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

In Book Riot, Kendra Winchester holds up West Virginia University Press as one of the “wonderful university and indie presses” that “provide a place for a lot of books big publishing doesn’t want to take a risk on.” Her piece (subtitled “supporting small presses supports communities”) quotes WVU Press staff alongside publishing professionals from Feminist Press and Hub City Press. Thanks, Kendra!

Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia is named a finalist for the Lambda Literary “Lammies” Award, with winners to be announced June 9 in New York. Avashia’s book is judged “astute and beautifully crafted” in the Southern Literary Review. She talks with the Read Appalachia podcast.

In Other Lifetimes All I’ve Lost Comes Back to Me is praised as “a deep and howling portrait of longing and loneliness” in the Boston Globe and “brilliantly aching and haunting” in Lilith. Author Courtney Sender appears in Slate with an essay on family, citizenship, and the difficult history of Jews in Europe.

At the website for the Today Show, Jessica George, author of the latest “Read with Jenna” pick, recommends Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. “I think short stories are notoriously difficult to write because you have so much to pack into such a small word count, but I think Deesha did this effortlessly.” Philyaw also makes another (!) appearance in the New York Times, where she talks with Gina Cherelus for the “Third Wheel” column.

Davon Loeb’s The In-Betweens is positively reviewed in Library Journal, which finds it “ideal for those interested in descriptive, insightful stories about what it is like to not quite fit in anywhere.” The book also earns a mention in Vol. 1 Brooklyn.Read More »

Late winter roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

The rollout for The In-Betweens receives wide coverage, in USA Today (where it’s a book of the week), the Philadelphia Inquirer (“gorgeously told”), and the Chicago Review of Books (“utterly captivating and resonant”). Davon Loeb and his book also appear in BOMBLibrary Journal‘s Book Pulse, the Rumpus, Electric Lit, Reckon Review, the Offing, Debutiful, the Southern Review of Books, and the Substack from writer and editor Rachel León. Loeb’s launch tour comes to Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, on February 25.

Neema Avashia’s “captivating” Another Appalachia is praised for its “nuance and hard-won pride” in a review at Pittsburgh Quarterly, and the audiobook edition earns an equally enthusiastic rave in AudioFile. Avashia will appear on April 13 at Marshall University, where her book has been selected as a campus read.

In the newsletter from 100 Days in Appalachia, Skylar Baker-Jordan reviews William H. Turner’s The Harlan Renaissance, predicting the book “will become a cornerstone of Appalachian literature and of Appalachian studies, influencing writers, researchers, and everyday people for years to come.”

James Lang and Michelle Miller, coeditors of WVU’s series Teaching and Learning in Higher Educationtake to the Chronicle of Higher Education with “Don’t Write Like a Robot,” an essay about authorship and artificial intelligence. Miller also appears on the Learner Engagement Activated podcast.Read More »

Midwinter roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

Kirkus Reviews has an early rave for Courtney Sender’s “compelling” In Other Lifetimes All I’ve Lost Comes Back to Me, which is hailed as “a distinctive debut from a promising author.” Also sharing praise is Foreword Reviews, where Sender’s “brooding, poignant” book is commended for its “sharp humor and imagination.” And Booklist, in a third pre-publication review, credits the title with “bringing to life emotions and connections too unwieldy to define or restrain.” Courtney Sender will launch In Other Lifetimes All I’ve Lost Comes Back to Me at events this spring in Boston and other cities.

Davon Loeb talks with Daily Kos about his “rich, evocative, and surprising” memoir The In-Betweens. It’s named one of 2023’s most-anticipated titles by the News International in Pakistan and by Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum Books. The Jewish Book Council has an excerpt.

Another Appalachia continues to earn best-of-2022 recognition. Neema Avashia’s book is included on the list “The Top 100 Lesbian, Bi, Trans, and Queer Moments of 2022” from GO Magazine, and named one of the year’s bestsellers at Riverstone Books in Pittsburgh and Read Spotted Newt Bookstore in Hazard, KY. Neema Avashia and Davon Loeb will both serve as featured authors at the April writers’ conference from Barrelhouse; registration is now open.

Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, writes in Food & Wine as part of the feature “6 Valuable Lessons Learned around the Dinner Table, According to Award-Winning Food Writers.”

Mark Powell’s “fantastic” Lioness is praised as “a helluva page turner” in Reckon Review.Read More »

New year’s roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

In an essay for the New York Times, Margaret Renkl names two WVU Press books—The Secret Lives of Church Ladies and Appalachian Reckoning—as evidence in support of her thesis that “University Presses Are Keeping American Literature Alive.” Secret Lives also appears on the year-end gift-giving guide from NPR’s Here & Now and (with Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia) on David Joy’s list of annual favorites in Garden & Gun.

