Sara Robinson and Rita Quillen will be the featured authors at Coffee Night, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m., in the Rhododendron Room, in the Slemp Student Center at UVA Wise. The fall 2019 edition of the Jimson Weed will premiere at Coffee Night as well.

Robinson, literature instructor at the University of Virginia, co-facilitator and vice president of the Blue Ridge Writers Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, will return to Wise, Nov. 12-13, at the invitation of the Department of Natural Sciences, the Department of Language and Literature, the Department of Communication Studies, the Lecture Committee, and the Jimson Weed, the college’s literary journal. She will present a public lecture, “From Industrial Science to Poetry: Needville as Poetry of Witness,” on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 1 p.m., in the Sandridge Science Center Lecture Hall. The lecture is sponsored by the Lecture Committee, the Department of Natural Sciences, and the Department of Language and Literature.

After retiring from a career in the chemical and minerals processing and mining industries, Robinson began a new life in creative writing. Her talk will address how one transcends the arena of science to the coliseum of literature. Showing how her industrial science background contributed to her growing awareness of our environment and how her conduit for this awareness is now poetry, she uses poetry to illustrate why science matters.

Both events are free and open to the public.
She is the author of Needville, her newest collection of poems centering on life and people in the coalfields of this mountain region, Sometimes the Little Town, based on the photography of Hobby Robinson in conjunction with the installation of his photographs at The Heritage Museum of Harrisonburg and East Rockingham, Virginia, Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool, and Stones for Word. Robinson’s poems frequently appear in the online journal of the Poetry Society of Virginia, Piedmont Virginian Magazine, Poetica, the 2013 Blue Ridge Anthology, among other anthologies and have received prizes from the Blue Ridge Writers Chapter and the Virginia Writers Club.

In addition to the Virginia Festival of the Book, Robinson has appeared on ArtistFirst Radio Network, the Hilda Ward Show: Artistic Expressions, and at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival. Her non-poetic works include a memoir, Love Always, Hobby and Jessie and a chapbook, A Cruise in Rare Water, relating a trip through the inside passage of Alaska and encounters with the spirit of the landscape and people.  
Rita Quillen, a semifinalist for Virginia’s Poet Laureate in 2012, is the author of The Mad Farmer’s Wife, Something to Anchor To, Her Secret Dream: New and Selected Poems, Counting the Sums, October Dusk, and two novels, Hiding Ezra and its sequel, Wayland, in addition to a critically acclaimed study of contemporary Appalachian poets, Looking for Native Ground: Contemporary Appalachian Poetry.

A semifinalist for the DANA Award. Quillen has taught literature, writing, and creative writing at ETSU-Kingsport Center, Northeast State Technical Community College, and Mountain Empire Community College. She received her M.A. from East Tennessee State University. Currently, she devotes full time to writing after retiring from her position as an associate professor of English at MECC. Quillen lives in Southwest Virginia on Early Autumn Farm in Scott County, Virginia.
Coffee Night.also features “Fall Highland Voices: Writers and Performers of the College and Community.” All contributors to the fall 2019 edition of the Jimson Weed are welcome to present and the program will be forthcoming. Others who are interested in participating or performing at Coffee Night may contact Autumn Stover, Jimson Weed managing editor, at by Monday, November 4.
A book signing will follow both events. Sara Robinson’s new poetry collection, Needville, and Rita Quillen’s new novel, Wayland, are available in the bookstore and at the events. Students will receive cultural activities credit for attendance.
For more information, please contact 276) 376-1027.