The Arts

Salem College Center for Women Writers Celebrates Twenty Year Anniversary

(Last Updated On: October 2, 2016)


The Center for Women Writers was established in 1996 by renowned poet, scholar, and former Dean of Salem College, Annette Allen. The center’s mission, as stated by current director Metta Sáma, is to promote, support and encourage the writing and writing lives of women.

In addition to being the current director of the center and Assistant Professor & Director of Creative Writing, Sáma is author of le animal and other creatures, After After/After “Sleeping to Dream”, Nocturne Trio and South of Here (published under her legal name, Lydia Melvin). She has also been published in Blackbird, bluestem, Drunken Boat, The Drunken Boat, Dusie, hercricle, Jubilat, Kweli, Literary Hub, The Owls, Pebble Lake Review, Pyrta, Reverie, Sententia, Vinyl, among others. She received her MFA and MA from Western Michigan and her PhD from SUNY-Binghamton.

Special events are open to the student body and are organized with thought given toward involvement from the community. Authors and poets are brought in for free events to read and often give workshops to coincide with their own readings and book signings. This year, in fact, brings special notoriety to the local community.

This season, The Directors’ Cut: A Twenty Year Celebration of The Center For Women Writers, (co-sponsored by YES! Weekly) begins on Friday, September 30th @ 7 pm in The Saal, Single Sisters House with Reading and Conversation with Founder Annette Allen, and Directors Pam Uschuk and Ginger Hendricks, Including a Special Dedication to Penelope Niven. Annette Allen, formerly dean of Salem College, is a professor of humanities as well as humanities PhD director at the University of Louisville, where she has mentored over 30 students to doctoral completion. She is the author of two books of poetry (Country of Light and What Vanishes) and is the recipient of three statewide arts council awards for poetry. She was also recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A MacDowell Colony fellow, she is completing the poetry collection, Cruel Radiance. Allen also writes essays on women poets, as well as medical humanities texts, and she recently co-edited the book, Clinical Ethics and the Necessity of Stories.

Political activist and wilderness advocate Pam Uschuk has howled out six books of poems, including Crazy Love, Finding Peaches in the Desert, and most recently Blood Flower. Her work has garnered several awards, including the King’s English Poetry Prize. Associate professor of creative writing at Fort Lewis College and editor-in-chief of Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, Uschuk is working on a multi-genre book, The Book of Healers Healing: An Odyssey through Ovarian Cancer.

Local community members may know Ginger Hendrix as the executive director of Bookmarks since 2010. She led the literary nonprofit’s annual book festival to become the largest in the Carolinas. She graduated with honors from Salem College and earned a master’s degree in writing from Vermont College. She worked at Elon University prior to serving as the director of the Center for Women Writers and the coordinator of cultural events at Salem College. Hendrix also holds a seat on the current 2016-2017 Board of The Center for Women Writers and received the Salem Young Alumna Award in 2010 and the Winston The season will convene on Friday, October 14th @ 7 pm in Huber Theater located in the bottom level of the Student Center with Reading and Conversation with Directors Amy Knox Brown and Aimee Mepham, Including a Special Dedication to Penelope Niven.

Amy Knox Brown authored the story collection, Three Versions of the Truth, as well as the poetry chapbook, Advice from Household Gods. She received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Nebraska Humanities Council, and she has published fiction, poetry, and nonfiction in Crab Orchard Review, Chest, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other literary magazines. A fourth-generation Nebraskan, she is an associate professor of English and a program director at the College of Saint Mary.

Aimee Mepham grew up in Dearborn, Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Albion College and a master’s degree in creative writing from Washington University. Her work has appeared in Meridian, River Styx, Pinball, and Opium Magazine, and it has been performed twice by Liars’ League in New York City. Mepham is currently the program coordinator of the Humanities Institute at Wake Forest University.

“In the coming months, we’ll begin to have conversations about the critical need for the Center to re-define its mission, to be inclusive to transgender women and to non-binary writers,” Sama said. “Additionally, we’re going to begin to look more at writers who are not creative writers, women, transgender and non-binary writers who are scholars, whose work is impactful. Our doors are always open (or rather, our email and Facebook page are accessible!) to anyone who wants to share ideas with us, to help us continue this important work, to work with us as we look towards 40 years of providing space for women writers.”