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Board of Directors


Sydney Bollinger, Caucasian woman with light background

Sydney Bollinger

Sydney Bollinger is a writer and editor. In 2020, she graduated with an MS in environmental studies with a focus on environmental writing from the University of Montana. Her creative work has been published in Northwest Review, The Petigru Review, Grimsy Literary Magazine, Hash Journal, Dunes Review, Hear Us Scream, This Present Former Glory and other publications. Her first zine, Death Wish, was published in 2023. Bollinger regularly writes for the Arts & Entertainment beat in Charleston City Paper and is a founding editor of Surge: The Lowcountry Climate Magazine and The Changing Times. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her partner and their two cats. Follow her @sydboll and find her work at

Patricia Brandon. Caucasian woman

Patricia Brandon
VP/Events & Education

Patricia Brandon graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in education and an M.Ed. in counseling. After she retired from school counseling, she was a private contract therapist as well as a family mediator for the Richland County and Lexington County courts in South Carolina. She began her memoir and historical fiction novel writing endeavors when she became paralyzed in 2014 with an extremely rare condition. Her novel A Rule of Life was selected as a Gold Medal 2021 Book of the Year by the (UK) Coffee Pot Book Club organization and was chosen as a bronze medal winner in the Readers Favorite International Book Contest, 2022. It also was selected as a finalist in the American Writing Awards Competition, in 2022. Her first novel, The Center of Gravity, was selected as a bronze medal winner in the Readers Favorite International Book Contest in 2022 and was a Carrie McCray Literary Award winner in 2017. It is being considered for production as a limited TV drama series by several production companies.

Ben Culbreth, Caucasian man in outdoor setting

Ben Culbreth

Ben Culbreth is a freelance writer and content strategist who writes for multiple corporate clients and news publications. His work has appeared in The Summerville Journal Scene, Georgetown Times, South Carolina Living, and The Southern Edge. He also writes essays, non-fiction, human interest stores, and short fiction. A native of South Carolina’s Upstate, he now resides in West Columbia, South Carolina.

Charles Hall
1st Vice President

A native South Carolinian, Charles “Chip” Hall is new to the novel-writing game. Previously, his efforts were focused on speech and stage writing. He uses his writing talents primarily in the political world as an issue activist. In fiction writing, he finds Heinlein, Crichton, Grisham, Harris and Conroy to be inspirations. Outside of writing you will find him at home on the tennis court and camping. You can find him on most social media platforms at Chip Hall.

Dakota McElhinny, Caucasian man

Dakota McElhinny

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Dakota McElhinny also spent time growing up in Morganton, North Carolina. Between the two, he gained the “bustling city life” and “rural country life” experience. After receiving his associate of arts degree from Western Piedmont Community College, he obtained his bachelor of science from North Greenville University. In addition, McElhinny holds a certification in old Norse mythology from the University of Colorado, and a certification in magic in the Middle Ages from the University of Barcelona. A lover of genealogy, McElhinny is a descendant of several of the original Pilgrims, who came to America on the Mayflower, giving him familial ties to many famed authors, poets and writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry David Thoreau, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Ralph Waldo Emerson. For fun, he holds a Sealand Knighthood from the Principality of Sealand, and he is a former student of the well-regarded middle grade author John Claude Bemis. He has 12 independently published works, including The Realm (2016), The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince (2017) and The Realm: The Chess Master's Ring (2020), which make up his Middle-Grade Epic Fantasy, The Realm Series. Time Frozen Mirrors (2018), Black October (2019); Dreams of Glass (2020); The Cutting Room Floor (2021); Half a Truth, Half a Lie (2022); and Envoi (2023) are his six poetry compilations. The Art of Time (2020) is his sole short story compilation; and Crumpet Court Chronicles (2021) is his stand-alone book in the magical realism genre. McElhinny can be reached at or

Caucasian person with light background

Ash Smith

Ash Smith has a BFA in creative and professional writing. They currently are working on their first novel. A graduate of Converse College, now Converse University, Smith lives in Spartanburg and has served on previous boards in both Spartanburg and Converse College communities. They are very excited to serve on SCWA’s board and look forward to growing with this community.

Kasie Whitener. Caucasian woman with light background

Dr. Kasie Whitener
Immediate Past President

Dr. Kasie Whitener is founder of Clemson Road Creative, a management consulting company, and a lecturer at the University of South Carolina teaching strategic management and entrepreneurship. She was named a 2021 Fresh Voice in the Humanities by the Governor of South Carolina for her work on the radio show “Write On, SC” and with the South Carolina Writers’ Association. She is the author of two novels: After December (Chrysalis Press 2019) and Before Pittsburgh (2021) and two academic texts Practical Entrepreneurism (Great River Learning, 2020) and Strategic Management (Kendall Hunt, 2021). She co-authored the nonfiction manual Redesign Work Volume 1: A Beginner’s Guide to Autonomy (Clemson Road Publishing 2020). She is a member of South Carolina Humanities Speakers Bureau, and has delivered workshops for the Pat Conroy Literary Center, Richland Library, and Fairfax County Library, among others.


