LRU News

LRU’s Asheville Campus to Present Seventh Annual Wordfest

Thu Apr 24 2014

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Seventh Annual Asheville Wordfest features more than 30 local and regional poets, authors, musicians, and storytellers. The festival will take place over the course of three days between Friday, May 2 and Sunday, May 4 at the Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville. The days will be filled with readings, workshops, and activities.

An entire space devoted to youth writers and poets marks the festival’s commitment to literacy, self-expression, and confidence-building for young people. A poetry animation program will present the work of students at Hall Fletcher Elementary and other programs. Committed to a mission of equality, the line-up features a 50-50 split between male and female presenters with one-third of all being non-white.

The festival is dedicated to the memory of Laurey Masterton, a long-time friend of many in Asheville, as well as an entrepreneurial pioneer. Masterton passed away after her third battle with cancer earlier this year.

Asheville Wordfest is directed by Laura Hope-Gill, who also directs the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir-Rhyne University. “The festival resonates with Lenoir-Rhyne’s commitment to diversity and is a project of the university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.”

North Carolina Arts Council is a supporter of the festival. Other sponsors include Katuah Market, Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe, and Fine Arts Theatre.

An outdoor event, Our Voice Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Asheville, will take place May 3. “It’s a chance for people to talk the talk that goes with the walk,” said Hope-Gill.

“Wordfest isn’t just for writers. It’s a festival about stories, and we all have those. Wordfest is a place where we can get in touch with them, find ways to tell them, and share them with each other. That’s why it’s a festival about what makes life worth living. We live for the connections, for the story of it all.” To this end, Hope-Gill frames readings and workshops not by accolade or fame of the presenters but by relevance to real life.

Patti Digh, author of Geography of Loss, will kick off the festival with a reading from her book in honor of Laurey Masterton, followed by a community reading of Masterton’s own writings. Anyone interested in reading can show up with a selection. People are also invited to bring a dish from one of the chef’s cookbooks.

Presenters include: Irania Patterson, Connie Regan-Blake, Aimee Nezhukumnatatathil, Duende Mountain Duo, Lisa Bruer, Janet Hurley, Slam Asheville Youth, Poetry Out Loud, Brave New Voices, Kurma Morrain-Collins, Tracey Schmidt, Helen Losse, Cynn Chadwick, Phyllis Utley, Chelsea LaBate, Byron Ballard, Laura Blackley, Jadwiga McKay, David Hopes, Ann Dunn, Ekua Adisa, Patti Digh, Griffin Payne, Jaki Shelton Green, Dale Neal, Jose Vasquez, Tommy Hays, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Geri Littlejohn and more.

For a full schedule and list of presenters, visit

To volunteer and request special assistance, contact

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