Five women professors in the WVU Department of English will honor Valentine’s Day with a reading full of energy, insight, laughter and love.

“Love and Other Dances” will feature writers Katy Ryan, Emily Mitchell, Ellesa High, Mary Ann Samyn and Ethel Morgan Smith reading words of love on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in 130 Colson Hall.

Poet and short story writer Katy Ryan is the founder of the Appalachian Prison Book Project, which distributes books free of charge to women and men in West Virginia prisons. She has also been published in the Denver Quarterly.

Novelist Emily Mitchell is author of the “The Last Summer of the World.” which was a 2008 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award finalist and named a 2007 best book in the Madison Capital Times, the Providence Journal and the Austin American-Statesman.

Mitchell’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, AGNI, New England Review and Indiana Review. She is currently working on a second novel and a collection of short fiction.

Ellesa High is a poet, fiction writer, nonfiction writer and author of “Past Titan Rock: Journeys into an Appalachian Valley.” She is a member of the Lower Eastern Ohio Mekoce Shawnee and teaches American Indian literature, film and creative writing.

Author Mary Ann Samyn has written five collections of poetry, including “Beauty Breaks In;” “Purr;” “Rooms by the Sea,” a 1994 Kent State UP/Wick Chapbook Prize winner; “Captivity Narrative,” a 1999 Ohio State UP/The Journal Prize winner; and “Inside the Yellow Dress,” a 2001 New Issues Press/Green Rose Selection.

Nonfiction author Ethel Morgan Smith wrote “From Whence Cometh My Help: The African-American Community at Hollins College,” as well as the essay “Come and Be Black for Me.” She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Foundation for Public Policy and WVU.

Smith has also been a du Pont scholar at Randolph-Macon Women’s College, a Fulbright scholar at the University of Tuebingen in Germany and a resident fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy.

For more information on the event, contact Mark Brazaitis, director of Creative Writing at WVU, at (304) 293-9707 or


CONTACT: Mark Brazaitis, Creative Writing at WVU
(304) 293-9707,