Reynolds. Additional faculty lecturers include Nick Carbo; Jim Harms, a WVU Department of English professor who is also director of the workshop; John Hoppenthaler; Renee Nicholson; and Jane Varley.

The authors will give readings in the evenings which are free and open to the public. Additionally, a free open mic performance of participantswork will be Sunday, July 20. The times and locations of the public literary events will be announced later this month.

Brief bios of the faculty are as follows:

  • Brazaitis is the author of a collection of stories,An American Affair,which was awarded the George Garrett Fiction Prize for Best Book of Short Stories and was published in 2006 by Texas Review Press. An earlier book of short stories,The River of Lost Voices,received the Iowa Short Fiction Award. He has also published a novel,Steal My Heart,as well as stories, poems and essays in many journals, includingShenandoah,The Sun,Beloit Fiction Journal,The Notre Dame ReviewandPoetry East.A past winner of a National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship, he is the director of the creative writing program at WVU .
  • Duhamels most recent book,Two and Two,was the winner of Binghamton Universitys Milt Kessler Book Award. Her other titles includeMille et un Sentiments,Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems,The Star-Spangled BannerandKinky.Duhamel has read her work on National Public Radio, and she was a featured poet on the Public Broadcasting Service specialFooling with Words,hosted by Bill Moyers. A recipient of an NEA Fellowship, she is an associate professor at Florida International University in Miami.
  • Henry is the author of seven books of poetry:Astronaut,American Incident,Graft,Quarantine,In the Unlikely Event of Water,The Stripping PointandLessness.His translation of the Slovenian poet Tomaz Salamuns book,Woods and Chalices,appeared from Harcourt in 2008. He has co-edited Verse since 1995, and he co-editedThe Verse Book of Interviews.His criticism has appeared in numerous publications around the world, including The New York Times Book Review, Times Literary Supplement, Jacket, Boston Review and Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2006, he was awarded the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize. He currently teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
  • Reynoldsnovels includeBitterroot Landing,The Rapture of Canaan(an Oprahs Book Club selection and New York Times best seller),A Gracious PlentyandThe Firefly Cloak.Her play,Orabelles Wheelbarrow,won the Women PlaywrightsInitiative playwriting competition for 2005 and was produced at the Orlando Repertory Theatre. Her latest novel,Red Drum Running on a Falling Tide,will be released this fall. An associate professor and the Ruth and Perry Morgan Chair of Southern Literature at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., she received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia in 2003 and an Artist Grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts in playwriting in 2005.

In addition to instruction by workshop faculty, WVU Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing students will lead a special program offered specifically for West Virginia high school students. The special high school program will be overseen by Renée Nicholson, assistant to the director of the West Virginia WritersWorkshop. It will include activities and writing instruction. Twelve high school students will be selected based on writing submissions to receive full scholarships, which include tuition and lodging.

Scholarships for high school participants are supported by the WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciencesand the Millard Lampell Creative Writing Endowment, established through a gift to the WVU Foundation, a private nonprofit corporation that generates, receives and administers gifts for the benefit of WVU .

Students interested in applying to the West Virginia WritersWorkshop high school program should e-mail a typed writing sample (three to five poems or up to 15 pages of prose) along with name, address, home phone, e-mail address, their grade level and the high school they attend to Marsha Bissett, administrative assistant, WVU Department of English, at . The postmark deadline for workshop registration and for the special high school program is Friday, June 20.

Interested writers at all levels of experience are encouraged to visit the workshop Web site at To request a brochure, contact Bissett by e-mail, or call 304-293-9699. More information can also be obtained by contacting Harms at .