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.