augusta free press news

SWAG Reading Series kicks off 2012 schedule

The SWAG Writers (Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta Group of the Blue Ridge Writers Club) Reading Series kicks off 2012 with a duo from Lexington, a fiction writer and a poet who happen to be husband and wife.

Of Chris Gavaler’s novel in stories, School for Tricksters, Kate Buford says, “From the painful reality of the Carlisle Indian School, Chris Gavaler has created a unique and compelling work of fiction … a nuanced and provocative story that evokes central issues of identity.” Of Lesley Wheeler’s poetry collection Heterotopia, Pulitzer Prize-winner Claudia Emerson says, “This work fuses lyrical invention with the ‘blitzed, hungry, smoke-thin world of memory’—the poems richly drawn intermixtures of narrative and place.”

The presentation will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Darjeeling Café at 103 W. Beverley St. in Staunton. The reading is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.

This event is the latest public reading sponsored by SWAG organizers who hope to elevate the profile of area writers and promote the literary arts in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County by providing a forum for local and visiting authors to share their work. The group is made up of professional, aspiring, and hobby writers who also host a monthly mixer where members meet to network and socialize and read short excerpts of their work at an open mic.

Writers interested in joining the group can contact Cliff Garstang at


About the Featured Authors

Chris Gavaler’s books include a novel in stories, School for Tricksters (Southern Methodist University Press 2011) and a suspense novel, Pretend I’m not Here (HarperCollins 2002). His short fiction appears in over two dozen national literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, New England Review, Hudson Review, and Witness. He is also a four-time winner of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival’s Outstanding Playwright award. He received an MFA from the University of Virginia and teaches at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA.

Lesley Wheeler is the author of Heterotopia (Barrow Street Press 2010), Heathen (C&R Press 2009), Voicing American Poetry: Sound and Performance from the 1920s to the Present (Cornell University Press 2008), The Poetics of Enclosure: American Women Poets from Dickinson to Dove (University of Tennessee Press 2002), and the chapbook Scholarship Girl (Finishing Line Press 2007). A professor of English at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, she has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the American Association of University Women.

augusta free press
augusta free press