Good News 2022-2023

Faculty Good News


English Department Chair, Dr. Allison Carey’s book, Doubly Erased: LGBTQ Literature in Appalachia, is under contract with SUNY Press for their series on Queer Politics and Cultures. The book will be available July 1, 2023.

At the Appalachian Studies Conference in March, Dr. Carey presented a paper entitled “‘Ah, Stonewall, how little you knew’: Revisiting the Poetry of LGBTQ Appalachian Literary Pioneer George Scarbrough.” Dr. Carey was invited to serve as a visiting scholar at the University of Wroclaw in Poland, May 9-May 24. She’ll be delivering a lecture to the English Department as well as participating in a symposium for the Education Department, plus several class visits.

Dr. Hilary Brewster’s poem “Am I Allowed Here?” was recently published in the 2022 Anthology of Appalachian Writers and her article “”Because female comics don’t get pregnant: The unruly comedy of Ali Wong and Amy Schumer” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Popular Culture. Dr. Brewster is one of the speaker’s at this year’s Marshall TedX Talk event, which is slated for February 25th, 2023.

Dr. Tim Burbery was referred to as a “geomyth expert,” and was quoted in the October 10th issue of The Atlantic magazine for his contribution to a story called “Scientists Can No Longer Ignore Ancient Flooding Tales.”

Professor Shoshannah Diehl and Professor Stephanie Walker presented their panel discussion titled “Personal Narrative & Multimodal Projects: Expressions of Identity in the Classroom” at the CWVWP Spring Writing and Learning Virtual Conference in late March. This presentation explored personal and social identities through narrative assignments and multimodal projects in the college classroom and beyond. Stephanie’s personal essay “Blocks” also was published in the Spring 2022 issue of Sand Hills literary magazine.

Dr. Robert Ellison and Thomas Hilton of ETSU co-presented “The Sermons of the Appalachian Preaching Mission, 1958-1977” at the ASA conference in March 2022. Dr. Ellison has been invited to give a talk about the “Library of Appalachian Preaching” at a symposium entitled “Off the Grid: Folk Culture and the Digital Humanities.” The event will take place at the College of William & Mary in June.

Dr. Sara Henning was the featured poet for the MFA program at Maharishi International University (with Kelli Russell Agodon), in September. She also was the featured poet as part of the Brevard College Visiting Writers Series. She was the featured poet as part of the Theodore Dreiser Visiting Writers Series at Indiana State University, as well as University of South Dakota’s Vermillion Literary Project, in October. In November, she turned in a final draft of BURN, a collection of poems selected by Allison Joseph for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Editor’s Selection. She was a panelist at the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference (University of Central Arkansas, on November 5th. The title of her panel was “Grounding Resilience: A Forum on Teaching Undergraduate Creative Writing in a Pandemic Era,” and the title of her talk was “The Metacognitive Self-Evaluation Grading Model in the Creative Writing Classroom.” Dr. Henning has two poems from her new collection of poems-in-progress, Yellow, forthcoming in NELLE, a journal housed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. According to the journal’s About page, “NELLE celebrates and publishes the best, most innovative writing by women.”

Professor Daniel Lewis presented at the Literature/Film Association Conference in October in New Orleans. His presentation was titled, ““I Might Be Ok But I’m Not Fine At All”: Taylor Swift, Social Media, and Emotions”.

Dr. Megan Marshall presented her paper “Queered Embodiments for the New Adult (or) the Problem Novel Crosses Over” in April at the Popular Culture Association’s National Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Professor Dalton Monk placed 2nd in Pithead Chapel’s 2022 Larry Brown Short Story Award for his story “Bruises“.

Professor Daniel O’Malley had a short story, “The Allens,” in the March/April issue of the Kenyon Review. He also had a story titled “Stones” appeared online April at New World Writing. His story “Ike” was published online by Fence magazine in early October, along with paintings done in collaboration with his daughter, Freddy. Another of their collaborations, inspired by the movie poster for Wise Blood, is included in a display of Flannery O’Connor artwork in the Rare Book Room of the library at Georgia College

Dr. Joel Peckham’s poetry collection, “Bone Music”, was selected by Kirkus Reviews for their Best Indie Books of the Year list. The review can be found here: and the list can be found here: His new spoken word LP, “Still Running”, has been released by EAT Poems and is now available at the press website, bandcamp, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and soon on Spotify. New poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Palooka, The Greensboro Review, and The Southern Review.

Dr. Rachael Peckham’s prose poem “Sweet You Rock” was accepted at Cloudbank magazine for its No. 16 issue. She was awarded funding by the 2023 Birke Fine Arts Symposium and the West Virginia Humanities Council for the AE Stringer Visiting Writers Series. Both awards will support spring programming for VWS.

