Participating Writers

Tim Gautreaux, Axton Keynote Reader

Tim Gatreaux, Axton Keynote Reader

Tim Gautreaux was born in Morgan City, Louisiana in 1947.  He attended the University of South Carolina where he earned a Ph.D in English Literature.  His published fiction includes two collections of short stories (Same Place, Same ThingsWelding with Children) and three novels (The Next Step in the DanceThe ClearingThe Missing).  His stories have appeared in The New YorkerAtlantic Monthly,HarpersGQ and many other magazines.  Among his awards are a National Magazine Award, Southeastern Booksellers Award for best novel, Mid-South Booksellers award, The Heasley Prize, The John Dos Passos Prize, Louisiana Writer of the Year Award, and an NEA Creative Fellowship.  The Clearing, published by Alfred A. Knopf, made several top ten lists, including the USA Today list of the ten best books of 2003.  His most recent novel, The Missing, appeared in March 2009 to glowing reviews.  Presently Dr. Gautreaux maintains a connection to Southeastern Louisiana University as professor emeritus and writer in residence.

Arwen Donahue

Arwen Donahue, panelist

Arwen Donahue is author and illustrator of the graphic short story Old Man Gloom, winner of a 2012 Xeric Award. She is also author of the oral history collection This is Home Now: Kentucky’s Holocaust Survivors Speak (University Press of Kentucky). She has illustrated several books, most recently Rebecca Gayle Howell’s Render: An Apocalypse (Cleveland State University Poetry Center), and she is a perennial illustrator for Larkspur Press, for which her most recent project was Silas House’s Recruiters. Her essays, interviews, and graphic poems have appeared in Wind, The Women’s Review of Books, Kentucky Humanities, and elsewhere. Arwen’s online drawing journal, Landings, chronicles daily life on her Kentucky family farm. This and more of her work may be found at


Holly Goddard Jones

Holly Goddard Jones, Workshop Leader


Holly Goddard Jones is the author of The Next Time You See Me, a novel, and Girl Trouble, a short story collection. Her fiction has been featured in Tin House, Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South, and elsewhere. She was a 2007 recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and winner of the 2013 Hillsdale Award for Fiction given by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She teaches at UNC Greensboro.



Kathleen Driskell

Kathleen Driskell, panelist

Kathleen Driskell’s latest publication is Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem (Fleur-de-Lis Explorations, 2012), a long poem published in a comic book form. Her most recent full-length collection of poems Seed Across Snow (Red Hen) was listed as a national bestseller by the Poetry Foundation. Her poems have appeared in many nationally known literary journals including Poems and Plays, the Southern Review, North American Review, Greensboro Review, and Rattle. Kathleen is an Al Smith Fellow of the Kentucky Arts Council and a past regular contributor to WFPL 89.3 FM, an NPR affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, where she lives with her family. She is Professor of Creative Writing and Associate Program Director of the brief-residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville.

Frank X Walker

Frank X Walker, Writing Conversationalist

2013-2014 Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is an associate professor in the department of English at the University of Kentucky, were he also serves as director of the African American and Africana Studies Program and the founding editor of Pluck! The journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. A Cave Canem Fellow and co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets, he is the author of six collections of poetry including the recent, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, University of Georgia Press. Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, he is the originator of the word, Affrilachia, and is dedicated to deconstructing and forcing a new definition of what it means to be Appalachian. The Lannan Poetry Fellowship Award recipient has degrees from the University of Kentucky and Spalding University as well as two honorary doctorates from the University of KY and Transylvania University. 

Julia Johnson, Workshop Leader

Julia Johnson is Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky. Her most recent book of poems, The Falling Horse, was published by Factory Hollow Press in 2012. Her first book of poems, Naming the Afternoon won the Fellowship of Southern Writers New Writing Award for Poetry. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, New World Writing, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, and The Louisville Review.



Adam Vines

Adam Vines, Workshop Leader

Adam Vines is an assistant professor of English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is editor of Birmingham Poetry Review. His collection of poetry is The Coal Life (University of Arkansas Press), and his recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Literary Review, Poetry, Southwest Review, 32 Poems, among others. He has received awards for his teaching from the University of Florida and from UAB



James Markert

James Markert, Lecturer, and Book Club Q & A


James  Markert is a novelist, screenwriter, and tennis pro from Louisville, KY, where he lives with his wife and two children.  He has a history degree from the University of Louisville, where, in his senior year, he was honored as the school’s most outstanding history major.  He won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, published by Butler Books.  With Requiem’s success, James was signed by Writers House Literary Agency in New York, and the book was sold to Sourcebooks, Landmark in January 2012.  Rewritten and retitled, it was republished in hardcover in March 2013 as A White Wind Blew. James is currently working on his next novel, The Strange Case of Isaac Crawley, a story that takes place in the late nineteenth century and involves the theater scene, a lunatic asylum, and the theatrical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.James is also the screenwriter and co-producer of the romantic tennis comedy, 2nd Serve, which had its world premiere in New York at the Woodstock Film Festival in October 2012, with a national release in the summer of 2013.

