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Media Contact: Maddy Elledge
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Young Harris College Professor Named Georgia Author of the Year Finalist

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing James Davis May was recently named the sole finalist for the 53rd Annual Georgia Author of the Year Award (GAYA) in poetry for “Unquiet Things,” his first poetry collection.

Under the Georgia Writers Association, GAYA is the oldest literary awards ceremony in the Southeast. Dr. May’s work was among 126 other entries that spread across 14 different categories.

Dr. May’s book, which was published by Louisiana State University Press, has been praised for its clarity and humor.

“This impressive first book by James Davis May is one that slows us down to point to a world we might not otherwise see,” said Kevin Cantwell, professor of English at Middle Georgia State University, who served as a judge for the competition. “In this young poet’s certainties of expression, we too go quiet ‘thinking about something else.’”

Dr. May has published his poetry in the nation’s top literary journals, including “The New Republic” and “Five Points,” and been recognized by a number of prestigious awards, including the 2016 Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from Poetry Society of America. “As a professor, I strive to model what it means to be an active writer and literary scholar,” said Dr. May. “It’s a real honor when my work is recognized.”

Since joining the full-time faculty in 2014, Dr. May has been instrumental in building Young Harris College’s Creative Writing major, which provides innovative instruction in the theory and practice of writing poetry and prose. Dr. May’s recognition by the Georgia Author of the Year Awards caps off a remarkable year for the Creative Writing program, a year that saw students publishing their work in literary magazines, receiving acceptances to graduate schools, and winning national writing contests.

To learn more about Dr. May’s works, visit

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,100 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., has completed major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. The College is an active member of NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2016-2017 list of Colleges of Distinction and is listed as a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit