Barbara Williams Sheperd holds an undergraduate degree from Keene State College and a Master’s in Counseling from Antioch University. She studied writing at the University of Vermont, taking additional coursework at St. Michael’s College, and Johnson and Lyndon State Colleges. She worked thirty years in public education, five as a classroom teacher, and twenty-five as a middle, or high school counselor. She retired from the Essex High School Counseling Department in 2003.
Barbara honed her skills writing thousands of college reference letters, guidance newsletters and directives. Her short stories and articles have been published in Mainstream Magazine, Keene State Today, The Barton Chronicle and the St. Albans Messenger. During the two years she worked for the University of Vermont Extension Service, she wrote a weekly column for The News and Citizen and a monthly newsletter for 4-H families. She even tried her hand at writing blogs for the Flynn Theatre.
During the summers, Barbara lives a quiet life on a small Northern Vermont lake. She recently took up fishing to pass the time during this Covid-isolation-summer, and as an excuse to get out on the water. When winter approaches she flies away to her Florida property with the rest of the snowbirds. There, she starts her day walking the undeveloped trails in her neighborhood, then moves on to creative pursuits.
In addition to writing, Barbara is passionate about genealogy and restoring vintage photographs. She played guitar in a Ceilidh group and clarinet in the Newport Community Band. She sang with Northsong, a Classical Chorus, for sixteen years until the Covid pandemic shuttered the doors on group activities. She started a knitting group at the Goodrich Library that lasted over ten years, again, furloughed by Covid-19.
Barbara has three grown children, and six delightful grandchildren who are not furloughed by the pandemic. People say of her, she makes a friend everywhere she goes.
Jack Mayer is a Vermont writer and pediatrician. His was the first pediatric practice in Eastern Franklin County, on the Canadian border, where he began writing essays, poems and short stories about his practice and hiking Vermont’s Long Trail. He was a country doctor for ten years, often bartering medical care for eggs, firewood, and knitted afghans. From 1987 – 1991 Dr. Mayer was a National Cancer Institute Fellow at Columbia University researching the molecular biology of cancer. Dr. Mayer established Rainbow Pediatrics in Middlebury, Vermont in 1991 where he continues to practice primary care pediatrics. He is an Instructor in Pediatrics at the University of Vermont School of Medicine and an adjunct faculty for pre-medical students at Middlebury College. He was a participant at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2003 and 2005 (fiction) and 2008 (poetry). His first non-fiction book is LIFE IN A JAR: THE IRENA SENDLER PROJECT. His new book, BEFORE THE COURT OF HEAVEN, is historical fiction about the rise of Nazism, and has received 14 book awards. His collection of poems inspired and composed in wilderness, POEMS FROM THE WILDERNESS will be published in Nov. 2020.
Louella Bryant’s novel Cowboy Code is based on the true story of a Virginia mountain town. Other books include While In Darkness There Is Light, nonfiction about the Vietnam era, a story collection, and two Civil War novels for young adult readers. Her award-winning writing has appeared in magazines and anthologies. A graduate of George Washington University and Vermont College of Fine Arts, Louella works as an independent editor. Visit her website at https://louellabryant.com.
Rik Palieri (pronounced Pal-air-re).
Rik Palieri is a talented singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist, storyteller and member of “The Mythical Order of The Rose Tattoo”, who lives the musical life to the fullest.
He is a very energetic performer who captivates audiences of all ages with his stories and songs. In a typical performance Rik will sing an old ballad with a fret less banjo, stomp out a Lead belly style blues on the 12 string guitar, squeeze an exotic instrumental on the Polish bagpipes, spin out a wild and wooly story of his travels, pluck out a tune on the Ozark mouth bow, blow a mournful melody on the Native American flute and end the evening with an original Yodel-sing-a-long
Rik has performed at concert halls, schools and festivals throughout the lower 48 states, toured Alaska by float plane, rode camelback in Australia and sung on trains throughout Europe. He has performed, in Canada, France, Spain, Germany Australia, Poland, Mexico and Argentina. He has appeared at such venues as The Kennedy Center, The Country Music Hall Of Fame, The Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Port Ferry Old Songs Folk Festival, The Hudson River Revival, The Vancouver festival, plus countless TV & radio programs.
Rik is also the host & producer of “The Song Writer’s Notebook “, a TV show, archived in the American Folk Life Center in the new “Rik Palieri Collection”, at The American Folk Life Center Archives in Washington D.C.
Rik has recorded 8 albums; He is also an occasional writer for Sing Out! Banjo Newsletter & author of a book “The Road Is My Mistress, Tales Of A Roustabout Songster” and his new book Banjo Man – Adventures of An American Folk Singer.
Over the years Rik has performed and worked with some of the legends of American Folk Music such as; Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Jimmie Driftwood, U. Utah Phillips, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Bruce Springsteen, Nora Guthrie & many more.
In 2009 Rik was featured on the Grammy nominated Singing Through The Hard Times: a tribute to Utah Phillips.
Stephen Payne is a fourth generation Vermonter from the legendary Northeast Kingdom. Mentored by renown authors, Galway Kinnell, X. J, Kennedy, Denise Levertov, Howard Frank Mosher, and others, he has been writing his whole life. In exploring and celebrating the dignity of rural New Englanders, Payne brings their struggles, losses, and triumphs to life in a deeply moving way. His award-winning novel, CLIFF WALKING, set on the rugged coast of Maine, has been heralded as an “emotionally satisfying triumph.” Payne has published fiction and non-fiction in Vermont Life Magazine, Vermont Magazine, as well as other periodicals. He is a practicing surgeon in northern Vermont and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. Payne raises money from his books for organizations working to end spousal and child abuse, as well as for the Lake Champlain Land Trust.