Joseph Bathanti came to North Carolina from Pittsburgh in 1976 as a VISTA Volunteer to work in the North Carolina prison system. Since then he has published widely and continued to teach and mentor prison inmates throughout the state. He is a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University. Bathanti is the author of four books of poetry. His first novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His second novel, Coventry, was the winner of the 2006 Novello Literary Award. He is the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council; The Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the fine arts of North Carolina over an extended period; the Linda Flowers Prize; the Sherwood Anderson Award, and others. He lives with his wife, Joan, and their two sons in Vilas, North Carolina.