Board of Directors and Advisory Council


Allison Wright, President

Nichole Rustin-Paschal, Vice President

James Harrigan, Treasurer

Bobbi Dunn, Secretary

Jeffrey Coomer

Ronald Harris

Sara Sgarlat

Liza Taylor



Executive Director

Sibley Johns

Program Manager

Amy McHugh


Rita Mae Brown, Author

Rita Dove, Former U.S. Poet Laureate

Kathryn Erskine, National Book Award Winning Author

Susan Gregg Gilmore,  Author

Joseph Jennings, Founder, Carden Jennings Publishing Co., Ltd.

Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management

Lee Smith, Author






Allison Wright, President

Allison Wright is the managing editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review and the editor of Tiny Hardcore Press. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, VQR, the Texas Observer, the Rumpus, and elsewhere. A native Texan, Allison received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Texas, where she taught before moving to Charlottesville in 2012.

Bethany Joy Carlson, Vice President

Bethany Joy Carlson is the owner of The Artist's Partner, a consulting firm for authors, filmmakers, musicians, and other artists who professionally produce their own work. She is a screenwriter and co-founder of local critique group BACCA. She teaches math at college prep academy Renaissance School. Joining WriterHouse was the first thing Bethany did when she moved to Charlottesville in 2010.

Nichole Rustin-Paschal, Vice President

Nichole Rustin-Paschal is a writer, attorney, and former professor. She recently completed a book about bassist and composer Charles Mingus, Jr. She is the co-editor (with Sherrie Tucker) of Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies (Duke 2008). She earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Nichole has taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Williams College, and New York University.

James Harrigan, Treasurer

James Harrigan is a Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia. James received his PhD in Economics from UCLA, and has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Paris, and was an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before moving to Charlottesville with his family in 2008. James is an avid reader of contemporary literary fiction, and is married to local writer Sharon Harrigan.

Bobbi Dunn, Secretary

Bobbi Dunn has extensive public policy experience in the arts, humanities, and education. She served as Director of the Congressional Relations Office of the National Endowment for the Arts, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education for Student Financial Assistance Programs, and Education Policy Director for a United States Senator serving on the budget and authorizing committees for programs in these fields. Bobbi also serves on the Boards of Directors for Piedmont Council for the Arts and Wintergreen Performing Arts.

Jeff Coomer

Ron Harris

Rachel Unkefer, Immediate Past President and Founding Member

In a previous life, Rachel was co-founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based technical bookstore chain Computer Literacy Bookshops. She is a fiction writer whose work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Prime Number Magazine, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Writers in the Heartland.


Diana Strickler, Past Treasurer

Catherine Crittenden, Past Secretary and Founding Member

Elizabeth McCullough, Past Treasurer and Founding Member

Christy Strick, Past President and Founding Member

Burnley Hayes, Founding Member

Hilary Jerrill Steinitz, Founding Member

Hope Mills Voelkel, Founding Member

Kristen-Paige Madonia, Past Membership Committee Chair

Charles J. Shields

Gale Martin

Christina Ball, Past Secretary

Walker Thornton

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