2017 Litfest Presenters

Alison Reeger Cook

Alison Reeger Cook

A.R. Cook is the author of The Scholar and the Sphinx young adult book series published by Mithras Books, the YA imprint of Knox Robinson Publishing. She also has short stories published in the anthology The Kress Project from the Georgia Museum of Art, and the dark fairy-tale collections Willow Weep No More; and Shadows of the Oak from Tenebris Books. From 2009-2013, A.R. was the book review columnist for the Gainesville Times, one of the most widely distributed newspapers in northeastern Georgia.

She is also a playwright and aspiring screenwriter. Her plays have been performed and work-shopped at the University of Iowa in Iowa City; Western Springs, Illinois; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Rona Simmons

Rona Simmons

Rona Simmons is the author of the contemporary suspense novel The Martyr’s Brother and two works of historical fiction, The Quiet Room and Postcards from Wonderland published by Deeds Publishing in Athens, Georgia. She is also a freelance writer and blogs about women in the creative arts on Women at Word, local authors and bookstores on From Acworth to Zebulon, and for The Huffington Post Blog.

Ms. Simmons is active in promotion of her works and those of other Georgia authors, and manages both The Book Widows and The Killers Next Door, groups of Georgia authors that speak at bookstores, libraries, and festivals.

Her stories, articles, and interviews have been published in Deep South Magazine, Points North, The Persimmon Tree and Storychord.

Jameson Gregg

Jameson Gregg

Jameson Gregg won 2015 Georgia Author of the Year for his first book, Luck Be A Chicken, a comic novel. A Mississippi native, he is a graduate of Ole Miss and Mississippi College School of Law.

Certain offbeat college jobs influencing his worldview include Mississippi River tugboat deckhand, traveling circus promoter, and taxi driver. His job as iceman in a chicken plant culminated 35 years later in Luck Be A Chicken.

Jameson practiced law for nearly 20 years in Georgia’s Golden Isles in the state’s second oldest law firm and achieved the highest national ranking for lawyers before hanging up his wingtips to assume the role of scribe. His works have been published in literary anthologies, magazines, and newspapers. Awards include the Jarvis Award for Humor from the Southeastern Writers Association, and first place in the Northeast Georgia Writers’ annual competition, both in the novel and short story competitions.

Please go to the events tab on his website to view his appearances and speeches, including commencement speaker at the University of North Georgia, and panelist and moderator at various literary festivals.

He lives in the Georgia mountains with his wife, Maureen, and is hard at work on his second book.

Kate Rochford-Price

Kate Rochford-Price

Kate Rochford-Price is a senior English major and Creative Writing minor at Brenau University. She is the editor-in- chief of The Elixir: Literature & Arts Magazine, Brenau chapter president of Sigma Tau Delta, as well as a contributing editor and writer for Odyssey. She is also a Writing Center tutor, a social media marketing intern for the University of Georgia Press (and previously the Gainesville Theatre Alliance), and founder of a support group for college mothers at Brenau.

Rebecca Jarrett

Rebecca Jarrett

Rebecca Jarrett is a senior English major at Brenau University, with minors in Creative Writing and Gender Studies. As Associate Editor of Brenau’s premier literature and arts magazine The Elixir, Vice President of Brenau’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, and a Writing Center tutor, she has a love for English that extends beyond the curriculum. She is also the founder and President of Brenau’s photography club, BPEG. In addition to these positions, Rebecca is Vice President of Public Relations for Tri Delta, Vice President of Omicron Delta Kappa, and a member of Brenau’s Student Activities Board, Gamma Sigma Alpha, Order of Omega, and Rho Lambda.

Caity Johnson

Caitlin Johnson

Caity Johnson has a BA in Theatre with a minor in English from Brenau University and an MFA in Dramatic Media from UGA. Her specialties include playwriting, specifically adapting folktales for the stage, and interactive and locative media. She has taught, directed, and performed for both Missoula Children’s Theatre based in Missoula, MT, and Elm Street Cultural Arts Center in Woodstock, GA, created a locative cell phone game based on the board game Clue on UGA’s campus, among other interactive projects, and her graduate thesis was authoring a children’s play based on Italo Calvino’s folktale The Parrot, including a fully interactive digital puppet in the form of the titular animal.

Sandra Hood

Sandra Hood

Sandra Hood’s debut novel, Blood Exchange, was Finalist for the 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Award, and her short fiction won the 2016 Terry Kay Prize. Sandra believes that in a world where bizarre, complicated, and sometimes evil agendas come into play, mankind holds at its core an inherent
goodness, a trait she likes to explore in her writing. Her short stories have appeared in Exit 271, as runner-up in the 2016 Flash Contest, The Saturday Evening Post, and O, Georgia! A Collection of Georgia’s Newest and Most Promising Writers. You can learn more about Sandra on Facebook @SandraHoodAuthor and on Twitter @SandraHoodBooks.

