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February 2017 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

February 2017 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

Victuals by Ronnie Lundy has made the shortlist of six finalists for the 2017 Art of Eating Prize. The winner was a book of Syrian cooking.

On February 4th, the Western North Carolina Historical Association presented its Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award to Terry Roberts for his novel That Bright Land. The four finalists were Phil Jamison for Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics; Randy Johnson for Grandfather MountainRobert Morgan for Dark Energy and Ron Rash for Above the Waterfall. Both Morgan and Rash have been winners in previous years. This award has been given since 1955 when Wilma Dykeman won for The French Broad.

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips, the story of racist violence in Forsythe County, Georgia, was one of three finalists for the Andrew Carnegie 2017 Medal for Excellence in Non-Fiction.

David Joy’s second novel, The Weight of This World, scored a coveted starred review in the January 16th Publishers Weekly! Their review concluded, “Lyrical prose, realistic dialogue, and a story that illuminates the humanity of each character make this a standout.”

An audiobook of Jeff Mann’s Country is now available ay Audible.com, narrated by Randal Schaffer.

Beloved Bristol historian V. N. “Bud” Phillips died at the age of 87 on January 9, 2017. He was the author of a dozen books and for years had a regular column of local history in the Bristol Herald Courier.

Karen Salyer McElmurry has won the New Southerner magazine’s 2016 Literary Prize for non-fiction for her essay, “Hand-Me-Down.”

Jedediah Purdy has an article in the March 2017 issue of The New Republic entitled, “Forging a New Opposition.” Purdy, who grew up on a “hippie commune” in West Virginia, graduated summa cum laude from Harvard and received his J. D. from Yale. He burst onto the literary scene in 2000 with the first of his four books from Knopf: For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today. He is the Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law at Duke.

Whipstitches by Randi Ward got a nice review on February 16th from Alex Gallacher in fruk, the folk and roots music webzine.

The only Appalachian book to make the Publishers Weekly’s PW’s 2016 Longest –Running Best-Sellers list was J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy which was on their Hardcover Nonfiction list for 22 weeks, the fifth highest in that category. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance rose to #1 on Publishers Weekly’s January 23-29, 2017, hardback non-fiction list. It was #7 in their overall top ten for that week as well.

 

A book that isn’t about Appalachia may stimulate some thinking and discussion among regional scholars. Scheduled for a March release is No Friends but the Mountains: Dispatches from the World’s Violent Highlands by Judith Matloff.