MECC Foundation to Host 39th Annual John Fox, Jr. Literary Festival & Lonesome Pine Short – Story and Poetry Contests

The MECC Foundation is pleased to announce the 39th annual John
Fox, Jr. Literary Festival, featuring guest authors Donald Davis and Dr. David Sam, on Wednesday, March 18th at 10 a.m. in the Goodloe Center of Phillips-Taylor Hall. The festival will feature readings and discussion with the authors. The MECC Foundation will also host the 28th Annual Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest and the 11th Annual Lonesome Pine Poetry Contest, in partnership with Lonesome Pine Arts & Crafts, Inc. Individuals interested in obtaining contest guidelines should contact the MECC Foundation Office at (276) 523-7466. Contest rules are also available on the MECC website ( and the MECC Foundation website ( Short stories and poems in the adult, high school (grades 9 through 12), and middle school (grades 5 through 8) categories must be submitted to the MECC Foundation office by Monday, February 23rd at 4:30 p.m.
Contest winners will be announced during the Literary Festival on March 18th, and cash prizes will be awarded.

Donald Davis was born in Western North Carolina, a Southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories. He grew up absorbed in the gentle fairy tales, simple and silly Jack tales, scary mountain lore, ancient Welsh and Scottish folktales, and – most importantly – nourishing true-to-life stories of his own neighbors and kin. Davis remembers, “I discovered that in a story I could safely dream any dream, hope any hope, go anywhere I pleased, fight any foe, win or lose, love or die. My stories created a safe experimental learning place.” For Donald Davis, storytelling is a way of giving and living life. He invites each listener to come along, to pull deep inside for one’s own stories, to personally share and co – create the common experiences that celebrate the creative spirit. Mr. Davis is a graduate of Davidson College and Duke University Divinity School, and is a retired Methodist minister. He has served as Chair of the National Storytelling Association Board of Directors, and as a featured teller at the Smithsonian Institution, the World’s Fair, and festivals and concerts throughout the United States and the world. He is a prolific author and producer of books and tapes of his work, including Tales from a Free-Range Childhood (2011). He also teaches workshops and storytelling courses and guest hosts the National Public Radio program “Good Evening.”

David Anthony Sam was born and spent his early childhood in McKeesport, PA, a coal and steel suburb of Pittsburgh. Later, his family relocated with his father’s factory to Belleville, MI, a far suburb of Detroit. These childhood homes afforded him many opportunities to explore railroad tracks, woods, lakes, and rural farm fields. These adventures influenced his poetry as well as his sense of the holistic ecology of all things. A grandchild of immigrants and first-generation college student, Sam is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Michigan State University. He has taught creative writing, English literature, and composition at EMU, Marygrove College, Oakland Community College, and Pensacola State College. Dr. Sam has written poetry for forty years, and has two published collections, including Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves (2014). He has also been published in Carbon Culture Review, The Crucible, The Flagler Review, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Summerset Review, The Birds We Pile Loosely, and Literature Today. He currently serves as the President of Germanna Community College.

The John Fox, Jr. Festival will be followed by a reservation – only luncheon with the featured speakers at the John Fox, Jr. Museum in Big Stone Gap. Tickets for the luncheon are $23 per person and reservations can be made by calling the MECC Foundation office at (276) 523-7466. For more information on the MECC Foundation, please visit our website at