BUCKHANNON, West Virginia – West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Low-Residency Masters of Fine Arts Program will host its 2022 Summer Reading Series July 2, 3, 5 and 6.

All readings will be held at 7 p.m. in Room 213 of the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library on the WVWC campus and are free and open to the public. The readings will also be streamed live on the program’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/wvwcmfa.

Saturday, July 2 will feature Jessica Handler,  author of the novel The Magnetic Girl, winner of the 2020 Southern Book Prize and a nominee for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. The novel is one of the 2019 “Books All Georgians Should Read,” an Indie Next pick, Wall Street Journal Spring 2019 pick, Bitter Southerner Summer 2019 pick, and a SIBA Okra Pick. Her memoir, Invisible Sisters, was also named one of the “Books All Georgians Should Read,” and her craft guide Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss was praised by Vanity Fair magazine. Her writing has appeared on NPR, in Tin HouseDrunken Boat, The Bitter Southerner, Electric Literature, BrevityCreative NonfictionNewsweek, Full Grown People, Oldster, After the Art, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, and The Washington Post. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia and teaches creative writing. www.jessicahandler.com.


On Sunday, July 3, the audience will hear from Richard Schmitt, author of a novel, The Aerialist, and a collection of short stories, Living Among Strangers. His stories and essays have appeared in many places, including The Gettysburg Review, The Mississippi Review, Blackbird and others. His story “Leaving Venice, Florida” won 1st Prize in The Mississippi Review short story contest and was anthologized in New Stories of the South: The Year’s Best 1999. His essay “Sometimes a Romantic Notion” was published in The Gettysburg Review and selected for The Best American Essays 2013.




Randon Billings Noble  will restart the series on July 5 after a holiday break.  Her anthology of lyric essays, A Harp in the Stars, was published by the University of Nebraska Press in October 2021.    Her full-length collection Be with Me Always was published by Nebraska in 2019 and was a Finalist for the Foreword Indies Awards for Essays.  Individual essays have been published in the Modern Love column of The New York Times; The Massachusetts Review; Passages North; The Georgia Review; Shenandoah; The Rumpus; Brevity; Fourth Genre; The Los Angeles Review of Books; Creative Nonfiction, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and elsewhere.  Randon is also the founding editor of the online literary magazine After the Art. Her next book, Shade and Shadow, is a lyric meditation on shadows, forthcoming from Nebraska.  Her website is randonbillingsnoble.com.



Concluding the series on July 6 will be Larry D. Thacker, a Kentuckian writer, artist, educator and actor living in Johnson City, Tenn.  His poetry and fiction have been widely published, appearing in Still: The Journal, Poetry South, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Appalachian Review, among many others.  He is the author of four books of poetry, Drifting in Awe (2017), Grave Robber Confessional (2019), Feasts of Evasion (2019) and Gateless Menagerie (2021).  His debut short story collection, Working it off in Labor County was published by West Virginia University Press in 2021, and the follow-up volume, Labor Days, Labor Nights was published by Bottom Dog Press later the same year.

Larry is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a seventh-generation native of the Cumberland Gap area.  He holds an MFA from West Virginia Wesleyan College.  He is an occasional adjunct instructor at Northeast State Community College in Tennessee and is a regular on the Netflix reality show, Swap Shop.


West Virginia Wesleyan’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts Program offers writers the opportunity to study fiction, nonfiction or poetry with accomplished and dedicated mentors in an intimate student-centered environment. The MFA is a two-year, 49-credit hour program with two 10-day residencies that initiate an independent semester of apprenticeship

completed offsite through correspondence with a mentor. The next application deadline is Oct. 1. For more information, visit www.wvwc.edu/mfa.

West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan one of its 2022 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan a “Top 20” Best Value – Regional Universities (South) and one of the “Top 75” Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 40 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, and nursing; 22 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 70 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit wvwc.edu.