2023 Writers & Workshops
Randi Sonenshine: Children's Literature
I grew up with a beautiful and mysterious swamp in my backyard, where I spent hours exploring and pretending to be in a magical world. It's where I fell in love with storytelling and nature. I still believe there is magic there.
Beyond the swamp, in the woods, there was a tree that my sisters and I named Mr. Goodtree. He was great for climbing and keeping secrets!
My dad used to read aloud poems to me and my sisters. My favorites were "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe, and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They were beautiful and haunting, and probably gave me nightmares, but they were like symphonies to my young ears, and I've loved poetry ever since.
My mom made sure I always had a plentiful supply of books. Many weekends, she would drop me off at the local library. It wasn't unusual for me to spend an entire day exploring the shelves and reading in a cozy spot. Some early favorites were the Encyclopedia Brown books, and later the Nancy Drew mysteries.
Mayra Cuevas: Young-Adult Literature
Mayra Cuevas is a CNN award-winning journalist and the author of the young adult novels Does My Body Offend You? a Target YA Book Club selection, and Salty, Bitter, Sweet. Her short story Resilient was published as part of the anthology FORESHADOW. Mayra is also the co-founder of the Latinx Kidlit Book Festival and a loud and proud Puerto Rican. She keeps her sanity by practicing Buddhist meditation.
Tony Grooms: Fiction
Jared Yates Sexton: Non-Fiction & Memoir
Jared Yates Sexton is the author of eight books, including The Midnight Kingdom: A History of Power, Paranoia, and the Coming Crisis from Dutton/Penguin-Random House and The Man They Wanted Me To Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making, a runner-up for the Georgia Authors Association's Memoir of the Year. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Politico, The Daily Beast, and elsewhere.
Mario Chard: Poetry
Mario Chard is a poet, critic, and teacher. Born in Morgan Valley, Utah, to an Argentine immigrant mother and an American father, he attended Weber State University (B.A.) and Purdue University (M.F.A.). From 2011-2013, he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University.
He is the author of Land of Fire (Tupelo Press, 2018), winner of the Dorset Prize, a Notable Debut by Poets & Writers Magazine, and the Georgia Author of the Year Award in Poetry.
His work has appeared widely in journals and magazines, including The Nation, The New Yorker, Poetry, among others, and his honors include the “Discovery” Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. An inaugural fellow for the U.S. Ledbury Poetry Critics, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Douglas Young: Novels
Born in Bartow, Florida in 1961, Dr. Douglas Young was reared a faculty brat in Athens, Georgia before becoming a professor himself. He taught political science and history at Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia from 1987 to 1999. He then taught at Gainesville State College in Gainesville, Georgia from 1999 to 2013, and he taught at the University of North Georgia-Gainesville from 2013 to the end of 2020 where he also advised UNG’s multiple award-winning Politically Incorrect and Chess Clubs. Now a professor emeritus, his essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in a variety of publications in America, Canada, and Europe. His first novel, Deep in the Forest, was published in 2021 and received rave reviews, and his second novel, Due South, should be released in late 2022.
Jennifer Dunn: Screenwriting