Open Mic Blog

Word & Song Cafe

Posted on May 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Word & Song Café

Photo by Roger Roppel

Join us this summer at the Word & Song Café atop the beautiful gazebo at 14th Street West in Huntington, West Virginia, during the 21st annual Old Central City Days. Sit back and enjoy a cup or two of tea and delicious pastries from Betty Schoew’s Manchester House Tea Catering and listen to The Harmonica Club, Rocco Muriale play saxophone with Griff on keyboard, Dave Lavender sing, and award-winning writers read original selections Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17, 2012, from 1-3pm. For more information, go to


Our featured readers for Saturday include short story writer and author of Still Life With Plums, Marie Manilla, O’Henry Award winner and novelist, John Van Kirk, poet and author of Lake Effect, Laura Treacy Bentley, playwright and freelance writer, Diane Wellman, and a recitation by two-time state winner of the Poetry Out Loud competition, Jasmine Lewis.


Our featured readers for Sunday include novelist and author of Emily’s Shadow, Christina St. Clair, novelist and author of, Paul Martin, and debut novelist and author of Flowertown, Sheila Redling.


Celebrity readers include radio news personality: Bill Cornwell (Saturday), WSAZ morning news anchor: Susan Nicholas (Saturday), Commissioner: Bob Bailey (Sunday), owner of Hattie and Nan's antique shop: Joanna Sexton (Sunday),  Director of Weed & Seed: Jennifer Williams (Sunday), and Quilt Trail artist and author: Sylvia Thompson (Saturday).


Signing authors include Carter Taylor Seaton, an award-winning author of Father’s Troubles and a figurative sculptor, Daleen Berry, a blogger for The Huffington Post and author of an award-winning memoir, Sister Of Silence, Jane Congdon, author of The Count, My Mother, and Me, Patrick Grace, publisher of Wild Sweet Notes, Marilyn Shank and Llewellyn McKernan.


Admission is $3.00 or three cans of food. All profits will be donated to a local food bank.Your ticket entitles you to tea and a pastry served by our Celebrity Servers and an afternoon of entertainment plus a chance to win door prizes at 2pm and 3pm. (You must be present to win.)


Arrive early for limited seating on the gazebo stage! There will be another seating at 2pm.


Both featured and signing authors will be on hand to discuss and sign their books.


                                  * * *     

Huntington native Marie Manilla frequently peppers her fiction with local landmarks: Frostop Drive-In, Dwights, Neirman’s Pharmacy, curvy Spring Valley Drive. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her award-winning stories have been collected in Still Life with Plums (WVU Press, 2010). Her novel, Shrapnel, also set in Huntington, won the Fred Bonnie Award for best first novel and will be available in August 2012. Her website is  


John Van Kirk’s short stories have earned him the O. Henry Award (1993) and The Iowa Review Fiction Prize (2011). His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Hudson Review, The Iowa Review, West Branch, Kestrel, The Sonora Review, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, as well as several anthologies. His novel, Vossimilitude, is set to be published in 2013 by Red Hen Press. He teaches writing and literature at Marshall and is a long-time member of the Huntington Harmonica Club.


Laura Treacy Bentley is a poet, fiction writer, and book editor who writes “Conversations” for WV Living Magazine. She grew up in the West End of Huntington and spent many summers at the Olympic Pool. Her work has appeared in the United States and Ireland, and her first book of poetry, Lake Effect, was published in 2006. One of her poems, “Keepsake,” was recently chosen by the editors of O Magazine and is featured on Oprah’s website. Visit Laura’s website:


S. Diane Wellman lives in Huntington and works as a freelance writer. She is the author of several works of fiction, including short stories, plays, and screenplays. Her flash fiction was nominated for the 2009 Best of the Net Awards, and her play The Hen House was performed as part of Women’s History Month at Marshall University, where she received an MA in English. Visit her at


Jasmine Lewis is the Poetry Out Loud State Champion for both 2009 and 2010. She is currently a Junior at Marshall University majoring in Communication Studies with a focus on Organizational Communication and minoring in Business Management. Jasmine's favorite instrument is the violin, and she loves guinea pigs as pets.


Award winning author, Christina St. Clair, born and raised in London, England, has written articles, essays, and many novels for young people. She will be reading from Terrible Toes (available on Amazon Kindle) about an incident from her childhood. Her website is


Though born in Los Angeles, Paul Martin, novelist and author of has lived and written in Huntington, WV, so long that he considers these mountains and valleys both his only real home and inspiration. His fiction draws its breath from the people, small towns, even the geography of this region, and he hopes his work honors that debt. He understands that many of you might own an iPad, but doesn't want you to ever forget the sensual pleasure of cracking the spine on a great new book.


You may remember Sheila Redling from her fifteen year stint on the morning show at WKEE-FM in Huntington. Still an avid traveler, language geek and wine lover, she now writes under the name SG Redling and is anxiously awaiting the release of her debut thriller, Flowertown, from Thomas & Mercer, June 19, 2012:  Find her on Facebook and Twitter at SG Redling.




Photo by Roger Roppel

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1 Comment

Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
3:00 PM on May 31, 2012 
Check out the recent updates to the Word & Song Cafe at Old Central City Days: Rocco Muriale and Griff of Rocco's Ristorante, playing saxophone and keyboard, and Dave Lavender of the Herald-Dispatch will be singing on Sunday, June 17.

Keep checking back!