In other best-of-2022 news, Another Appalachia is named one of the year’s best books by the New York Public Library (!), Writer’s Bone, Reckon South, and Newtonville Books in Newton, Massachusetts. It is (alongside The Secret Lives of Church Ladies) one of 2022’s bestselling titles at Pittsburgh’s White Whale Books, and it’s featured on the “Ask a Bookseller” segment from Minnesota Public Radio. Book Riot‘s roundup of “The Best LGBTQ+ Books of 2022” has it as the year’s top memoir.

William H. Turner’s The Harlan Renaissance is recommended by Jenisha Watts in the newsletter from the Atlantic: “What I love about this book is that it places Black people in Appalachian history.”

Davon Loeb, author of The In-Betweens, writes in the Los Angeles Times about “How I Learned to Embrace My Black and Jewish Heritage.” His book is named one of 2023’s most anticipated titles in the Chicago Review of Books, and it’s praised in Kirkus as “engagingly delivered, candid reflections on heritage and identity.”

Bratwurst Haven also earns a rave in Kirkus, where it’s called “an excellent collection that’s likely to appeal to fans of Alice Munro and Tobias Wolff—or to anybody with a taste for emotionally resonant short fiction.” Rachel King’s book is a staff pick at Powell’s in Portland, and it’s featured in both North American Review and the Colorado Review.

Courtney Sender’s forthcoming In Other Lifetimes All I’ve Lost Comes Back to Me is recommended as “a stunner from the very first page” in Deesha Philyaw’s “Year in Reading” feature from the Millions.Read More »

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

Deesha Philyaw’s remarkable run continues, with further attention for The Secret Lives of Church Ladies in the New York Times and in a feature from author Celeste Ng in Elle magazine. Philyaw is a source for PEN America’s report on Race, Equity, and Publishing, where she talks about publishing with West Virginia University Press. Her work with Freedom Reads, a program for the incarcerated, is written up in Poets & Writers.

Curing Season has a celebratory rollout, including a major review in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where Kristine Langley Mahler’s book is praised as “an exquisite, aching memoir of adolescent girlhood.” The title and its author also receive attention in the Chicago Review of Books (“elegant”), Longleaf Review, Brevity (“distinctive”), Atticus Review, the Southern Review of Books, Diagram (“thoroughly inventive”), and Hippocampus. On November 16, Mahler will participate in a panel celebrating University Press Week at the Raven bookstore in Lawrence, KS.

Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia is called “a love letter to Appalachia from a queer perspective” in Book Riot and praised as “stunning” in Pittsburgh Magazine. The author is interviewed at Boston.com and in Appalachian Review.

Rachel King talks with both Portland television station KOIN and the “Reading With” feature at Shelf Awareness about her new book Bratwurst Haven. King’s tour comes to Morgantown, Baltimore, DC, and Raleigh the week of November 7.

The magazine Science reviews Picture a Professor, saying it “does a service to all who would prefer a different path, offering realistic strategies to engage students in undermining scholarly stereotypes.” Congratulations to Jessamyn Neuhaus and all of the volume’s essayists!Read More »

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

Foreword Reviews has the first published review of Rachel King’s Bratwurst Haven, which is praised as “an endearing composite portrait of a working class community in transition.” This fall, King will read at a mix of in-person and virtual events in Portland, Pittsburgh, Morgantown, Baltimore, Washington (DC), and Raleigh.

Kristine Langley Mahler’s Curing Season is reviewed in Booklist. “Through careful excavation,” it finds, “Mahler manages to create a time machine harking back to the simplicity and complexity of adolescence in 1990s America.” The author—whose fall tour includes events with bookstores in Asheville, Pittsburgh, and Lawrence—appears in Electric Lit and on Friday Live from Nebraska Public Radio. Her book is recommended as “skillful” and “agile” at the Ploughshares blog.

New accolades continue to arrive for Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia—in Book Riot (“I devoured this beautiful memoir in one day”) and Daily Yonder (“I cannot get enough of Neema Avashia’s collection of essays”). Speaking with the Asheville Mountain Xpress, David Joy praises work by Avashia and others, saying: “I think we’re at a really beautiful moment in literature . . . where we’re finally getting a more complex and fuller understanding of the lives that are lived in this place.” Avashia talks with the Louisville Courier Journal as part of its coverage of the Appalachian Big Ideas Festival.

Charles Dodd White’s A Year without Months lands on the Garden & Gun fall reading list: “Talk about a slim book with a powerful and emotional punch. White wrestles with unfathomable loss, difficult relationships, and the loss of Appalachia, yet somehow finds beauty and truth.” The Rivanna Review is equally supportive, saying: “White is good company, a worthy son of Appalachia.”Read More »

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

Two years after publication, Deesha Philyaw’s award-winning story collection continues to receive accolades, with new praise in the New York Times. “Recently, I count as ideal the books that make me laugh,” says Frances Mayes in the weekly “By the Book” column. “Deesha Philyaw’s raucous The Secret Lives of Church Ladies accomplishes that.”

