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May 2019 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

May 2019 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

We are saddened to have to report the death on May 3rd of Chuck Kinder. He died of heart failure in a Miami Hospital the day before his wife of 44 years, Diane Cecily, planned to bring him home for hospice care. Born on October 8, 1942, in Montgomery, West Virginia, Kinder credited the story-telling prowess of his grandmother and his aunts for his story-telling inspiration. His father was a World War II veteran and insurance salesman, and his mother an emergency room nurse. They moved within West Virginia more than once, and Kinder started in technical school, but earned a bachelors from West Virginia University in 1967 and a Master’s degree in English from West Virginia University the following year as a result of writing the school’s first creative writing thesis. It became the basis of his first novel, Snakehunter. Kinder’s first job was at Waynesburg College, but he was soon drawn to the West Coast by a Stegner Fellowship to study at Stanford University, and then he became a lecturer there. He was writer-in-residence at UC Davis and the University of Alabama before settling in at the University of Pittsburg for more than 30 years starting in 1980. His great friendships and contacts produced an amazing list of guest lecturers there, and his parties with them and his students were legendary and enlivened the program. He retired in 2014 as director of their creative writing program and moved to Key Largo, Florida. His most famous writing student was Michael Chabon who garnered a Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and who immortalized Chuck Kinder through his character Grady Tripp in Wonder Boys which was made into a Hollywood movie. Like his fellow West Virginian, Lee Maynard, and like fellow Stegner Fellows, Gurney Norman and Ed McClanahan of Eastern Kentucky and Tom Robbins of Western North Carolina, his 1960s and 1970s experiences on the West Coast, and his identification with hippie/outlaw culture, distinguished his writing and attracted an enthusiastic reader base. He not only wrote about “bad boys,” he refused to follow conventional literary practice, blending fiction and memoir, for example, and delving into magical realism. He is the author of four novels, Snakehunter, The Silver Ghost, Honeymooners, and Last Mountain Dancer and four collections of poetry, Giant Night, Imagination Motel, All That Yellow, and Hot Jewels.


The Wall Street Journal’s Ten Books You’ll Want to Read this Spring includes:

The Magnetic Girl by Jessica Handler.


On the Bitter Southerner’s 2019 Summer Reading Roundup:

Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy by Anthony Harkins and   Meredith McCarroll

Like Lions by Brian Panowich

Magnetic Girl by Jessica Handler


Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson has been named to these lists:

BuzzBooks Spring/Summer Great Reads

May 2019 Library Reads