Bonnie Culver, director of the graduate creative writing program at Wilkes University, was named president of the James Jones Society.
Culver became a lifetime member of the society in 2005 and was elected to the society’s advisory board in 2007. Culver also serves on the Norman Mailer Society Advisory Board and will act as a liaison between the two societies during a joint symposium to be held at the University of Texas Harry Ransom Center in 2011.
Culver reports that the society is in the process of reorganizing itself and its educational outreach. As president, she will work with society members to facilitate necessary changes such as updating the website, addressing membership issues, and planning upcoming conferences.
The James Jones Society has been affiliated with Wilkes University since 1992. Then vice president of academic affairs, J. Michael Lennon, and Kaylie Jones, a faculty member in the graduate creative writing program and the daughter of novelist James Jones, established the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, which currently provides $10,000 each year to a winning novel in progress. Culver is one of three final national judges for the fellowship. She also oversees the collection and management of the contest submissions.
The graduate creative writing program of Wilkes University offers the master of arts and master of fine arts degrees in creative writing with tracks in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting and creative non-fiction. Both are low-residency programs requiring participants to attend two eight-day residencies annually on the University campus in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., with other coursework completed online. Both programs train individuals to be professional creative writers by examining the personal life of a writer; the craft, technique, and analysis of creative writing; and the art delivery method for one's work. Co-founder Bonnie Culver serves as the program director and is assisted by Jim Warner.