Valerie Nieman 

Valerie Nieman is the author of Blood Clay, set in Piedmont North Carolina. Tracey Gaines has moved to rural Saul County, NC, to escape the wreckage of a divorce and becomes a teacher at an alternative school. She devotes herself to renovating an old farmhouse but finds she can't as easily build connections in this new place. When the community splits, she finds an ally in a native son who struck out for new opportunities, only to face his own trauma and a forced return home. Elizabeth Stuckey-French says, "Val Nieman has written what is destined to become a classic novel of Southern life." Her collection of short stories, Fidelities, appeared in 2004 from West Virginia University Press, featuring stories that first appeared in The Kenyon Review, Arts & Letters, West Branch, and other journals and anthologies. Her first novel, Neena Gathering, was a science fiction paperback that was also translated for the Brazilian market. Her second novel, Survivors, was a story of loss and recovery in a Rust Belt town in the 1970s. A poetry collection, Wake Wake Wake, including work published in two chapbooks, and in Blackbird, Poetry, New Letters, REDiViDER, and in numerous anthologies. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in NC Literary Review, Connotations Press: An Online Artifact, Crab Creek Review, ABZ, Still, and anthologies from Bottom Dog Press and Jacar Press. She won the inaugural Byron Herbert Reece Poetry Prize, and was a finalist in the James Applewhite Prize and the Guy Owen Poetry Prize competitions. A former newspaper reporter and editor,she has received an NEA creative writing fellowship, two Elizabeth Simpson Smith prizes in fiction, and the Greg Grummer Prize in poetry. A graduate of the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University. She is the poetry editor for Prime Number magazine.
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