Professor Cat Pleska was designated as Artist in Residence, as part of an NEA Our Town grant received by Coalfield Development, Inc. As Artist in Residence, Pleska will be designing and installing a permanent museum within the WestEdge Factory in West Huntington dedicated to the former employees of Corbin Factory, LTD, a men’s clothing manufacturer operating from 1957 to 2003. She was interviewed for the Charleston Gazette Newspaper about judging the annual Young Writers Day contest in an article about the Central West Virginia Writing Project titled “Central West Virginia Writing Project: Teaching Teachers to Write“. Pleska’s essay “Drive!” was published by Sheila-na-gig publications in Women Speak Vol. 8, The Women of Appalachia Project volume, in December 2022. Her essay “Where Fish Dream” will be published in the Barbara Kingsolver edition of Appalachian Anthology of Writers from Shepherd University in April 2023. Her ekphrastic essay “On the Atlantic Shore” was accepted for a broadside printing and public reading in March 2023 by the Charlotte Arts League.

Professor Kallel Peterson presented at HerdCon on March 25th with a panel titled “How Do You Want to Do This?”: Building Story and Community Through D&D and other TTRPGs.

Professor Rachel Rinehart’s poem “Still Life in Miniature” appeared in the Fall/Winter 2021-2022 issue of the Valparaiso Poetry Review. Professor Rinehart’s poems “Abishag on OnlyFans” and “Obol for Mrs. O’Day” appear in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Nimrod International Journal.

Professor Anna Rollins’s essay on Tove Ditlevsen’s The Copenhagen Trilogy appeared in the latest issue of New Ohio Review. She won a Love of Learning Award from Phi Kappa Phi. Her essay, “Don’t Use Lent to Worship at the Altar of Diet Culture,” appeared on NBC News THINK. She has several essays; “Like Britney Spears, I struggled with perinatal depression — I coped by trying to hide my pregnancy” on Britney Spears and prenatal depression; “My husband was a COVID doctor and my son was high risk. Here’s what the pandemic taught me about perfectionism in motherhood” an essay on pandemic parenting a high risk toddler; as well as an essay titled “My Family Visited A Town Where Cellphones Aren’t Allowed: Not Having Service Made Me a More Present Parent” about Watoga State Park and the Quiet Zone that appeared in Insider. Her article “Explicitness and Rationale: Purposeful Communication in Asynchronous Online Writing Tutoring Sessions” appeared in Praxis: A Writing Center Journal in May 2022. She had a personal essay, “Breathing Easy”, that was published in the May/June 2022 issue of Literary Mama. She also published an essay in Electric Literature titled “I Developed An Eating Disorder. Then I Became Pro-Choice”, also her essay “Wild Earth” appeared on HerStry. She had a Tiny Love Story, “Between the Sunflower Stalks,” appear  in the New York Times, online and in print. Anna had an essay appear on TinyBeans titled “I’m Letting My 5-Year-Old Watch ‘Stranger Things'”. She published an article in Slate titled “The Dangerous Myth That Hurts College Freshman” where she discussed the struggles with eating disorders for college students. On September 19, 2022 she had another essay appear in Electric Literature“Running an Olsen Twins Fan Page Taught Me To Craft an Online Identity”. Prof. Rollins had a piece included in the Readers Write column of the October 2022 issue of the Sun and an essay on Halloween and Community in TinyBeans. She also wrote about the pediatric hospital surge and medical trauma for Insider titled “My Toddler was Hospitalized With RSV And Is Now Terrified of Going to the Doctor“. Prof. Rollins’s micro essay, “Sleep Training,” appears in the latest issue of Ruminate Magazine. She had essays appear in Salon, “You can’t resolve your way through New Year’s grief“, Newsweek, “I Drastically Changed My New Year’s Resolutions—the Results Were Amazing’“, and TinyBeans, “Put Your Kid in Charge of Elf on the Shelf for a Real-Life Holiday Miracle“. She was featured in an article for the Atlantic, “An Alternative to Overspending on Presents“.

Dr. Forrest Roth’s story “Secret Cowboy Bar” appeared in the April issue of The Rupture. Dr. Roth’s collection Skeletal Lights from Afar was released October 4, 2022. He had a reading at the publisher’s book launch October 15, 2022 at Skylight Books in Los Angeles. Roth’s “Glints from the Razor of Dreyfus Lent,” an excerpt from a manuscript in progress, was published in the chapbook series Triple No. 17  from Ravenna Press, along with a collection of poems by Jeff Tigchelaar.

Professor Amine Oudghiri-Otmani was approved for a Summer Research Award for Summer 2022. Amine has also been selected as a recipient of the Open Education Resources (OER) grant. His abstract “Preparing to Write Research: Reducing Wordiness in Advanced ESL Writing” has been accepted at the 2022 Minnesota English Language Education (MELEd) Conference.

Dr. Jill Treftz presented at the 30th Annual British Women Writers Conference in Waco, TX in May 2022. Her paper, “‘There is no open door’: Sarah A. Storrs’s Poetry from Holloway Asylum,” which looks at the work of an elderly poet who published a book of poems while living in a mental institution, is the first publicly-presented piece of scholarship arising from Jill’s Fall 2019 John Marshall Scholars Award. She contributed a chapter to a new book, published 10/31/22 by Routledge, on the science fiction author Connie Willis, Connie Willis’s Science Fiction: Doomsday Every Day (ed. Carissa Turner Smith). Dr. Treftz’s chapter, “Flip Passes: Interpreting Agency and Contagion in Bellwether,” examines how Willis deploys metaphors of virality and contagion in her 1996 comic novel Bellwether.