Kristine Langley Mahler’s Curing Season is reviewed in Shelf Awareness: “These experimental essays about place, home and the failed effort to belong are closely tied to Eastern North Carolina, but will resonate everywhere.” Mahler, who’s on tour this fall, teases her new book in LitHub.

Hippocampus adds to the growing stack of positive reviews for Another Appalachia: “To say that I loved Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia feels like an understatement.” The author will appear in Boone, Hazard, and Charleston this fall.

In the Southern Review of Books, Tom Bredehoft’s Foote is praised as “a quirky good time of a book, one with a delightful flavor of mountain folk mystery.” The author will read from his book—called “immensely bingeable” in Weelunk—at a WVU event on September 15.

Rachel King’s Bratwurst Haven is anticipated in Boulder Weekly as one of the top five books set in Colorado: “King’s writing is as crystal-clear as a bright Colorado day.” The author’s fall tour will take her to cities including Portland, Baltimore, Washington (DC), and Morgantown.Read More »

Late summer roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia is named a finalist for New England Book Award, given by the New England Independent Booksellers Association. Avashia is interviewed by CNN as part of its programming in support of W. Kamau Bell’s “Black in Appalachia” episode of United Shades of America. She appears on WCVB-TV in Boston, and is included in the “Queer Books Across America” feature from Autostraddle. NPR’s Here and Now highlights her book on its list of the best summer reads for 2022.

Science magazine has the first published review of Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy’s “compelling and critical” Inclusive Teaching. It says: “Given the urgent need to promote justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our communities, the book is a must-read for all who are in a position to better support inclusive teaching.”

In other higher education news:

Mark Powell’s Lioness is discussed on public radio station WOSU in Columbus, where it’s recommended as “mesmerizing.”

Two books from WVU Press—Appalachian Reckoning and The Harlan Renaissance—are on a list of recommended reads about Appalachia from WBUR public radio in Boston.

West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting talks with Laura Long and Doug Van Gundy, editors of Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods.

Read More »

Midsummer roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

A title from West Virginia University Press lands, for the first time, in the New Yorker, where Deesha Philyaw’s “beguiling” The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is recommended by Doreen St. Félix as part of the “What We’re Reading This Summer” feature. Philyaw also appears in Raj Tawney’s op-ed for NBC News Online about navigating publishing as a writer of color. Tawney finds inspiration in Philyaw’s work, and refers to her publisher as “small-yet-fierce West Virginia University Press.” Our small, fierce team remains grateful to the many readers worldwide who continue to find new ways to celebrate Secret Lives!

Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia is named Book of the Day by the New York Public Library, and included on the list “20 Must-Read Under-the-Radar Queer Books from the First Half of 2022” from Book Riot. Avashia talks with Mom Egg Review, and her book is recommended by booksellers at Cicada Books in a feature in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.

Kristine Langley Mahler’s Curing Season is anticipated on the list “What to Read When You’ve Made it Halfway Through 2022” from the Rumpus. Watch for launch events in Omaha, Des Moines, and elsewhere on Mahler’s calendar.

The podcast from Change Seven Magazine talks with Charles Dodd White, author of A Year without Months.

John Warner devotes his column in Inside Higher Ed to Aeron Haynie and Stephanie Spong’s “indispensable” Teaching Matters: A Guide for Graduate Students.Read More »

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

Another Appalachia is as good as everyone says, and better,” reports Garrett Robinson in a review for Read Appalachia. Neema Avashia’s book is selected by the New York Public Library for their list “New LGBTQ Nonfiction for Pride,” named one of “50 LGBTQ+ Books to Read Now & Always” in Bustle, and chosen as a summer reading pick at Kenyon Review, Garden & Gun, and the Bitter Southerner. Attention from bookstores continues, with City of Asylum in Pittsburgh naming it one of the year’s best books so far, and the owner of Yu and Me praising Avashia’s “thoughtful, raw, honest” event at her store in New York.

Rounding out its coverage this month, Another Appalachia receives positive notice from Longreads, Chapter 16, and the Athens (OH) Post. Avashia will appear at a Pride event in Huntington, WV, on June 25, as previewed in the Herald-Dispatch.

An NPR travel feature with state-by-state book recommendations picks Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods, edited by Laura Long and Doug Van Gundy, to represent West Virginia. The volume is called “a wonderful illustration of the complexity of the state and its literary landscape.”

Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies makes the Boston Globe‘s summer reading list (“the secrets do not disappoint”). Philyaw is featured in Black Pittsburgh and LitHub, and her appearance in the documentary film Introducing Brian Broome receives attention on public radio station WESA.

In a review for Still: The Journal, Charles Dodd White’s book A Year without Months is held up as “necessary reading for anyone interested in the changing world of the modern mountain south.” It’s named one of the month’s best southern books in the Southern Review of Books.

A reported piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education praises the “well-regarded series on teaching in higher ed from West Virginia University Press,” with specific reference to series authors Chavella Pittman and Cyndi Kernahan, and a link to Jessamyn Neuhaus’s forthcoming collection Picture a Professor.Read More »