2015 Creative Writing Symposium at Barton College on April 20

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WILSON, N.C. – March 30, 2015 — The 19th annual Barton College Creative Writing Symposium, featuring several Barton and Atlantic Christian College alumni authors, will be held on Monday, April 20, in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center. The symposium will include afternoon discussions and an evening reading with alumni Charles Blackburn, Michael Brantley, David McGehee, Brandon Sneed, and India Staten. There is no charge for the event, and the public is invited to attend.

The symposium will open at 3 p.m. with the hour-long discussion “The Path to Publication: A Conversation with Alumni Writers,” providing a retrospective glance at the publication journeys of these gifted alumni. Following the opening session will be “‘Lifelines,’ ‘Crucible,’ and Barton Write Now! A Reading and Celebration” at 4:15 p.m., which will turn the focus on current Barton students as burgeoning writers and the College’s student publication “Lifelines.”

An evening reading of recent works by the Barton and ACC Alumni Writers will be held at 7:30 p.m.

About the writers —

Blackburn grew up in Henderson and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Barton College (then Atlantic Christian College). He now makes his home in Raleigh with his wife and daughter. Early in his career, he roamed the state as a reporter and editor for four small-town newspapers. He has also been a bookshop owner and associate director of public relations at Duke University Medical Center. Since 1991, Blackburn has been communications manager for Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. He is a past president of the North Carolina Writers’ Network and North Carolina Writers Conference. Blackburn’s fiction, poetry, and features have appeared in many regional and national publications. His first book, a collection of short stories titled “Sweet Souls,” was published in 2013. Backburn is a three-time winner of “Crucible’s” annual fiction award, and the recipient of the Sam Ragan Award for Literature from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and a literary fellowship in fiction from the North Carolina Arts Council. He also plays guitar in the rock band “When Cousins Marry.”

Brantley is a writer, photographer, and visiting professor of English at North Carolina Wesleyan College. His first book, “Memory Cards,” a memoir about growing up in eastern North Carolina, will be published this summer. Brantley’s creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have most recently been published in “Vine Leaves Literary Journal,” “The First Day,” “The Dunes Review,” “Word River,” “Bartleby Snopes,” “Revolution House,” “Stymie,” and “The Cobalt Review.” His magazine work has appeared in “Bluegrass Unlimited,” “Fiddler Magazine,” “Business North Carolina,” “Carolina-Virginia Farmer” and “Tuff Stuff.” As a photographer, Brantley earned PPA’s highest degree, Master Photographic Craftsman and was the winner of three Fuji Masterpiece Awards. His images have been displayed across the country and as far away as South Korea. Brantley is a 1991 graduate of Barton College and holds a Master of Arts degree in English from East Carolina University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Queens University of Charlotte.

A native of Beaufort, McGehee is a 1969 graduate of Barton College (then Atlantic Christian College) where he studied business and economics. He later attended North Carolina State University to study accounting. McGehee currently lives in Clayton and is employed by Duke Energy Progress as a senior business analyst. His writing interest occurred over the past two decades with his creative work primarily taking the form of short dramatic stories related to his coastal boyhood experiences.  In addition to utilizing his experiences and memories for inspiration and motivation for creative works, McGehee very much concurs with the adage, “A creative writer must read,” and he did read extensively, primarily the works of William Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe. McGehee’s obsessive drive to understand the work and lives of these two men inspired his dramatic and mystical works, one of which, “Catharsis,” was published by “The Thomas Wolfe Review.” Currently, his first novel, “Cedar Birds,” is nearing completion with publication to occur later this year.

Sneed is the author of the new book “Behind the Drive: A Story of Passion, Dreams, Demons, and Hwy 55, the World’s Next Favorite Burger Joint.” His first book, “The Edge of Legend,” told the story of Barton College’s incredible run to the 2007 NCAA Division II national basketball championship. Sneed’s writing has also been published by “ESPN The Magazine,” “GQ,” and “SB Nation.” One his stories, “The Prospect,” was a Notable Selection in “Best American Sports Writing 2014.” Sneed graduated from Barton College in 2009 and makes his home in Greenville with his wife, Katie, and their newborn son, Jonah.

Staten was born in Mannheim, Germany, and lived in Atlanta, Ga., prior to making her current home in Alexandria, Va. She earned a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree from Barton College in 2014 and has written and published short stories for the college’s literary journal, “LifeLines,” and articles for the college’s newspaper “The Collegiate.” She enjoys the company of animals and loves to read. Staten is the only daughter and youngest among three children. She values the time she spends with her parents and attributes their teachings as a positive influence in her life. Staten, under the penname QuietAries, has written and published her first book, “Psychic Mind,” the first edition in a planned series. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing with a focus in Fiction at Southern New Hampshire University through its online program.

This event is sponsored by the School of the Humanities, and The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center. For additional information about the Creative Writing Symposium, contact Dr. James A. Clark, dean of the School of Humanities and the Elizabeth H. Jordan Chair of Southern Literature, at 252-399-6450 or jclark@barton.edu.

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