Thornton Writing Program

The LC Writing Program

The Thornton program is part of the larger writing program at Lynchburg College. Other courses in creative writing include Introduction to Creative Writing, Fiction Writing, and Poetry Writing, all of which are taught by regular faculty of LC who are both teachers and writers. Among the faculty are published fiction writers, poets, playwrights, journalists, and essayists. For further information, contact Allison Wilkins at .

The Richard H. Thornton Endowment

Dr. Richard H. Thornton, 1907 alumnus of Lynchburg College, was a distinguished teacher, writer, and publisher. He became president of Henry Holt and Company publishers and established friendships with such writers as Carl Sandburg, Thomas Wolfe, and Vachel Lindsay. He was both editor and friend to Robert Frost.

Since 1975 the endowment established in his name has made it possible for us to bring some of the most exciting and successful poets, novelists, dramatists, and nonfiction writers of our time to the College. These writers have taught classes, given readings, and enriched the cultural life of the campus.


Spring 2015 Thornton Readings

Jeremy BryantJer Bryant and Laura Marello

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 8 p.m.
Reading in Sydnor Performance Hall. Reception and booksigning to follow.

Jer Bryant holds an MA in English from Lynchburg College.  He is the director of Wilmer Writing Center, and he teaches First Year Writing.  His artistic influences include artist Frida Kahlo, poets Joy Harjo, Sharon Olds, and Allen Ginsberg, and singers Tori Amos and Björk. Jer’s works often explore the human condition, the Buddhist perspective of existence, the range of emotions associated with love, and the pressures of society and religion.

Laura MarelloGuernica Editions published Laura Marello’s second novel Tenants of the Hotel Biron in 2012 and her first novel Claiming Kin in 2010. Her third novel, Maniac Drifter, is forthcoming in 2016. Claiming Kin was one of five finalists for the Paterson Award in Fiction. Marello is the author of several novels, a collection of stories, a collection of poems, two memoirs and a screenplay. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, and a Fine Arts Work Center Provincetown Fellowship. Marello is a Professor of English at Lynchburg College.


Allison Wilkins and Casey Clabough

Thursday, Mar. 18, 8 p.m.
Reading in Sydnor Performance Hall. Reception and booksigning to follow.

Casey ClaboughCasey Clabough is the author of  the travel memoir The Warrior’s Path: Reflections Along an Ancient Route, the memoir SCHOOLED: Life Lessons of a College Professor, the novel Confederado, a collection of women’s Civil War writing, a biography of southern writer George Garrett, six scholarly books on southern and Appalachian writers, and the latest Idiot’s Guide to Creative Writing. Clabough serves as editor of the literature section of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ Encyclopedia Virginia, general editor of the literary journal James Dickey Review, and series editor of the 12 volume “Best Creative Nonfiction of the South.”  His work has appeared in over a hundred anthologies and magazines, including Creative Nonfiction, the Sewanee Review, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. He lives on a farm in Appomattox, Virginia and runs the English graduate program at Lynchburg College.

Allison WilkinsAllison Wilkins’s first book of poems, Girl Who, (CW Books, 2014) is hot off the press. Her poems and creative nonfiction have appeared in or are forthcoming with The Adirondack Review, The Lyric, Lumn, The Superstition Review and others. A Modernist scholar, her published critical work explores the poetry and prose of Sylvia Plath. In addition to several fellowships at VCCA, she is the program administrator for Writing Workshops in Greece, a month-long writing residency program in Thasos. She teaches English at Lynchburg College, where she is also Poetry Editor of the James Dickey Review.


Fall 2014 Thornton Readings

Chidsey Dickson and Laura Long

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 8 p.m.
Reading in Sydnor Performance Hall. Reception and booksigning to follow.

Chidsey DicksonChidsey Dickson enjoys his cell phone, and walking. Poetry keeps him occupied while not on Facebook or twitter. He strongly recommends that people with oodles of disposable income donate to WordWorks, a local nonprofit that helps elementary school kids enjoy writing.

Laura LongLaura Long is the author of the novel Out of Peel Tree and two poetry collections, The Eye of Caroline Herschel: A Life in Poems and Imagine a Door. Out of Peel Tree was recently reviewed an Editor’s Pick at, and poems from The Eye of Caroline Herschel are currently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction appear in many literary magazines such as Shenandoah and Southern Review, and awards include a James Michener Fellowship.

She teaches in the BA English and Westover Honors programs at Lynchburg College, and as Guest Faculty in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at West Virginia Wesleyan.

Jessica Brophy and Wendy Miles

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m.
Reading in Sydnor Performance Hall. Reception and booksigning to follow.

Jessica BrophyJessica M. Brophy  is a New Jersey native and a poet who writes about family quirks, nature’s luster, childhood foods, and the body. She is also a scholar of the sublime and an adjunct teacher at Lynchburg College and CVCC.

She has published her poetry in Natural Bridge: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry, Alimentum: The Literature of Food, The Cherry Blossom ReviewPolis, the Penwood Review and Wine, Cheese and Chocolate: A Taste of Literary Elegance. Brophy is Co-Chair of the Library Committee at the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg where she serves as the creative writing editor of the newsletter.

Wendy MilesWinner of the 2014 Patricia Dobler Poetry Award, a finalist for the 2013 Perugia Press Prize and Winner of James River Writers 2012 Best Poetry Contest, Wendy Miles has published multi-genre work in places such as Tupelo QuarterlyArts & LettersSouthern Poetry ReviewHunger MountainstorySouthThe Pedestal MagazineAlabama Literary ReviewThe Chattahoochee ReviewCaesuraThe Dos Passos ReviewYalobusha ReviewThe Comstock ReviewHawaii ReviewRichmond Magazine, and Volume IV of Anthology of Appalachian Writers.

Wendy has been awarded numerous writing fellowships from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and her poetry has also been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. While writing and actively seeking a publisher for her first book, Wendy currently teaches at both Randolph College and Lynchburg College.


Thornton Writer-in-Residence Workshop

The Thornton Writer-in-Residence comes to the College to teach a semester-long class. To ensure individualized instruction, the class size is limited to 16 students. Eligibility is determined through submission of sample writings. Any student, regardless of major, may apply.

Students often take more than one Thornton writing course during their 4 years, and academic credit earned can count toward an English major or toward elective hours, depending on the student’s needs.

The visiting writer also gives public readings, conducts other classes at the request of professors, and is available for private conferences with student and faculty writers. For more information call 434.544.8820.

Public Readings and Short Workshops

Thornton writers commonly visit campus for one or two days. The centerpiece of such visits is a public reading or lecture. Writers also frequently meet with classes or conduct workshops for students interested in creative writing.

All readings are sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.