The Southern Book Prizes have been announced by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.
Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan won for Historical Fiction.
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks won for Literary Fiction
Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance won for Creative Nonfiction
The Fellowship of Southern Writers inducted twenty new members in 2017. Nine of them have strong ties to Appalachia.
Rick Bragg, from Calhoun County, Alabama, and a prolific non-fiction writer.
Amy Greene, from Hawkins County, Tennessee, the author of two novels.
Silas House, from Laurel County, Kentucky, the author of youth and trade novels and plays.
Michael Knight, an English prof at the University of Tennessee who writes stories and novels.
David Madden, native of Knoxville, resident of Asheville, author of literary criticism and novels.
Ed McClanahan, native of northeastern Kentucky, merry prankster, novelist and story-writer.
Chris Offutt, native of Rowan County, Kentucky, novelist, story-writer, and tv scriptwriter.
Ann Pancake, West Virginia native who has published novels and story collections.
Kevin Wilson, who teaches at Sewanee, Tennessee. Two novels and a story collection.
Written in Blood: Courage and Corruption in the Appalachian War of Extraction edited by Wess Harris received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. They called it a “slender but powerful anthology,” which “is especially strong on gender issues.” PW concluded that the book “offers deeply researched and ethically sound perspectives on an industry that has become a 21st-century political flash point.”
Jeff Biggers’ next book, The Trials of Scold: The Incredible True Story of Writer Anne Royall, is not scheduled for release until November, but it has already received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. The book tells the story of Anne Royall (1769-1854) who PW describes as “a groundbreaking traveler, agitator, and journalist, known for her cutting commentary on both church and state.” They point out that “Biggers covers Royall’s trial as well as her upbringing in the woods of Appalachia.” The book is described as “captivating and thoroughly researched.”
I am just now learning that the January, 2017, issue of the Yale Review published an essay, “The Elegiac Strain in Robert Morgan’s Poetry” by Bhishm Bherwani.