Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Poetry and CNF)

AIMEE NEZHUKUMATATHIL (neh-ZOO / KOO-mah / tah-TILL) is the author of the New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays and Kirkus Prize finalist, WORLD OF WONDERS: IN PRAISE OF FIREFLIES, WHALE SHARKS, & OTHER ASTONISHMENTS (2020, Milkweed Editions), which was chosen as Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Year. She has four previous poetry collections: OCEANIC (Copper Canyon Press, 2018), LUCKY FISH (2011), AT THE DRIVE-IN VOLCANO (2007), and MIRACLE FRUIT (2003), the last three from Tupelo Press.  Her most recent chapbook is LACE & PYRITE, a collaboration of epistolary garden poems with the poet Ross Gay. Her writing appears twice in the Best American Poetry Series, The New York Times Magazine, ESPNPloughshares, American Poetry Review, and Tin House. Honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, a Mississippi Arts Council grant, and being named a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. In 2021, she became the first-ever poetry editor for SIERRA magazine, the story-telling arm of The Sierra Club. She is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.

Maurice Ruffin (Fiction)

MAURICE CARLOS RUFFIN is the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, published by One World Random House in August 2021. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. It was longlisted for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award the Center for Fiction Prize and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. The novel was also a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ruffin is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Iowa Review Award in fiction and the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Kenyon Review, and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.


Nickole Brown (Poetry)

NICKOLE BROWN received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She worked at Sarabande Books for ten years. Her first collection, Sister, a novel-in-poems, was first published in 2007 by Red Hen Press and a new edition was reissued by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2018. Her second book, a biography-in-poems called Fanny Says, came out from BOA Editions in 2015, and the audio book of that collection became available in 2017. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for four years until she gave up her beloved time in the classroom in hope of writing full time. Currently, she is the Editor for the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and teaches periodically at a number of places, including the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program, the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNCA, and the Hindman Settlement School. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC, where she volunteers at a three different animal sanctuaries. Currently, she’s at work on a bestiary of sorts about these animals, but it won’t consist of the kind of pastorals that always made her (and most of the working-class folks she knows) feel shut out of nature and the writing about it—these poems speak in a queer, Southern-trash-talking kind of way about nature beautiful, but damaged and dangerous. A second chapbook from this project, an essay-in-poems called The Donkey Elegies, was published by Sibling Rivalry in January 2020.

Dustin Parsons (CNF)

DUSTIN PARSONS is the author of Exploded View: Essays on Fatherhood, with Diagrams (University of Georgia Press 2018). He has an MA from Kansas State University and an MFA from Bowling Green State University. He has previously served as the non-fiction editor of The Mid-American Review. Awards for his writing include an Ohio Arts Grant and a New York Fine Arts grant in creative non-fiction, the American Literary Review Prize in fiction, the fiction prize from The Laurel Review and a “notable” in the Best American Essays. He was awarded a residency fellowship at Wyoming’s Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts. He teaches  creative writing workshops and courses in American literature at University of Mississippi. He lives in Oxford with his wife, the poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and their two wily boys. 

Jessica Jacobs (Poetry)

JESSICA JACOBS is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), named one of Library Journal‘s Best Poetry Books of the year, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from Southern Illinois University and the Goldie Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society, and a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell, American Fiction, Eric Hoffer, and Julie Suk Book Awards. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry, was an Over the Rainbow selection by the American Library Association and a finalist for the Lambda Literary and Julie Suk Awards. Her chapbook In Whatever Light Left to Us was published by Sibling Rivalry Press.Jacobs holds an M.F.A. from Purdue University, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of Sycamore Review, and a B.A. from Smith College. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in publications including Orion, New England Review, Crazyhorse,  and Guernica. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock climbing instructor, bartender, and professor—leading workshops around the country and teaching for Hendrix College, UNC-Wilmington’s MFA program, and Writing Workshops in Greece, among other programs—and now serves as the Chapbook Editor of Beloit Poetry Journal and the Distinguished Poet of the Western Region for the Gilbert-Chappell Mentorship Series.

Katy Simpson Smith (fiction)

KATY SIMPSON SMITH was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She is the author ofWe Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835, and the novelsThe Story of Land and Sea,Free Men, andThe Everlasting,which theNewYorkTimesnamed among the Top 10HistoricalFictionof 2020. Her writing has also appeared in theNew York Times Book Review, Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Oxford American,Granta,andLiterary Hub. She lives in New Orleans, and recently served as the Eudora Welty Chair for Southern Literature at Millsaps College.

