Well Versed 2024 Judges


Elijah Burrell

Elijah Burrell is the author of three collections of poetry: Skies of Blur (EastOver Press, 2024), TROUBLER (Aldrich Press, 2018), and The Skin of the River (Aldrich Press, 2014). His writing has appeared in publications such as AGNI, The Hopkins Review, North American Review, Southwest Review, The Rumpus, Sugar House Review, Measure, and many others. Burrell received the 2010 Jane Kenyon Scholarship at Bennington College, where he earned his MFA in Writing and Literature at Bennington’s Writing Seminars. In 2012 Burrell joined the faculty of Lincoln University, where he serves as Professor of English. Recently, Burrell received the 2023 Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education.


Gregory Ashe

Gregory Ashe is a longtime Midwesterner. He has lived in Chicago, Bloomington (IN), and Saint Louis, his current home. He primarily writes contemporary mysteries, with forays into romance, fantasy, and horror. Predominantly, his stories feature LGBTQ protagonists. When not reading and writing, he is an educator. For more information, visit his website: www.gregoryashe.com.


Matt Dube

Matt Dube teaches creative writing and American lit at William Woods University in Fulton, MO. His non-fiction has appeared in Scud, Essay Daily, the Iconoclast, and elsewhere. He reads submissions for the online lit mag Craft and is a returning non-fiction judge for the Columbia Writer’s Guild.

Flash Fiction

Hank Edwards

Hank Edwards has been writing gay romantic fiction for more than twenty years. He has published over thirty novels and dozens of short stories. His writing crosses many sub-genres, including romantic comedy, contemporary, paranormal, suspense, mystery, and wacky comedy. No matter what genre he writes, Hank likes to keep things steamy, kind of sassy, and heartfelt. He was born and still lives in a northwest suburb of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan.

Cover Art and Design

Mike Sleadd

Mike Sleadd, born and raised in Kentucky, currently resides in Columbia, Missouri. Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and Music at Columbia College, he taught a variety of art and graphic design classes for 34 years. Mike works from numerous thumbnail sketches, beginning a drawing with expressive gestures using the ink-soaked plume of a feather. From those initial strokes, he begins to weave an array of patterns into detailed, whimsical abstractions. Intricate, expressive, and sometimes humorous, Mike’s work is complex and full of texture, evolving over dozens of hours spent dipping his pen into his antique inkwell. He has illustrated many covers for Missouri poet Walter Bargen and published a few poems himself in the 1970’s. Mike is now Artist in Residence at Columbia College.