While The Secret Lives of Church Ladies didn’t win the National Book Award (congratulations, Charles Yu!), its status as a finalist is reported in coverage of the November 18 awards ceremony from the New York Times, NBC, the Guardian, and elsewhere. Deesha Philyaw’s book lands on the cover of the best-of-2020 issue from Kirkus, and also makes the year-end best-of lists from the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library. It is reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books (“compelling”), the Observer (“stunning”), and the Charleston Gazette-Mail (“absolutely wonderful”), while Vox takes particular note of its publisher. “One of the reasons we cover the National Book Awards,” Vox says, is that the awards “recognize books like The Secret Lives of Church Ladies . . . a short story collection about Southern Black women from a debut author, published by a small university press.” Philyaw is interviewed on the podcasts from LitHub and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Publishers Weekly and Pittsburgh Current run reported feature stories about Secret Lives, which also appears on a number of holiday gift guides, including those from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Essence, and the bookstores Malaprop’s (Asheville), City of Asylum (Pittsburgh), and Downbound Books (Cincinnati).
TIME magazine includes Appalachian Reckoning in a roundup of responses to Hillbilly Elegy keyed to the release of the film adaptation. Coeditor Meredith McCarroll talks with the podcast Appodlachia, and the book earns a mention in Los Angeles Magazine.
As part of its story “The Battle of Blair Mountain Was the Largest Labor Uprising in US History,” Teen Vogue profiles Charles B. Keeney, author of The Road to Blair Mountain. Keeney’s book is excerpted in 100 Days in Appalachia.
In other news from our higher education series, Derek Bruff, author of Intentional Tech, appears on the Lecture Breakers podcast; Jessamyn Neuhaus, author of Geeky Pedagogy, is a guest on the Tea for Teaching podcast; and series authors Kevin Gannon and Susan D. Blum make appearances on the podcast from the Human Restoration Project.
The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society reviews two WVU Press books: After Coal (“strong comparative historical insights on a key period in labor history”) and The Politics of Appalachian Rhetoric (“masterful”).
December is another big month for online author events, including Deesha Philyaw teaming up with Samantha Irby at Books & Books in Miami and Megha Majumdar at the Silver Unicorn in West Acton, MA, plus contributors to Appalachian Reckoning in a panel discussion cohosted with Downbound Books and the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition. See all the latest on our calendar, and please support indie bookstores this holiday season!