David James Poissant (fiction)

DAVID JAMES POISSANT is the author of the novel Lake Life (Simon & Schuster, 2020), a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, Publishers Weekly Summer Read, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Best Southern Book of 2020, and a New York Public Library Book of the Day. His story collection The Heaven of Animals was a winner of the GLCA New Writers Award and a Florida Book Award, a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize, and was longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. His stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, One Story, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and in textbooks and anthologies including New Stories from the South, Best New American Voices, and Best American Experimental Writing. His books are currently in print in seven languages. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida and lives in Orlando with his wife and daughters.

Annie Hwang (agent, Ayesha Pande Literary)

Before joining Ayesha Pande Literary, ANNIE HWANG began her career at Folio Literary Management where she had the pleasure of working with debut and seasoned authors alike. As a former journalist, Annie possesses a keen editorial eye which she brings to her approach to agenting, taking an active role in the careers of her clients. Annie represents voice-driven literary fiction and select nonfiction. In particular, she gravitates toward subversive and irreverent literary fiction and impactful mission-driven narrative nonfiction that grapples with the complexities of our world. A fierce champion of underrepresented voices, Annie is always on the hunt for gifted storytelling that stretches its genre to new heights. @AnnieAHwang

Agent/Editor TBA

Matt Bondurant (Fiction)

Creative Director & Faculty

MATT BONDURANT’s latest novel is set to be released in 2022 and his last book, The Night Swimmer, was featured in the New York Times Book Review, Outside Magazine, and The Daily Beast, among others. His second novel The Wettest County in the World (2008) was a New York Times Editor’s Pick, a San Francisco Chronicle Best 50 Books of the Year, an international bestseller, and has been made into a feature film (Lawless) by Director John Hillcoat, starring Shia Labeouf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, and Guy Pearce. His first novel The Third Translation (2005) was an international bestseller, translated into 14 languages worldwide. His non-fiction work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Outside, The Dallas Morning News, The Guardian, and numerous other outlets.  Matt has sold multiple original drama TV pilots, including development deals with HBO/Cinemax, Red Wagon Entertainment, and Warner Brothers Television.

Seth Tucker (Poetry & Fiction)

Executive Director & Faculty

SETH BRADY TUCKER’s second book, (We Deserve the Gods We Ask For, 2014), won the Gival Press Poetry Award and went on to win the Eric Hoffer Book Award. His first book, (Mormon Boy, 2012), won the Elixir Press Editor’s Poetry Prize and was a Finalist for the Colorado Book Award. His fiction has won the Bevel Summers prize, and his new short story collection was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor prize. Recent publications in fiction, poetry, and essays appear in Litmag, Driftwood, December, Los Angeles Review, Memoir, Little Patuxent, Copper Nickel, and others. Seth is an alumnus of both Bread Loaf and Sewanee and has degrees from San Francisco State University, Northern Arizona University, and Florida State University (PhD, 2012), and teaches poetry and fiction workshops at the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver. He is an associate teaching professor at the Colorado School of Mines, is originally from Wyoming, and once served as an Army 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper.

2022 FELLOWS AND SCHOLARS (announcements in February 2022!):

Longleaf Financial Aid Offerings (See Financial Aid and APPLY!):

Baker Scholarship for Veterans (1 tba)

The Longleaf Scholarship for Underrepresented Groups (1-2 tba)

The Longleaf Fellowships (2 Fiction, 2 Poetry, 1 CNF tba)

Partner Financial Aid Scholarships:

University of Mississippi Scholar in Poetry tba (selected by University Faculty)

University of Mississippi Scholar in Prose tba (selected by University Faculty)

UAB Scholar in Poetry tba (selected by UAB faculty)

UAB Scholar in Prose tba (selected by UAB Faculty)

Staff and Board:

Kristy Gustafson (Digital Media Manager & 30A Attaché) is an aspiring author living in Grayton Beach, Florida where she writes and independently manages digital and social media marketing for a handful of businesses – both local and national. She received a Journalism degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where a semester abroad initiated her passion for travel writing inspired by her adventures around the world. Kristy is a contributing writer to various publications including 30A.com, Beach Happy Magazine and more though her passion project is her debut novel-in-progress. She found her way to Longleaf in 2019 in hopes of connecting with like-minded creatives and learning from some of the best in the business. In 2020, she came onboard as Longleaf’s Digital Media Manager & 30A Attaché helping to tell Longleaf’s story and connect the conference with community sponsors and local South Walton businesses.  

Jonathan D’Avignon, Educational Director

Susan Vallee, Board

Carrie Chavers, Board

Lisa Pitts, Board

Interested in founding or endowing a scholarship or fellowship program?

Check out what you missed in 2021!

The Longleaf Writers Conference is a 501(c)3 non-profit and as such we use personal funds, generous donations, fees, etc., in order to provide our fellowships, scholarships, outreach programs, and generous housing and features to our conference. That said, we always are looking to expand all of our programs. Your donation, no matter how large or how small, will help us to achieve​ our dreams for the LWC.