Sam Roper

Besides be a father, student, and husband, I have always been an artist. My love for the arts has allowed me to venture into other genres besides that of visual art. Zines are a mixture of both visual art, and the written word.

Lori Gann-Smith

Lori Gann-Smith

Lori Gann-Smith is an artist, designer and educator. She uses various printmaking and stitching techniques in her 2-D and 3-D works as well as collage, encaustic and felting techniques. She has been an educator for over 20 years teaching in the fields of art, fashion design and theatre. She is currently the Chair of the Art and Design Department at Brenau University. You can see her work at lorigannsmith.com.

Claudia Willburn

Claudia Wilburn received her Master’s of Fine Art from the University of South Carolina in May of 2008. She is an Associate Professor & the Program Director of Studio Art at Brenau University. A body of her artwork entitled “Reflections” was on display at Jim Cherry Gallery, Perimeter College Campus in Atlanta, GA in the Spring of 2015.  It was also presented at the Rebecca Randall Art Gallery at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the Summer of 2015.  In June 2016 she presented her art-based research at the Death, Art & Anatomy Conference, hosted by Winchester University in Winchester, England. In March of 2017 she presented her research on Master Printer Wayne Kline and the Rolling Stone Press at the SGC International held in Atlanta, GA.

Tori Bailey

Tori Bailey

Tori Bailey is the author of the Coming Home series: A Second Chance at Goodbye, Ethel’s Song, and Love Made from Scratch. All three books were selected by the Book Ends Book club. She is a contributing writer for the Walton Magazine and has contributed to the Georgia Connector magazine.

Her short stories have been included in Chicken Soup for the Soul and A Cup of Christmas. She hosts a weekly show, The Backstory with Tori, on her Facebook page – Tori Bailey Ink.

A native Georgian, Tori shares her home with five rescue cats and her husband. She is a graduate of Brenau College. Some of her accomplishments include being a professional pilot, flight instructor, and dedicating fifteen years of service as a 9-1- 1 Communication Officer and Trainer.

Blue Cole

Blue Cole

Blue Cole has been writing since he could grip a pencil. After almost 15 years of business ownership, he has returned to writing. Some of his previous jobs include working as a pizza maker, performing drug and DNA tests, and selling children’s clothes. He currently works for a state government. He grew up and still lives with his family in rural Georgia, a common setting in many of his works.

Gay H. Hammond

Gay Hammond a playwright, lives in Gainesville, Georgia, where she has been the Artistic Director of WonderQuest, an award-winning theatre for young audiences, since 1993.

Additionally, she serves as the Resident Dramatist both for the Gainesville Theatre Alliance and her own company, New Classics Plays. Working in the theatre for over 30 years, Gay continues to be a working actor (Look Homeward Angel, The Importance of Being Earnest, Romeo and Juliet) and director (Sense & Sensibility, Alice in Wonderland, Red) as well as a producing playwright. So far, her 30+ plays are consistently produced by theatres all over the country. Ms. Hammond received her MFA in Playwriting from Spalding University, her MA in Theatre & Speech from the University of Louisville, and her BA in both Theatre and English from Brenau University, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Theatre. Gay has two grown children, Amelia and John Connor – both of whom are professional actors – and one terribly funny wire fox terrier.

Elizabeth Chappelle

Elizabeth Chappelle is a retired high school English and drama teacher who works at the Brenau Fitness Center.

After college, she worked as an actor at the Academy Theatre in Atlanta and performed in such plays as A Christmas Carol and Three Brass Monkeys.
Later as an educator with a B.A in English and a M.Ed in Creative Arts in Education, Elizabeth taught at Open Campus High School in Dekalb County, North Forsyth High School in Forsyth County, and at Brenau Academy.

Her writing credits include a one act musical: Year of the Turtle and two one-woman shows that she performed: Bites of the Apple and Ba Ba Ba Baggage.
Make Something Good Happen, the work that she is here to present, has challenged her to fulfill many roles: writer, producer, co-director, art director, casting director, wardrobe designer, visual artist, location scout, researcher, and public relations specialist.
Elizabeth is a native Southerner from Augusta Georgia who lives in Gainesville Georgia.

Bill Early

Former educator and sales and marketing executive in the library book industry.

Jeff Jones

Retired surgeon, astronomy and writing enthusiast.

Diane Rooks

M.Ed. in storytelling and author of “Spinning Gold Out of Straw: How Stories Heal.”

Sandra Hogue

MFA in creative writing and author of short story collection: “Roads with Mirrors.”

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6299 or +1-800-252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6100 or +1-800-252-5119 ext. 6100