College Hosts Looking Glass Writers’ Conference with New Program for Young Writers

Faculty LGRWC 2022 (1)

The 2022 Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference features award-winning faculty members, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Aimee Nezhukumatahil, and Crystal Wilkinson, who will guide conference attendees through nonfiction, poetry, and fiction writing workshops that explore “A Sense of Place.” The conference is sponsored by Brevard College and the Transylvania County Library Foundation. Founded in 2016, the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference offers Transylvania County residents the opportunity to interact with renowned authors, engage in meaningful conversation about writing and place, and strengthen ties across generations by reaching out to the diverse Transylvania County population. 

This year, an additional day-long conference for young writers will be held on May 21, 2022. Promising Transylvania County and local high school creative writers will attend this one-day workshop, hosted by Brevard College.

Brevard College students are engaged with the conference in various roles. Junior Sarah Hajkowksi, a double major in Theatre and English, with a Creative Writing emphasis, and Senior Emma Harris, a Theatre major and a History minor, are assisting conference director Dr. Alyse Bensel in planning, budgeting, and administration as well as social media promotion. Junior Ann Marie Bates, a Music major and Sophomore, and Thad Johnston, an English major with a Creative Writing emphasis, both won scholarships to attend the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference as workshop participants. 

Community members are invited to attend readings by Aimee Nezhukumatathil on Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Ingram Auditorium on the Brevard College campus; and by Alison Hawthorne Deming and Crystal Wilkinson Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rogow Room at the Transylvania County Public Library.

Alison Hawthorne Deming has authored numerous works of nonfiction and poetry, most recently A Woven World: On Fashion, Fishermen and the Sardine Dress and the collections of poems Stairway to Heaven and Death Valley: Painted Light, a collaboration with photographer and astronomer Stephen Strom. Her work has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Walt Whitman Award from the American Academy of Poets, a Stegner Fellowship, and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, among other honors. Deming currently serves as Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in Environment and Social Justice and Regents Professor at the University of Arizona. 

Aimee Nezhukumatahil has authored four books of poetry, including Lucky Fish, winner of the Hoffer Grand Prize for Prose and Independent Books. Poems from this collection were also awarded an NEA Fellowship in poetry, the Glenna Luschia Prize from Prairie Schooner, and the Angoff Award from The Literary Review for the best poems appearing that volume year. Nezhukumatathil serves as the poetry editor for Orion magazine. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays and Kirkus Prize finalist, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments (Milkweed Editions, 2020), which was chosen as Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Year. She has also been recognized for her dynamic teaching and serves as a professor of English and Creative Writing in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi.

Crystal Wilkinson is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street, and Blackberries, Blackberries. In addition to being nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Wilkinson has received recognition from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. Wilkinson teaches at the University of Kentucky as an Associate Professor of English in the MFA Creative Writing Program. 

For more information about The Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference, visit