Cindi Boiter, Caucasian woman with dark background

Cindi Boiter

Cindi Boiter is a six-time winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project, winner of the Piccolo Fiction Project, the Porter Fleming Award for fiction, the 2014 recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, the 2018 recipient of the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award, and the 2023 recipient of South Carolina Governor’s Award for the Humanities for her work with the Jasper Project, which she founded in 2011. She is the founder and editor of Jasper Magazine, The Limelight volumes I, II, and III, A Sense of the Midlands, Art from the Ashes, and Marked by the Water, Setting the Supper Table, Sheltered, and editor of the literary magazine Fall Lines – a literary convergence, author of Buttered Biscuits, and literary author of Red Social. Boiter is the executive director of The Jasper Project and is married to Dr. Bob Jolley, with whom she founded Muddy Ford Press in 2011.

Wanda Craig (Raegan Teller). Caucasian woman with light background

Wanda Craig (Raegan Teller)

Wanda Craig, writing as Raegan Teller, is the award-winning author of the Enid Blackwell Mystery Series. Two of her novels received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, with judges’ comments including “one of the best I’ve read this year,” “great job combining plot and character,” and “great storyteller.” She also has published short fiction. Before becoming a full-time writer, Craig was president of W.B. Craig & Associates Inc., a management consulting company specializing in organizational and management development, communication skills, performance management, facilitation and project management. She was also an executive coach. In addition to serving on the SCWA Board, Wanda leads the SCWA Short Fiction Virtual Group and is also a member of Sisters in Crime, Southeastern Writers Association, Charlotte Writers Club, and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). She is a summa cum laude graduate of Queens University, Charlotte.

Sue Cryer. Caucaisan woman with glasses outside

Sue Cryer

Sue Cryer is a former newspaper correspondent and contributor for the The State Newspaper (S.C.), The Newburyport Daily News (Mass.), The Chatham Courier (N.Y.) and The Register Star (Hudson, N.Y.). She currently resides in Chapin, S.C., where she does freelance writing, runs her home business (Sue’s Home Solutions), serves as member and blog writer to the South Carolina Writers Association Board of Directors and has raised her family. She also served on local PTO and HOA boards in addition to volunteering with the Chapin High School Band Boosters and church-based grief group counseling, domestic abuse assistance and bereavement events.

Paul Davis. Caucasian man with glasses outside

Paul Davis
Advisor, Events & Education

Paul Davis is a prize-winning journalist and Brown University graduate. As a freelance writer and reporter, he has written for large and small newspapers from the Tampa Tribune to The New York Times. At the Providence Journal, he chaired the newspaper’s in-house writing committee. He won awards for his stories about the homeless, New England’s struggling fishermen, the Narragansett Indians and the working poor. The Journal submitted his seven-part series on the Rhode Island-South Carolina-West Africa slave trade for a Pulitzer Prize. A Florida native, filmgoer and history buff, he helped launch the Historical Writers of America. He recently moved to Aiken, where he works as a book coach and freelance writer.

Craig Faris

Photo to Come

Craig Faris

(Bio to come)

Patrick Holladay. Caucasian man outside

Dr. Patrick Holladay
Advisor/Finance & Fundraising

Dr. Patrick J. Holladay is a professor at Troy University. His work is conducted largely through the lens of tourism and crosses into areas like cultural heritage, agriculture, natural resources and faith/spirituality. He has worked in Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Southeast Asia as well across the United States. He is a research fellow with Tourism RESET: Race, Ethnicity, & Social Equity in Tourism; a committee member of the Ag & Art Tour of Richland County; and the past president of Georgia Grown Trail 17. Holladay writes mainly in nonfiction and academia but also travel essays, theology and poetry. He lives in Columbia and owns a small farm in Bishopville.

Sean Scapellatto. Caucasian man with glass on top of head

Sean Scapellato

Sean A. Scapellato is a writer of fiction and essays, a former creative writing teacher at Charleston County School of the Arts and now a lawyer in Charleston, S.C. He assisted Pat Conroy during the writing of and book tour for South of Broad. Scapellato is also a contributing writer to Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.

Art Turfa

Originally from Pennsylvania, Art Turfa has lived with his family in the Midlands of South Carolina since 2005. His roots, along with places where he has lived or traveled, are never far from his mind or poetry. The concept of place occupies an important place in his poetry and literary fiction. Currently retired, he is a Lutheran pastor and a retired Army reservist with veteran status. In addition, he taught English, German, history and religion on the secondary and post-secondary levels. Since 2005 he has been an adjunct instructor for English at Midlands Technical College. Turfa also has been published in U.S. and international print and electronic journals and was in the Top Ten of Pangolin Literary Review 2019 Poetry Prize. His books are: Places and Times (2015, eLectio Publishing), Accents (2017, Amazon KDP), Gemini (2018, Broad River Books), Saluda Reflections (2018, Finishing Line Press), A Village Remembered with artist Carol Worthington-Levy (2019, Amazon KDP) and All in the Family with artist Carol Worthington-Levy (2019/2020).

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