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May 2017 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

May 2017 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has chosen its Spring 2017 Okra Picks, a handful of books scheduled for publication between April and June. They are:

Skin Again by bell hooks, a children’s book illustrated by Chris Raschka

Small Treasons by Mark Powell, fiction

No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts, fiction

Extra-Ordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace, fiction

He Calls Me by Lightning The Life of Caliph Washington and the Forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty by S. Jonathan Bass, non-fiction


Last month we noted that Loyal Jones received the Tony Turner Award (their highest) from the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation. The Foundation has now posted their other 2017 Awards -

Their Private Individual Award went to Billy Best, most recently the author of Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving.

Their Culture/Arts Award went to Warren Brunner, most recently the photographer for Mountain Moments

Their Organization Award went to Jane Stephenson and the New Opportunity School for Women. She is most recently the author of Changing Lives in Appalachia: The New Opportunity School for Women.


For the June 5, 2017, issue of Time, Bill Gates recommended five books for summer reading, including Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. At the beginning of June, Vance’s book sits at number 10 on the Publishers Weekly list of hardback non-fiction best-sellers. It has been on the top 25 list in this category for 42 weeks, longer than any of the other hardback non-fiction books in the top 25.