Midwinter roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

The screen deal bringing Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies to HBO Max is widely reported, with Deadline Hollywood, Poets and Writers, Kirkus, LitHub, Pittsburgh Current, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette spreading the word. Kirkus reports the good news that Philyaw has been longlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and her status as one of three finalists for the $20,000 Story Prize is noted in Publishers Weekly and LitHub. The author and her book also appear on the Black in Appalachia podcast, in Next City, and in the Boston Globe, where novelist Robert Jones, Jr., says: “This is the kind of book I needed at this moment.”

In the New York Times, Chuck Keeney and his book The Road to Blair Mountain are featured in “The Real Meaning of Hillbilly,” an op-ed piece by Abby Lee Hood.

Foreword Reviews has a pre-publication review of Ghosts of New York: “In Jim Lewis’s wondrous novel Ghosts of New York, encounters among strangers result in unexpected relationships and a montage that celebrates a city of manifold graces. . . A subtle, dexterous novel.”

Renée Nicholson’s “lyrical and fascinating” book Fierce and Delicate is anticipated in Buzzfeed‘s preview of “18 Books That Will Help You Better Understand Disability and Chronic Illness.” Nicholson talks with Shaun Slifer, author of our forthcoming So Much to Be Angry About, in the inaugural episode of the “Short Talks” series from the WVU Humanities Center.

Joshua Kim’s Inside Higher Ed essay on “Universal Design for Learning After COVID-19” cites Thomas Tobin and Kirsten Behling’s Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone.

In other higher education news, Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy is reviewed in the Teachers College Record, which praises its “insights and practical suggestions” as “useful for educators from diverse backgrounds.” And Gary Chu, Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh, and other contributors to Ungrading talk with the podcast Beyond the Curriculum.

The AAG (American Association of Geographers) Review of Books calls Appalachian Reckoning “a celebration of Appalachia and Appalachians,” saying it is “an important book for geographers.”

In Bristol, TN, the Herald Courier profiles Larry Thacker and his collection Working It Off in Labor County. The book is reviewed in the West Virginia Observer, which calls it “a lively mix that brings to mind the humor of George Singleton.”

Matthew Ferrence, author of Appalachia North, talks with Expatalachians, where he’s identified as part of “the burgeoning Northern Appalachia literary movement.”

CHOICE praises William Hal Gorby’s Wheeling’s Polonia as “an exhaustively researched community study” that “will interest historians of immigration, labor, and the Catholic Church.”

The Journal of Historical Geography finds Capitalist Pigs “a useful book for its well-researched historical anecdotes.”

And an essay on smell-loss and Covid in The Counter quotes Mark Smith’s Smell and History, citing it as an example of the new academic field that’s emerged to study the history of smell.

We’ve updated our calendar, which includes the National Book Foundation’s February 16 event featuring Deesha Philyaw alongside Jericho Brown, Tayari Jones, and Kiese Laymon. Hope to see you there!

Leave a Reply