2021 Conference

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for the Writers Association of Northern Appalachia’s (WANA) 2021 Conference will be held at Oglebay Park and Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia, September 10-12, 2021. Scroll down to register.

Two Powerful Keynote Speakers

Richard Hague

Ohio poet Richard Hague will open our conference on Saturday morning. He is a Northern Appalachian from Steubenville, Ohio, and a long-time resident of Cincinnati. His writing has appeared in many journals and anthologies. He is author or editor of 20 volumes, including Riparian: Poetry, Short Prose, and Photographs Inspired by the Ohio River (Dos Madres Press, 2019) with Sherry Cook Stanforth, and the essay collection Earnest Occupations: Teaching, Writing, Gardening, and Other Local Work (Bottom Dog Press, 2018). His During The Recent Extinctions: New & Selected Poems 1984-2012 won the Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association, and Alive In Hard Country (Bottom Dog Press) was winner of the 2003 Appalachian Poetry Book Award from the Appalachian Writers Association. Most recently, he is Second Prize winner of the 2020 Barry Lopez Nonfiction Prize. He continues as Artist-in-Residence at Thomas More University in northern Kentucky.

Sarah Elaine Smit

Sarah Elaine Smith will speak at the close of our awards banquet on Saturday night. Born and raised in Greene County, Pennsylvania, she is the author of a collection of poetry, I Live in a Hut, and the novel, Marylou is Everywhere, which was a Finalist for the LA Times Prize for First Fiction and a Belletrist Book Club pick. Sarah Elaine Smith holds MFAs in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and poetry from the Michener Center for Writers. Her work has received support from MacDowell Colony, and she is a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Wallace fellowship.

Sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Two Writing Competitions

Our Open Mic Competition will be held in Ogelbay’s Hickman Lounge from 7 pm-10 pm on Friday, September 10. The event will be co-hosted by WANA LIVE!’s Christina Fisanick and Damian Dressick. Three of the editors from the new Appalachian Lit journal will be judging for each genre: Margo Orlando Littell (fiction), Michael Dittman (poetry), and Laura Roberts (non-fiction).

Winners will be announced at the Saturday evening banquet, including a grand prize winner, who will receive a manuscript assessment of up to 5000 words, providing extensive notes on the text and an editorial report designed to guide revision of the work–a short story or the first chapters of a novel or memoir from Moraine’s Edge Books.

Our other writing contest, One-Page People’s Choice, will be held throughout the day on Saturday. The basics: bring one page of writing, tack it up on a bulletin board, all conference attendees vote for their favorites, and winners in each genre will be announced at the banquet Saturday night.

Award-Winning Musical Entertainment

Jeff Berman and Sue Powers

Pittsburgh-area troubadours Sue Powers (5-string banjo) and Jeff Berman (dulcimer, percussion), mainstays of the popular long-time roots/folk group Devilish Merry, and the fusion folk/world ensemble AppalAsia, will present a unique concert of old time and current home-grown music with a social edge. Susan Powers, banjo/vocal, and Jeff Berman. dulcimer/vocal, combine influences from folk and jazz traditions with uniquely original compositions to create music that is soulful and sophisticated, with a hypnotic quality that is all their own.

Sunday Brunch is On Us!

Oglebay Resort’s Sunday brunch is one of the best around. WANA invites all members to enjoy brunch on us and learn more about where we are headed. We are here to serve the writers of the northern Appalachian region, and we want to hear from you!