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September 2017 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

September 2017 - News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

In a ceremony at Coffee Tree Books in Morehead, Kentucky, on September 28th, Darnell Arnoult was awarded the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing, named after and endowed by the family of Lillie Chaffin (1925-1993), a Pike County native who was a teacher, a librarian, an editor, the author of 17 books and who became a Kentucky Poet Laureate in 1974.  The award has been administered by the Morehead State University English Department since 1996 when James Still became the first recipient. Darnell Arnoult  is a native of Martinsville, Virginia,  who currently serves as Writer-in-Residence at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate Tennessee, and serves a co-director of the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. She is the author of a novel published by Simon and Schuster and two poetry collections from LSU Press, most recently Galaxie Wagon. She is  co-editor of Drafthorse: A Literary Journal. A list of past Chaffin Award recipients may be found at this website:,-Humanities-and-Social-Sci/English/Chafin-Award

The 36th Annual Literary Festival at Emory and Henry College will be held on November 9th and 10 and will honor Crystal Wilkinson, the author most recently of The Birds of Opulence. This event has featured a distinguished Appalachian author essentially every year – the 25th Festival was an anniversary celebration that brought together the authors who had previously been honored.

On Wednesday, October 25, at 7:30 p.m Charles Wright – the only Appalachian poet to have served as our national Poet Laureate -  will present in the Martha Street Culp Auditorium at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Wright is the author of several poetry collections, including Negative Blue and Appalachia.

At the 22nd Annual Audies Gala on June 1st  in New York City,  the Audiobook of the Year award in nonfiction was awarded to Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, narrated by the author.