Early fall roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

In the Los Angeles Review of Books, an essay on John B. Thompson’s Book Wars uses West Virginia University Press to make a point about the state of publishing in an era of corporate consolidation. “University and independent publishers, operating outside the New York–centric Big Five model, create opportunities for writers to get their work out,” writes Jennifer Howard. “For instance, West Virginia University Press published one of last year’s biggest literary successes, the story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw.”

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is also one of two WVU Press titles lauded in Book Riot‘s “20 Must-Read Books from University Presses,” where it’s joined by LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia. And Secret Lives author Deesha Philyaw makes new appearances this month across media—in Ploughshares, the Bitter Southerner, and as part of NPR’s coverage of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. She’ll appear at the festival on September 23.

Foreword Reviews has the first published review of Keegan Lester’s Perfect Dirt, which is deemed “powerful and insightful.” Reviewer Ashley Holstrom finds: “Places are fleshed out alongside people, with West Virginia being the book’s star.”

Chuck Keeney and his book The Road to Blair Mountain are cited widely in reporting on the Blair Mountain Centennial events of Labor Day Weekend. He’s the focus of a segment with Melissa Harris-Perry on WNYC’s The Takeaway, and is featured in Smithsonian Magazine, Facing South, West Virginia Public Broadcasting‘s “Us and Them,” and the Charleston Gazette-Mail. A much-circulated AP piece featuring Keeney is picked up by media in San Francisco, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Winston-Salem, and elsewhere. The New York Times links to Keeney’s book in their coverage of the commemoration.

Also prominent in the Blair Mountain coverage is Anne Lawrence’s book On Dark and Bloody Ground, which is called “magnificent” on the Shabbat reading list from Jewish Currents, and is featured on West Virginia Public Broadcasting, in 100 Days in Appalachia, and in the West Virginia Observer, where it’s described as a “valuable tool to keep this history alive.”

William H. Turner, author of The Harlan Renaissance, is interviewed on Eastern Standard from public radio station WEKU. He will participate in the Kentucky Book Festival on November 6.

Also appearing on Eastern Standard is James Maples, author of Rock Climbing in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. Maples is the subject of a story from Eastern Kentucky University.

The podcast Pretty Wellness talks with Renée Nicholson, author of Fierce and Delicate.

I’m Afraid of That Water is reviewed in the Journal of American Folklore, which calls it “highly instructive, particularly as an experiment in activist, multivocal, collaborative ethnography.”

West Virginia History praises Hal Gorby’s book Wheeling’s Polonia as “a must-read” for Polish Americans.

Nancy McKinley is interviewed in the Colorado Sun about her book St. Christopher on Pluto, a study of “seldom-heard voices from the fringes of Appalachia.”

Authors in our teaching and learning series remain active on the higher education podcast circuit. Jenae Cohn, author of Skim, Dive, Surface, appears on Think UDL; Cyndi Kernahan brings insight from her book Teaching about Race and Racism in the College Classroom to Tea for Teaching; and Derek Bruff, author of Intentional Tech, is interviewed at Lecture Breakers. Cohn is also featured in the blog from the Association of College and University Educators.

Catch up with all our upcoming author events on WVU Press’s calendar, including Geoffrey Hilsabeck, author of American Vaudeville, in a virtual program with Iowa City’s Prairie Lights Books. And be sure to cheer on finalist Deesha Philyaw at the Hurston/Wright Legacy Prize ceremony on October 15, with Nikole Hannah-Jones as host!

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