The old hotel is already home to a roster of alumni writers, including The UGA Georgia Review and The Poetry Society, Terry Kay and Alice Friman, relationships cultivated by former owner and author, Laura Bowers Foreman, whose grandfather bought the old railroad hotel in the late 20s and raised his four children there.
A number of the Writers Guild at The Bowers House members are published writers. Some are self-published, others have materials accepted by publication houses and many are published via guild director Charles Prier’s Know It All Publishing. Besides offering monthly workshops at The Bowers House, the guild produces several annual event readings upon the publication of Bowers House Writers Guild Anthologies or featuring the member’s published work at a Bowers Hour recording. Recent readings include members Linda Dye, Pamela Baker and Sharon Wynns.
Ann Pancake—fiction writer, essayist, and environmental activist— from her work at the Bowers House Although Pancake currently lives in Seattle, Washington the West Virginia native’s writing, political efforts, and heart remain firmly focused in her home state, where the coal mining industry—in particular the highly controversial process of mountaintop removal—has both supported and devastated the populace in many areas.Pancake’s recent Georgia Review essay, “Creative Responses to Worlds Unraveling: The Artist in the 21st Century” (Fall 2013), worries the hows and whys of what a writer might do in the face of the huge complexities of environmental degradation: “I believe literature’s most pressing political task of all in these times is envisioning alternative future realities . . . a way forward which is not based in idealism or fantasy, which does not offer dystopia or utopia, but still turns current paradigms on their heads.”Her first book was Given Ground (2000), a collection of short stories published as the winner of the Bakeless Prize. Pancake’s novel Strange As This Weather Has Been (2007) won the Weatherford Award, was a finalist for the Orion Book Award, and was named one of the top ten fiction books of that year by Kirkus Reviews. Wendell Berry termed this work “one of the bravest novels I’ve ever read.”