We are thrilled to announce that Mary Ann Henry has been named as the 2016 New River Gorge Winter Writer-in-Residence!
As Writer-in-Residence, Henry will live at Lafayette Flats, a luxury vacation rental in downtown Fayetteville, from January through March. During the three month residency she will be working on her own writing as well as contributing to the Lafayette Flats blog.
Mary Ann Henry was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia; graduated from West Virginia State College; and completed a Master’s degree at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. After five years as a public school teacher, she transitioned to a twenty-five year career as an advertising copywriter and scriptwriter/ director/ producer of video and interactive media, winning many regional and national awards. While working as a paid commercial writer, she also studied screenwriting with a variety of professionals including Robert McKee, author of Story and Linda Seger, author of Making A Good Script Great. She wrote two PBS documentaries and one independently produced comedy that earned a national writing award and which aired on The Learning Channel and in seven countries. She was included in a book about independent filmmakers titled Girl Director and also wrote several feature-length screenplays, one of which, Wayward Girls, was presented at The Independent Feature Film Market in NYC.
In the year 2000, Mary Ann left her career in media production to move to a barrier island in South Carolina where she turned her hand to writing fiction and teaching creative writing at the School of the Arts in Charleston, where each year she earned Outstanding Teacher of Creative Writing awards from the National Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Summers, she spent writing and studying alternative belief systems with internationally known teachers in the areas of Reiki, Shamanism and the Lakota Sioux belief system. Bringing together her writing background with her spiritual studies, she began teaching a series of weekend workshops called Writing is Good for the Soul and completed a soon-to-be-published spiritual memoir titled The Late Bloomer’s Guide to the Universe. Today, she teaches fiction-writing workshops to adults at the Lowcountry Writers’ Retreat in Folly Beach, SC where she is also at work on a novel based on a story from the recently published collection of short stories, Ladies in Low Places.
Although Henry is a native of Charleston, Henry is no stranger to Fayette County having spent many summers on a family farm near Meadow Bridge. “The reverence for nature, learned while wandering the fields and woods, underlie why I still consider the area to be my spiritual home,” Henry wrote recently.
We are very pleased to be able to facilitate a return home for Mary Ann. We know that Mary Ann is excited to have this opportunity and is going to make the most of her time in Fayetteville.