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English, Rhetoric, and Writing Writer-in-Residence

The Writers in Residence at Berry College have been:

  • Karen McElmurray, 2001-2002
  • June Spence, 1999-2000
  • Mary Hood, 1997-1998
  • Melanie Sumner, 2003-2004

Melanie Sumner

Novelist, Melanie Sumner, is a native of Rome, GA, where she once again resides after living elsewhere for most of her adult life. She is the author of two novels, the most recent of which is The School of Beauty and Charm (2000). She teaches fiction writing at Shorter and Berry Colleges.

Southern Scribe review of The School of Beauty and Charm

June SpenceJune Spence served as Berry College's writer-in-residence for the 1999-2000 academic year. A native of Raleigh, N.C., she has published a short story collection, Missing Women and Others, and is currently working on a novel. She previously served as writer-in-residence at Bowling Green State University where she received her master of fine arts degree in creative writing. She has taught creative writing classes and judged the Emerging Writers' Contest for fiction writers at the SWWC.
Mary HoodMary Hood is a native of Georgia and the author of two collections of short stories: How Far She Went, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for fiction, and And Venus Is Blue, winner of the Townsend Award. Her novel, Familiar Heat, was published in 1996. Hood received the the Whiting Award in 1994. She has taught creative writing at the University of Georgia and was the John and Renee Grisham Southern-Writer-In-Residence at the University of Mississippi in 1996. Mary's contributions to Berry College and its students cannot be overstated. She taught a course in Book Arts in the fall of 1997 and Creative Writing in the spring of 1998. In addition, she taught a writing course in the Senior College (students over 55) for Continuing Education, which proved so popular that her students convinced her to continue the course beyond the original six weeks.

Karen McElmurray, the 2001-2002 Berry College Writer-in-Residence, is the author of a novel,Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven (Hill Street Press, 1999). The novel received the 2001 Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing and has been called "a story about the human heart and about how salvation can come from the human experience of love" (Chicago Tribune). Her work has also received numerous awards including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Novelist Lee Smith has called her forthcoming memoir, Mother of the Disappeared, "an enlightening and redemptive work of art." She is represented by Patricia Moosbrugger Literary Agency, and a portion of her novel-in-progress, Black Dog, is also forthcoming in Blue Mesa. During 2002-2003, McElmurray was Visiting Assistant Professor at Berry, where she also served as part of the Executive Committee for the Southern Women Writer's Conference. In Fall 2003, she joined the Creative Writing Faculty at Georgia College and State University.
 
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