Tick Tock

Tick tock, tick tock. That’s the sound of the days, hours, and minutes until the May 31 deadline for submission to The Petigru Review, the literary journal of the South Carolina Writers’ Association. Sometimes deadlines can be scary and raise the anxiety level. Other times they provide the perfect impetus to give a manuscript once last glance before pressing the send button. And for some writers there’s nothing like a countdown to end procrastination and write something, anything.

The Petigru Review accepts submissions from April 1 through May 31, 2018. On June 1, the challenging and rewarding work of reading and judging the fiction, flash, nonfiction, poetry, and first chapter of a novel pieces begins. Each year SCWA recruits diligent and worthy judges for each category, and this year is no exception.

Being a Board Member precludes me from submitting this year. Otherwise, I’d be reading about the judges, hoping to learn about the background, work, and expectations of each. This year’s lineup includes an Annie Dillard fan who enjoys discovering new research in her reading; a seeker of layers, beauty, and captivating ideas in a story; a flash fiction guru and writer whose novel resulted in an independent film; and a poet who wants to fall in love with poetry that expands her sense of the human condition.

Read on to learn more about four of this year’s judges and their credentials, publications, and awards.

Rebecca Hammond Yager grew up in the bewitching realm of Vermont, has a B.A. in creative writing and a lifelong love of monsters and beasts. Influenced by C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Alexander Key, Rebecca finds influence and inspiration in nature. Whether reading or listening to a story, Rebecca seeks the same things: Layers. Beauty. Captivating ideas. She loves being dazzled by beauty, breathless from action, smitten with characters, and mesmerized by layers of theme and meaning.  Stories with a solid plot, compelling and well-motivated characters, a vivid sense of place, and stellar dialogue are her favorites.

Rebecca’s publications include Winds Cove, Beauty & the Beast, and A Midsummer Night’s Snow.

Formerly a park ranger, factory worker, and seller of cemetery plots, Joni Tevis is the author of two books of essays, The Wet Collection: A Field Guide to Iridescence and Memory, and The World Is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse, both published by Milkweed Editions. Her essays have appeared in Orion, Oxford American, Poets & Writers, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. Joni holds an MFA and PhD from the University of Houston’s Creative Writing program and serves as the Bennette E. Geer Associate Professor of English at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. An Annie Dillard fan, Joni enjoys tasty sentences and surprising research in essays and looks to learn something new, to see the world through another pair of eyes in what she reads.

Luke Whisnant’s fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have been published in over fifty different journals and anthologies in the United States, and overseas in England, France, and Portugal. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, a collection of stories, and a novel that was optioned by two different film production companies, eventually resulting in an independent film in 2012. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has won awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Blumenthal Foundation; has three times been listed on the “Distinguished Story List” of the Best American Short Stories; and has been reprinted three times in the annual anthology New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best.

Whisnant earned his MFA at Washington University in St Louis, joined the East Carolina University English Department in 1982, and is a two recipient of the department’s teaching excellence award. Luke has edited Tar River Poetry, a nationally ranked magazine of verse, since 2006 and blogs about TPR at The Editor’s Eye.

Katie Pryor divided her childhood between the #ATL and Las Vegas. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Bennington College and received her BA in Spanish. Her work has appeared in The Rio Review and Prairie Schooner and is forthcoming in North American Review, Southern Indiana Review, and Five Points. She was recently recognized with a 2017 Fall Fellowship at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.

Currently living and teaching in Lincoln, Nebraska, Katie’s academic interests include borders, gender, race, and love poems. She’s interested in poetry with a clear speaker, poems that aren’t afraid to use our various, ever-changing, and specific identities to get at our need to belong to ourselves and to each other. She wants to fall in love when reading a poem—with the speaker, with the way the poem expands her sense of the human condition.

It’s May 9, twenty-two days and counting, Writers. What are you waiting for? The judges and TPR are looking for your work. Tick Tock.

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