Erin Keane

Erin Keane, panelist


Erin Keane is a poet and the author of Death-Defying Acts and The Gravity Soundtrack, both from WordFarm. Her new collection of poems,Demolition of the Promised Land, is forthcoming from Typecast Publishing in February 2014. She’s the theater critic and arts reporter for WFPL, Louisville’s NPR station, where she founded and co-produces the fiction show Unbound.


Jake Snider, panelist

Jake Snider, panelist


Jake Snider is a graduate of the University of Louisville. Working with the illustrator, Megan Stanton, to produce the E-zine smokestacks and spires, Jake writes of a fictionalized self in poetic and comic formats. Their first full length graphic novel, The Scribbleface Chronicles is currently in the illustrative process. Jake’s other works have seen success as film interpretations and live theatre.  Jake is currently shopping a two-act play entitled DEAD FRIENDS. This Louisville resident seems contentedly intent to continue his creative meanderings, traveling whatever paths open before his stumbling feet.

Eric Sutherland

Eric Sutherland


Eric Scott Sutherland is a hawk watcher, Kentucky creek walker, community and event organizer, the author of two chapbooks and the full length collection, incommunicado(2007).  His latest work, pendulum, is forthcoming from Accents Publishing.  He is the creator and host of Holler Poets Series, a monthly celebration of literature and music since 2008.  Eric makes his nest in Lexington.  Follow Eric and Holler a


Adam McOmber

Adam McOmber is the author of The White Forest (Touchstone 2012) and This New & Poisonous Air (BOA Editions 2011).  His work has appeared recently in Conjunctions, The Fairy Tale Review and Fifth Wednesday.  He is an associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika at Columbia College Chicago where he also teaches literature and creative writing.

Lynnell Major Edwards is the author of three collections

Lynnell Edwards, Panelist

Lynnell Edwards, Panelist

of poetry, most recently Covet (October, 2011), and also The Farmer’s Daughter (2003) andThe Highwayman’s Wife (2007), all from Red Hen Press.  Her short fiction and book reviews have appeared most recently in Connecticut Review, American Book Review, Pleiades, New Madrid, and others. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky where, since 2010 she has been president of  Louisville Literary Arts, a non-profit literary arts organization that sponsors the monthly InKY reading series and The Writer’s Block Festival. She is also Associate Professor of English at Spalding University.


Michael Wayne Hampton, Unbound Reader

Michael Wayne Hampton, Unbound

Michael Wayne Hampton grew up in the hills of eastern Kentucky. He received his BA in English from the University of Kentucky, and his MFA in Writing from Spalding University. His work has been published in numerous publications such as Atticus Review, The Southeast Review, 3AM Magazine, and Fiction Southeast. His fiction has been nominated for Best American Short Stories, and was a semi-finalist for the Iowa Short Fiction Prize.
He currently serves as an English faculty member at UC Clermont, and is at work on a number of creative projects. His micro-novel in stories Bad Kids from Good Schools was published earlier this year by Winged City Press, and his first short story collection See How Much I Love You will be released this year by Foxhead Books.


Louisville writer Leesa Cross-Smith is co-founder/editor of a literary magazine called WhiskeyPaper.

Lessa Cross-Smith, Reader for Unbound: Dance Remix

Lessa Cross-Smith, Reader for Unbound

Her story “Whiskey & Ribbons” was Editor’s Choice in Carve Magazine’s 2011 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and was recognized as one of the StorySouth Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2011. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the Carve Magazine 2011 Anthology, Midwestern Gothic, SmokeLongQuarterly, and NAP, and her short story collection manuscript was a finalist for the 2012 Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award and a semifinalist for the 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Award.

Ada Limón, panelist

Ada Limón, panelist


Ada Limón is the author of three collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals including, Harvard Review, Poetry Daily, and The New Yorker. She is currently a judge for the 2013 National Book Award and is at work on a new book of poems, a novel, and a book of essays.

Kristen Radtke

Kristen Radtke, panelist

Kristen Radtke is a writer and illustrator living in Louisville. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and is the Marketing and Development Director for Sarabande Books. Her graphic, video and prose essays have appeared most recently in Black Warrior Review, TriQuarterly, Ninth Letter, Witness, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Gulf Coast, and others.  She is currently at work on a collection of graphic essays about abandoned places and hidden histories, research for which has taken her to vacant mining islands off the coasts of Japan, Icelandic towns covered in volcanic rock, crumbling WWII barracks in The Philippines, and many other countries.


Peck & Pock graphic poem art, a placeholder for John James photo

Peck & Pock graphic poem art, a placeholder for John James photo

John James holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University, where he received an Academy of American Poets Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, DIAGRAM, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Washington Square, and elsewhere. He teaches in the English Department at Bellarmine University and hosts the Speak Social Reading Series with his partner, Sarah Maddix. Find him online at