Erin Elizabeth Smith, Creative Director

Erin Elizabeth Smith serves as the Creative Director of the Sundress Academy for the Arts at Firefly Farms. She is also the founder and managing editor of Sundress Publications and the author of The Fear of Being Found (Three Candles Press, 2008) and The Naming of Strays (Gold Wake Press, 2011). Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous literary magazines including Mid-American, 32 Poems, New Delta Review, The Yalobusha Review, The Florida Review, Cimarron Review, Third Coast, and Crab Orchard. Smith earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2009 and is currently a lecturer at the University of Tennessee where she teaches poetry writing and literature. She is also the managing editor for Sundress Publications and Stirring: A Literary Collection.

Joseph Minarick, Chief of Operations at Firefly Farms

Raised in Oak Ridge, TN, Joseph Minarick received his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Excelsior College in Albany, New York. He enlisted in the Army in 1999 and commissioned as an Armor Officer in 2004. He is currently the Plans Officer for the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Knoxville. Minarick's interests in Appalachian history and sustainable development led him to co-found Firefly Farms with Dr. Erin Elizabeth Smith in 2012.

Jennie Frost, Literary Arts Director

Jennie Frost is a Jewish, Appalachian poet from Maryville, TN. She is currently the writer-in-residence and Literary Arts Director at Sundress Academy for the Arts where she works closely with visiting poets and a herd of sheep. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Anomaly, Kudzu, Glass Mountain, Indicia, Stirring, and more. She is a dedicated member of the LGBTQ+ community and a human rights activist focusing on sexual assault prevention.

T.A. Noonan, Development Director

T.A. Noonan is a writer, artist, witch, and translator whose books include The Bone Folders, Petticoat Government, four sparks fall: a novella, and The Ep[is]odes: a reformulation of Horace. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Whiskey Island, LIT, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Ninth Letter, Phoebe, and Open Letters Monthly, among others. She lives in Florida and serves as an Associate Editor of Sundress Publications, the Development Director of the Sundress Academy for the Arts, and the Founding Editor of Flaming Giblet Press.

Kristi Larkin Havens, Community Outreach Director

Kristi Larkin Havens serves as the Community Outreach Director for Sundress Academy for the Arts. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she is currently a Lecturer and the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies. She is a photographer and has served as a producer on films for several local competitions including The Knoxville 24-Hour Film Festival and the Grindhouse Grind-out. A social media enthusiast, Havens is looking forward to helping increase awareness of SAFTA's activities and fostering greater community involvement in the cooperative and inspiring artistic opportunities available at Firefly Farms

Adam Crandall, Theatrical Arts Director

Adam Crandall is a graduate of the University of Tennessee's Theatre program, where he was involved with both Clarence Brown Theatre productions as well as student productions with All Campus Theatre, including his directorial debut Almost, Maine, which won the 2013 EUReCA award for Theatre. He is passionate about developing SAFTA's performing arts programs, as well as building bridges between local arts organizations.

Chloe Hanson, Staff Director

Chloe Hanson is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee. She earned her MA and BA from Utah State University, where she also helped to establish and direct the Science Writing Center. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in several journals, including Public Pool, Off the Coast, and Driftwood Press. While she's procrastinating her homework, she can often be found with a beer in her hand and her dog, Simon, by her side..

Hannah Overton, Sundress Reading Series Coordinator

Hannah Overton has always called East Tennessee her home. She is currently studying English Literature at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and previously earned her Associate of Arts degree at Pellissippi State Community College. Hannah's passion for words and images is incorporated in her work as the Photographer for Young-Williams Animal Center, and as a Contributing Writer for the University of Tennessee's The Daily Beacon. When she is not reading Flannery O'Connor, writing research and/or fiction, or going on a photography adventure with her camera, she can most likely be found hanging out with her furry feline, Figaro.

Grant Howard, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator

As an East Tennessee native, Grant Howard, claims Southern Appalachia as his home. Growing up and studying poetry in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee, Howard's work calls upon place, memory, and the sharp contrast of Southern Nature's beauty mixed with its humidity. Howard is the recipient of the University of Tennessee's Margaret Artley Woodruff Award for Creative Writing as well as the recipient of UT's Knickerbocker Prize for Free Verse. His poetry can be found in the North Central Review, from forthcoming journals, and on Frank's Barn at SAFTA's own Firefly Farms.

Madison Mansouri, SAFTA Stage Intern

Madison Mansouri is currently attending Pellissippi State Community College where she is majoring in English. She has worked in theatre and dance for the majority of her life, starting at the age of three. Mansouri loves writing and wants to continue this passion to a professional level. When not writing or working with children, Mansouri can be found watching HGTV and the Food Network at home or fan-girling over a multitude of things with friends. She'd like to thank her family, friends, teachers for everything they've done; she'd also like to thank SAFTA for this opportunity too.

Laura Robbins, Development Intern

Laura Robbins, a Memphis native, is a senior at the University of Tennessee studying English Literature. For the last year, she has worked at UT's library in Special Collections. When she isn't writing papers or reading books for class, Laura enjoys buying more books than she has the room for and discussing anything from feminism to the latest superhero movie.

Macy French, Editorial Intern

Macy French is a junior Creative Writing student at Tusculum College. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Sucarnochee Review, The Mochila Review, Oakland Arts Review, and others. She is an editorial assistant for The Tusculum Review, and her poem "Nature and Nurture in Binary" was first runner-up at the Lex Allen Literary Festival 2016. When she isn't in workshop, she loves to explore caves, eat sushi, and pet all the dogs she can find.

Emily Chapin, Editorial Intern

Emily Chapin is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a degree in English Literature and minor in American Studies. In addition to being a doting cat parent, she enjoys gardening, film photography, and traveling.

Courtney Lynn Whited, Editorial Intern

Courtney Lynn Whited is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She spent her senior year at UT working as a copy editor and Arts & Culture writer for The Daily Beacon, as well as writing her senior thesis on the novel The Preservationist by David Maine. Courtney will be attending Oklahoma State University in August as a MA candidate in the English Literature department. Her perfect Sunday would include numerous mimosas, at least one bubble bath, and a novel by Neil Gaiman.






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