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Chapell keynote speaker at Blue Ridge Writers Conference

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 04 - September 17, 1998

Award-winning North Carolina author Fred Chapell will be the keynote speaker for the Fourteenth Annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference (BRWC) at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center Saturday, Oct. 3.
This year marks a new relationship between Virginia Tech and the conference. For the past 13 years, the annual fall gathering of writers has been held at Roanoke College.
"I am delighted to welcome the Blue Ridge Writers Conference," said Johann Norstedt, English Department chairman. "About 200 students are enrolled in creative writing for this semester, making our program a very active one. It is only logical that the Department of English support this fine conference.
" Like other programs, it represents a form of outreach that opens the university to the community at large," he said.
Ed Falco, director of the Creative Writing Program and a former conference speaker said he is "immensely pleased" at the new association between Tech and BRWC. "I've worked with the good people at Blue Ridge before and know them to be a dedicated group, committed to promoting good writing through workshops, readings and panels of their conference."
One of the 1998 conference speakers, award-winning poet, Katherine Soniat, called BRWC "one of the most respected writers' conferences in Virginia." An associate professor of English, Soniat said, "We're so happy to have them move to Blacksburg. It's a wonderful opportunity to display the fine writing in this
area to an interested community."
Founded in 1984, the conference has featured poets such as Henry Taylor, R.T. Smith and Tom O'Grady, novelists such as Jeanne Larsen, Sharyn McCrumb and Lee Smith, and non-fiction writers including Donald McCabe, Brent Staples and Peter Svenson.
BRWC President and Co-Chairwoman Sarah Miller, a professor of English at Virginia State University, praised the association with Virginia Tech. "We're very pleased about this move," she said. "We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the administration, faculty and the Virginia Tech community."
In addition to Chappell as the keynoter, 1998 workshop speakers include Soniat, a winner of the Edwin Ford Piper Award for poetry. She is the author of three books: A Shared Life, Cracking Eggs, and Notes of Departure. A Blacksburg resident, Soniat's workship is entitled, "Poetry Writing for Beginning or Advanced Poets."
A.B. "Bud" Feuer, author of Coastwatching in the Soloman Islands: The Bougainville Reports, will lead a non-fiction workshop, "How to Write Non-fiction that Sells." Feuer, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, is also the author of General Chennault's Secret Weapon: The B-24 in China," published by Praeger. He has written more than 300 articles and book reviews for such magazines as America's Civil War, Military History, and Sea Classics.
Lou Kassem of Blacksburg is the author of seven novels for juvenile readers. "I was always able to find things to talk or write about," she said. Her two most recent works are The Innkeeper's Daughter and Sneeze on Monday, both published by Avon. Her workshop will be titled: "The Joy of Writing for Young People."
Roy Martin of Roanoke, a teacher and former journalist will conduct a workshop called, "A First Novel: Structure and Pace." Martin has also worked as a writer/editor and broadcaster. He is a graduate of East Carolina University, Greenville, NC and a 1971 nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. His first novel, Whisper My Name, was published in 1997 by Tryon Publishing Co. of Chapel Hill.
Those interested in attending the conference should call conference registrar at 1-5182. On-line registrations may be entered at http://www.conted.vt.edu/brw.