Writers’ Forum

The purpose of Fortner Writers’ Forum is to bring local, national, and international writers to the SAU campus to give free readings of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction which are open to students and the wider community. All audience members will gain insight into the writing life and process by hearing observations of established authors through the Questions & Answers section. There are also Open Mic which is the opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members to share their own work.


Featured Speakers:

 Joe Ingle

Joe Ingle is the man who wrote Rock the Boat, which freshmen read for First-Year Experience. He was born in Greenville, NC, to parents who were teachers. After moving to various small towns throughout NC, the family moved to Asheville after his father’s death.  He attended St. Andrews and received his B.A. in philosophy and religion (1968) and then attended Union Theological Seminary in NYC and received his M.Div. (1973). It was while participating in the East Harlem Urban Year program in NYC that he visited his first jail—the Bronx House of Detention.  Spending a year visiting those men led him to work with Will Campbell at Southern Prison Ministry in Nashville, TN, upon returning to the South.  Ingle directed the Southern Coalition on Jails and Prisons from 1976-90. Those years are chronicled in his book Last Rights: 13 Encounters with the States Justice (1990).  He then received a Merrill Fellowship to Harvard University where he began researching for Slouching Toward Tyranny. He returned to death penalty work in 1991 and focused on death row in Nashville. He published The Inferno: A Southern Morality Tale (2012), which is an account of Philip Workman’s framing for a murder he did not commit by Memphis police and prosecutors, and Slouching Toward Tyranny:  Mass Incarceration, Death Sentences and Racism (2015).

David A. Romero

David A. Romero is a Mexican-American spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, CA. Romero has performed and led workshops at over 50 colleges and universities in over 15 states in the USA. Romero is the second poet to be featured on All Def Digital, a YouTube channel from Russell Simmons. Romero has opened for Latin Grammy winning bands Ozomatli and La Santa Cecilia. Romero’s work has been published alongside poet laureates Luis J. Rodriguez, Jack Hirschman, Alejandro Murguia, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Romero has won the Uptown Slam at the historic Green Mill in Chicago; the birthplace of slam poetry. Romero has appeared in-studio numerous times on multiple programs on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles. Romero’s poetry deals with family, identity, social justice issues, and Latin@ culture.

Beth Copeland

Beth Copeland lived in Japan, India, and North Carolina as a child. Her book Traveling Through Glass received the 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award. Her poems have been widely published in literary journals and have received awards from Atlanta Review, North American Review, The North Carolina Poetry Society, and Peregrine. Two of her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is an English instructor at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She lives in a log cabin in the country with her husband, Phil Reich.


All students are encouraged to participate in Writers’ Forum. There is also Open Mic night where you can read an essay, a poem, sing an original song, or listen to engaging speakers.