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August 2017 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

August 2017 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

Thomas Edward Douglass died of cancer on August 11, 2017 at the age of 65. He is the author of definitive literary biographies of two seminal West Virginia authors, Breece D’J Pancake (A Room Forever, 2004) and Davis Grubb (Voice of Glory, 2017) and was the editor of the Appalachian Echoes series for the University of Tennessee Press. He personally edited two reprints in that series, Hubert Skidmore’s Hawk’s Nest and Davis Grubb’s Fools Parade. Douglass taught contemporary literature at Eastern Carolina University. He did his undergraduate work at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, and his M.A. and PhD at UNC. He also held an M.L.S. from Indiana University.

The 20th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards will be presented on Saturday October 14th. The winner of the lifetime achievement award will be David Baldacci who grew up in Richmond, but whose mother’s family is from Ramsey’s Ridge in Dickenson County. His novel, I Wish You Well is set there. Among the many nominees in the fiction category are Some Small Magic by Billy Coffey, Landfall: A Ring of Stories by Julie Hensley, Nitro Mountain: A Story by Lee Clay Johnson, Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb, The Pathway Home by J. R. Parker, Farewell the Innocent by Steve Prince, and A Pit Pony Named Bobbit by Sally Barns Sutherland. Non-fiction nominees include Daughter of the Mountains by Sharon Canfield Dorsey, From Slave to Statesman: The Life of Educator, Editor, and Civil Rights Activist Willis M. Carter of Virginia by Robert Heinrich, Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: The True Story of the Jim Crow South by Beth Macy, Dimestore: A Writer’s Life by Lee Smith, and The Second Battle of Winchester by Eric J. Wittenberg and Scott L. Mingus, Sr. Poetry books nominated include Galaxie Wagon: Poems by Darnell Arnoult, Tapestry by Sharon Canfield Dorsey, Great Bear by Cathryn Hankla, The Mad Farmer’s Wife by Rita Sims Quillen, Sometimes the Little Town by Sara M. Robinson, and Only One Sky by Dabney Stuart.

Quoting directly from their facebook page: “Friends of Literacy will induct five writers into the East TN Writers Hall of Fame on October 19th, 2017 at Lighthouse Knoxville. Friends of Literacy realizes how important authors’ contributions are to our culture and history, and for the 14th year, we wish to honor those who entertain, inspire, and inform us through the written word.
THE HONOREES: This year’s inductees are:
Lifetime Achievement:
Jack Neely, produced 10 books about Knoxville and its history, the most recent of which being The Tennessee Theatre: A Grand Entertainment Palace and established the Knoxville History Project, an educational nonprofit that seeks to research and promote the history of Knoxville
Julia Watts, writer of more than a dozen novels and co-editor Unbroken Circle, an anthology featuring 27 writers from the South, as well as winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award for her book, Secret City , and a Lambda Literary Award for Finding H.F.
Sherri Gardner Howell, writer for the New Sentinel since 1975 and the Rhymes and Reasons column for nearly three decades; she was voted number one in Daily Features and number one among women in a News Sentinel columnist survey
Erin Elizabeth Smith, author of The Fear of Being Found and The Naming of Strays and founder of both Firefly Farms and The Sundress Academy for the Arts, a Knoxville nonprofit organization that serves as a retreat for artists of all outlets.”

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance ended its 47-week run on the Publishers Weekly’s Hardcover Nonfiction top 25 bestseller list at the beginning of July and has not reappeared on this list.

Applications are now open for the Lafayette Flats Writer’s Residency in Fayetteville, West Virginia. The owners of these vacation rental apartments offer a three-month residency that allows a writer or creator space to focus on their craft from January through March of every year. This will be the fourth annual residency year. The deadline for applications is October 15. More information can be found at: