Meet Our Contest Judges!

Contest judges represent a variety of backgrounds and experiences in order to relate in the broadest way to the rich diversity of entries we hope to receive each year for our contests.  Without these amazing volunteers, we wouldn't be able to host these contests annually.  Judges read contest entries anonymously.  Each contest has 4-6 judges reviewing the entries submitted and no entry is ready by only one judge. 

Terry Barr

Terry Barr's stories have appeared in such journals as storySouth, EMRYS Journal, Deep South Magazine, Eclectica, Coachella Review, and Under the Sun. His essay collections are published by Red Hawk Press, and available in places where books are sold. His blog may be found at He is a Professor of Modern Literature and Creative Writing at Presbyterian College and lives in Greenville, SC, with his family.

Robert Canipe

Bio coming soon.

Nancy Daniel

Nancy Daniel has been a Librarian at Western Piedmont Community College for the last sixteen years.   Nancy received her MLIS (Master’s in Library and Information Studies) in 2001 from UNCG and received the national “I Love My Librarian” award in 2018. She was a teacher and children’s librarian for the first half of her career, and still adore children’s books.  She loves all genres, really.  Nancy is also the proud mama of a 15 year old rescue cat named Bingo.

Kathy Foster

Kathy Foster has enjoyed freelance writing for a variety of publications and has self-published 3 books: Poetry In Aging (2001), Too Many Animals In My Bed - an illustrated children’s poem - (2015), and Somewhere in the Silence (2018). She has a B.S. degree, Writing for Marketing & Advertising, and works as the director of marketing for a retirement community in Asheville, NC. Kathy lives and loves on a small farm in Morganton where she and her husband care for an array of animals.

James Hall

James Hall is a realtor with Lake James Real Estate and the current president of Morganton’s Downtown Development Association.  James has a bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages and Cultural Anthropology. 

Caitlin Johnson

Caitlin Johnson holds a BFA and an MFA in creative writing. Her publications include WAR/La Guerre (2019), Gods in the Wilderness (2016), Boomerang Girl (2015), and Miles (2008). She lives in Michigan, where she lives with her dog and works in a secondhand book store.

Shaddoe Lambert

Shaddoe Lambert is an experienced teacher at Freedom High School who loves literature and facilitating the growth of young minds. When she's not teaching, she enjoys reading, watching documentaries, and researching.

Darren Latham

Bio coming soon.

Laura McCaskill

Bio coming soon.

Tim Peeler

Tim Peeler is a retired educator from Western North Carolina. His twenty books include L2 a poetry novel, Wild in the Strike Zone, baseball poems, and Checking Out, a book of poems about his time in the hotel business. More recently, he has collaborated with Appalachian photographer Clayton Joe Young on a series of illustrated poetry narratives that include West of Mercy and The Bird House.

Amy Rutherford

Amy Rutherford is a proud mother of her college-aged daughter. She loves God, serves her community as a shipping clerk, and during her time off enjoys spending it with family and attending church as much as possible.  When Amy was a teenager she spent her free time writing poetry.

Liv Thornton

Bio coming soon.

Nancy VanNoppen

Nancy VanNoppen is the Creative Director at VanNoppen Marketing, founder of ART/RE/ART and local artist living and working in Morganton, NC. Nancy received her MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2017 and her work has been shown in numerous venues throughout the Southeast. A multi-disciplinary artist, Nancy works in painting, printmaking, photography, video, installation, sculpture and mixed media. Learn more at