Dr. Jana Tigchelaar convened and participated in a roundtable at the Appalachian Studies Association conference in Athens, OH, March 16-19. The roundtable, titled “In Their Own Country Project: Thriving Archives in the Digital Era,” also included graduate student Kelsey Beilstein, who has been working as the In Their Own Country digitization project intern during the 2022-23 academic year. In Their Own Country will be a website featuring interviews with, references about, and teaching materials related to West Virginia writers. Dr. Tigchelaar recently had an essay appear in New Ohio Review vol. 32, titled “Breaking the Silence: Abortion and Knowledge in Summer and Weeds.” She presented her paper titled “Transformative Speech and Neighborliness in Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s Short Fiction” at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) 52nd Annual Conference in Niagara Falls, NY, on March 25, 2023.

Anthony Viola’s novel, All Lies Begin With Truth, was released June 9, 2022. His short story, “Aliens and Their Others,” has been accepted for publication by South Dakota Review and will be published late 2023/early 2024. In this story, one of Tony’s late cats, Vinny, appears as a main character.

Stephanie Walker has been selected as an Open Education Resource (OER) grantee and will receive $1,000 to support the adoption of open education resources in a future course. This grant is awarded by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Community and Technical College System.

Dr. John Young’s essay on “The Crisis magazine under W.E.B. Du Bois’s editorship (1910-34)” appeared in The Routledge Companion to the British and North American Literary Magazine.  He had a chapter, “African American Magazine Modernism”, appear in the 1920-1930 volume of African American Literature in Transition, (Cambridge UP).

Student and Alumni Good News

English minor, Tayma Al-Astal, (Class of 2025) recently learned that her nominated submission, “Your Lovely Gaza,” is a national finalist in creative nonfiction for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Intro Journals Project, a literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in AWP member programs.

Senior, Eric Dillon, was accepted to the MPhil in Digital Humanities program at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England!

Sophomore English major Ben Chambers ranked third in debate at the 2022 Pi Kappa Delta national Speech and Debate tournament. Pi Kappa Delta’s national tournament is one of the largest and most competitive Speech and Debate tournaments in the United States.

Junior English major, Dustin A. Ferrell’s, shared the 1st Place award for the Ruth Brown Memorial Scholarship with senior English major, E. Bowen. They were followed by senior English major, Amy Welch. Ferrell’s poem “You said we would meet again” was displayed at an exhibit called “The Art of The Postcard: We Are All Artists” at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont, CO in February 2022.

Creative Writing Minor, Le Trae Wilborn (Class of 2022) was accepted into The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia, for fall 2023.

Graduate student, Rajon’s Staunton’s poem, “Pantoum for Black Boyhood” was nominated for a pushcart prize by Foglifter literary journal. (Foglifter is an LGBTQ+ journal and press, that publishes powerful, intersectional writing that queers our perspectives. The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America – including Highest Honors from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.) His poem, “Interior: Kevin’s Diner” was published in Wildness (UK) in April. RaJon was chosen by the poet Airea D. Matthews as one of the recipients of the 2022 Starshine and Clay Fellowship, organized by the EcoTheo Collective and Cave Canem. This fellowship is designed to provide mentorship and financial support to emerging Black poets who do not yet have a published full-length collection. As part of the fellowship, RaJon read at the Texas Book Festival/Wonder Festival on Saturday, November 5, alongside his co-fellow, Gracia Mwamba, and the award-winning poet and essayist Ross Gay.

Alumnus Madeline Merritt (English Major, Class of 2022) has been accepted at George Mason University’s MFA in creative writing program to study creative nonfiction.

Alumnus Courtney Taylor (BA in Creative Writing/Literary Studies, May 2022) has been accepted to the M.A. program in English at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. She has also received an offer of employment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Alumnus Sophie Ezzell’s (Class of 2020) personal essay “Without Ceasing” appeared in the June issue of The Sun.

Alumnus Dr. Masaki Shitaba, (Class of 2013, English with a concentration in TESOL) earned his Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales in 2019. Currently teaching at the University of Adelaide in Australia, his most recent research is on overseas-born beachgoers’ perceptions of the safety signage on Australian beaches. Since its publication in October 2022, his research has been reported by some national SBS and state news agencies (SBS, InDaily, INQueensland, Courier-Mail) in Australia. He was invited to present the outcome of his research on SBS World News (TV), giving talks at two Australian radio stations and SBS Japan. His SBS online news articles are “Australia’s beach safety signs are only written in English. Could writing them in other languages save lives?” and “Danger as beach safety signs are ignored or not understood”.

Alumnus Le Trae Wilborn (Creative Writing Minor, Class of 2022) was accepted into The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia, for fall 2023.

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