Joseph Bathanti is professor of English and McFarlane Family Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Education and writer-in-residence of Appalachian State University’s Watauga Residential College. He served as the 2016 Charles George VA Medical Center Writer-in-Residence in Asheville, North Carolina. He is former Poet Laureate of North Carolina (2012-14) and recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award for Literature. He served as the 2019 Mountain Heritage Literary Festival keynote speaker and led the poetry master class.

Bathanti recently was the recipient of the Lee Smith Award from Lincoln Memorial university at its 2019 Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. The prize recognizes an individual who has worked to preserve and promote Appalachian culture. His poetry books include: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; This Metal (nominated for the National Book Award, and winner of the Oscar Arnold Young Award); Land of Amnesia; Restoring Sacred Art (winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year); Sonnets of the Cross; Concertina (Winner of the 2014 Roanoke Chowan Prize); and The 13th Sunday after Pentecost (LSU Press, 2016).

His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award and his novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, The High Heart, won the 2006 Spokane Prize. They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina's Visiting Artists, 1971-1995, his book of nonfiction, was published in early 2007.

His recent book of personal essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, winner of the Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, is from Mercer University Press. A new novel, The Life of the World to Come, was released from University of South Carolina Press in late 2014.