Mid-spring roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

In widely reported back-to-back wins, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies has received both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the LA Times Book Prize for first fiction. Author Deesha Philyaw is profiled in the Los Angeles Times, and her book receives mentions in the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, as well as coverage in Electric Lit, LitHub, the Morgantown Dominion Post, and elsewhere. Publishers Weekly reports that the title is a pick from Goop, the book club from Gwyneth Paltrow. And the newsletter Notes from a Small Press holds up the “deliriously wonderful publishing story” of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies as an antidote to Big Publishing’s woes. Don’t miss the PEN/Faulkner awards ceremony, with sponsors including West Virginia University, on May 10.

Jim Lewis’s “exquisite” Ghosts of New York gets a rave in the New York Times Book Review, which calls it “a wondrous novel, with prose that sparkles like certain sidewalks after rain.” Lewis’s book is excerpted in LitHub, and he’s interviewed by Ruben Martinez on the podcast from Skylight Books in Los Angeles.

For the third consecutive year, a book from West Virginia University Press has received the Weatherford Award for outstanding nonfiction title in Appalachian studies. This year’s winner is I’m Afraid of That Water: A Collaborative Ethnography of a West Virginia Water Crisis, edited by Luke Eric Lassiter, Brian Hoey, and Elizabeth Campbell. It’s praised by the Weatherford judges for setting “a meaningful example from which community-engaged Appalachian studies scholars will draw much inspiration.” 

Oprah Daily recommends Joanna Eleftheriou’s This Way Back as one of “34 Best Travel Books That Will Take You All Around the World.”

St. Christopher on Pluto is a finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction, presented by Colorado Humanities. Author Nancy McKinley will participate in the finalists’ reading series on May 19.

Shaun Slifer talks about his book So Much to Be Angry About on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia. He’s also interviewed for the blog from Seminary Coop Bookstore in Chicago.

At Shelf Awareness, a roundup of books about memory and memorials highlights Andrew and Alex Lichtenstein’s Marked, Unmarked, Remembered.

Susan D. Blum talks with Rachel Toor at the Chronicle of Higher Education about her book Ungrading.

Harvard Educational Review praises Kevin Gannon’s Radical Hope, which “presents an opportunity for a critical conversation at a time when we are wrestling with what successful teaching means.”

Jenae Cohn, author of Skim, Dive, Surface, appears in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Faculty Focus.

The editors of our volume Feminist Geography Unbound are interviewed by New Books Network.

Wesley Browne’s Hillbilly Hustle is recommended as “a delight” in the blog from the Authors Guild.

The Observer in Shepherdstown has the first published review of Nicholas Stump’s “impressive and rewarding” Remaking Appalachia.

Chuck Keeney and his book The Road to Blair Mountain are featured in the Charleston Gazette Mail.

The Southeastern Librarian praises Paul O. Jenkins’s Bluegrass Ambassadors as “highly recommended.”

And the journal Ohio Valley History reviews our title Capitalist Pigs alongside Communist Pigs from the University of Washington Press, finding that “these fine books describe the shifting, meaningful relationship between hogs and humans, a relationship worthy of our attention.”

See our upcoming author events on the calendar, including a WVU Press party featuring Morgantown and Pittsburgh authors Renée Nicholson, Deesha Philyaw, Geoffrey Hilsabeck, and Shaun Slifer on June 16 at White Whale Books. Registration for this online event is free.

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