Judy Light Ayyildiz

Poet, Fiction Writer, Creative Nonfiction Writer

Roanoke, VA 24014-4961
(703) 774-8440

Author's Bio

  Judy Light Ayyildiz has taught creative writing to all age groups and education levels for many years. For 13 of those years she was an editor and board member of Artemis, Artists and Writers from the Blue Ridge and she was a founding board member for the Blue Ridge Writers Conference. Judy has an MA in Liberal Arts & also an MA in Creative Writing from Hollins University. Her two books of poetry are Smuggled Seeds (Gusto Press Poet Discovery Winner) and Mud River (Lintel). She co-authored three supplementary texts for students and teachers with Rebekah Woodie: Creative Writing across the Curriculum, Easy Ideas for Busy Teachers (Frank Schaffer) and the Writers' Express (TS Denison). These textbooks for students and teachers grew from her extensive work in educating students of all ages to write creatively. She received numerous grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts as a “Writer in the Schools.” Her memoir Nothing but Time (XLibris) focuses on the importance of story within to bring courage and healing, and it highlights Judy’s West Virginia youth and her life as a Southwest Virginian. Some of My Ancestors are Ottomans and Turks (Greenhouse Books, Istanbul) was her first children’s book. She has published poetry, short stories, articles, reviews, in anthologies and in literary magazines such as New York Quarterly, Mickle Street Review, the new renaissance, Sow’s Ear, Piedmont Literary Review, Pig Iron Press, Lonesome Travelers Publishers, Clique Calm Books, Turkish Times, Turkish Torque, McGuffin Magazine, Hawaii Pacific Review, Artemis, Black Water Review, Roanoke Review, The Northeast Journal, Kalliope and others. She has been the recipient of various grants, honors, and awards. She has completed her first novel, Never Forever, based on the life and times of her Turkish mother-in-law. In 2007, a short story and a poem of Judy’s were translated into Italian for an international women’s anthology, published in Italy. She has been a fiction finalist for the Summer Literary Seminars, St. Petersburg, Russia, Roanoke YWCA 2007 nominee for the “Women in the Arts” award, winner of the Turkish Forum award, the Daughters of Ataturk “Distinguished Service” award, a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a Virginia College Stores Association Annual Book Award Finalist. An essay on the inner-weaving of Judy’s life, with selections of her published work, was included in the 2-2008 international women’s anthology Women and was a 2009 award winner of the Nazim Hikmet Festival poetry contest.

Publications & Prizes

Creative Nonfiction

Some of My Ancestors are Ottomans and Turks (Greenhouse Bookstore Cafe, Yeni Yasam Yayinlari, 2005)
Nothing But Time (Xlibris, 2001)
The Writers Express (Instructional Fair, 1999)
Easy Ideas for Busy Teachers (Frank Schaffer Publications, 1996)
Creative Writing Across the Curriculum (Frank Schaffer Publications, 1995)
Mud River (Lintel Press, 1988)
Smuggled Seeds (Gusto Press, 1981)


Blackwater Review
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New Renaissance
New York Quarterly
Pig Iron Press
Potato Eyes
Prizes won: 


Poetry Award Winner, Nazim Hikmet Festival 2009, Gusto Press Poet Discovery Prize with book publication, Finalist in Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia for Fiction 2007, 2002 Virginia College Stores Association Annual Book Award Finalist, 2002 Library of Virginia Outstanding Book Award Nominee, Distinguished Service Award 2002, Daughters of Ataturk, 2005 Turkish Forum Membership Award, top ten Mammoth Press book ms. contest, 1999, First Place, Jim Wayne Miller Prize in Poetry , Gertrude Claytor Memorial Prize of American Academy of Poets, 2nd Place 1981 Writers Digest Poetry Prize, 55th of 100 winners, 1978 Poetry Society of VA, Karma Deane Ogden Mem. Prize: First Place, and Honorable Mention 1979 Poetry Society of VA, Emma Trigg Mem. Prize, 2nd, 1980 The National League of American Pen Women Poetry Contest, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention, 1979

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Huntington, WV
West Virginia
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Last update: Nov 11, 2021