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

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies has been named one of five finalists for the National Book Award in fiction, as reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and elsewhere. The inclusion of a title from a smaller publisher is notable, with Vox reporting “we get the unusual sight of a small university press book in the fiction finals.”

Deesha Philyaw’s book is also covered in Vanity Fair (where it’s recommended by Roxane Gay) and public radio stations WESA in Pittsburgh and WYPR in Baltimore. It makes the Buzzfeed list “38 Great Books to Read This Fall,” and is called “an unforgettable look inside the hearts of Black women” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Congratulations to author Deesha Philyaw!

Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll’s Appalachian Reckoning is winner of the Walter and Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award from the American Book Awards, as reported in LitHub and elsewhere. The release of the Hillbilly Elegy movie trailer sparks attention for our book in Columbus Alive and the Hill.

And rounding out awards news, the Wisconsin Library Association names Krista Eastman’s book The Painted Forest winner of their Outstanding Achievement Award.Read More »

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

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies receives two glowing endorsements from major newspapers. “These are stories about Black women that haven’t been told with this level of depth, wit, or insight before,” says Tony Norman in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “so it will not shock me if Oprah gets around to selecting it before the end of the year.” And in an equally enthusiastic review, Marion Winik writes for the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “In this year of constriction and pain, juicy goodness bursts from every page of Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection. . . . This collection marks the emergence of a bona fide literary treasure.”

Previously the recipient of a starred review in Kirkus, Philyaw’s book makes another appearance in the magazine as one of four “must-read” story collections highlighted in its fall preview issue. It is also recommended on the Kirkus podcast, and called “cheeky, insightful, and irresistible” in Ms. Magazine. The free weekly Pittsburgh City Paper has two pieces on Philyaw’s “incredibly moving” book, which is excerpted in Electric Lit.

Library Journal‘s list of “35 Standout Summer/Fall 2020 Debut Novels” includes Lana Austin’s Like Light, Like Music.

Radical Hope is lauded in AEJMC: “Startlingly succinct, yet resonant with raw emotion,” it is “required reading for those of us struggling to figure out how to adjust and balance our work this fall.” Author Kevin Gannon is featured in an Inside Higher Ed piece about faculty responses to the Jacob Blake shooting.Read More »

July roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is named to Library Journal‘s list “Black Voices Matter 2020” and called one of “12 Must-Read Books by Black Authors” in Amazon Book Review, which says: “The stories of these women and their friendships come alive, beating with tenderness and imperfection, and build upon one another to create a beautiful melody of female determination.”

Philyaw is profiled in a cover story in Pittsburgh Current, where her book is called “full of lived-in humanity, warmth, and compassion.” She’ll launch The Secret Lives of Church Ladies as part of the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures series, cohosted with the Carnegie Library and White Whale Books, on September 3.

Foreword Reviews praises Joanna Eleftheriou’s “heartfelt and heartrending” This Way Back, saying “the essays entice every sense.”Read More »

June roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

In an impressive set of prepublication reviews, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is called “triumphant” in Publishers Weekly and earns a starred review from Kirkus, which enthuses: “Tender, fierce, proudly black and beautiful, these stories will sneak inside you and take root.” Deesha Philyaw’s book is named one of “24 New and Forthcoming Books That Celebrate Black Lives” in Electric Lit, and the author appears in Pittsburgh City Paper.

Joanna Eleftheriou’s “winning and contemplative” This Way Back also receives a starred review from Kirkus. It’s called “intimate and a touch mournful, most powerfully so when the author writes about her sexuality.”

The Painted Forest is reviewed in Rain Taxi: “Gorgeously written and meticulously researched, it would be perfect for lovers of creative nonfiction—especially those with an affinity for nature writing and ecocriticism.”

USA Today recommends a book from every state, selecting Chuck Kinder’s Last Mountain Dancer—with its “local legends, family stories, [and] regional history”—for West Virginia.Read More »

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

WVU Press makes its first appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air (a significant publicity milestone!), where Nancy McKinley’s novel-in-stories St. Christopher on Pluto receives a favorable review. “Like the best comic fiction, it’s constructed out of insider social observations that sting as much as they amuse.”

A New York Times feature on contributing writers’ favorite restaurants quotes Candace Nelson on Fairmont’s Country Club Bakery, and mentions her WVU book The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll.

As the higher education community reflects on the past semester—and makes plans for the next—WVU’s books about teaching and learning continue to shape the conversation: 

  • In a major Los Angeles Review of Books essay on “Universities in the Age of COVID-19,” Ryan Boyd writes that Kevin Gannon’s Radical Hope “make[s] it clear what the stakes are, and which path we should sprint down, right now, if we want to live and maybe even thrive.” Gannon talks with Inside Higher Ed about grading during the pandemic, and appears on the Phoenix Thriving podcast.
  • Jessamyn Neuhaus, author of Geeky Pedagogy, writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the challenges that introverts face when engaging in remote teaching.
  • In Disability Studies Quarterly, Thomas Tobin and Kirsten Behling’s Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone earns praise for “sparking new ways of conceptualizing and creating inclusive access.”
  • And Joshua Eyler, author of How Humans Learn, joins editors and reporters from the Chronicle of Higher Education in a webinar on “Better Student Engagement during Covid-19.” The event is June 5, and registration is here.

Read More »

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

With universities pivoting quickly to online instruction in response to public health concerns, a number of authors from our series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education are in the news:

  • Joshua Eyler, author of How Humans Learn, is part of an Inside Higher Ed roundtable on “The Shift to Remote Learning,” and he appears on the podcast Tea for Teaching to talk about how universities might plan for the fall semester.
  • Also in Inside Higher Ed, Cathy Davidson’s essay on student assessment during the pandemic cites work on going gradeless by Susan D. Blum, editor of our forthcoming Ungrading (a volume to which Davidson contributes). Blum’s work on the shift from grades is discussed, as well, in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Thomas Tobin, coauthor of Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone, appears in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed, and talks with the Lecture Breakers podcast.
  • The EdSurge series “Sustaining Higher Education in the Coronavirus Epidemic” includes a writeup of Derek Bruff’s Intentional Tech.
  • In Public Books, Kevin Gannon, author of Radical Hope, talks with historian Kevin Kruse about the role of public engagement at less prominent universities that are sometimes overlooked by traditional media. Gannon is also interviewed for the Teaching in Higher Ed and Tea for Teaching podcasts.

Pittsburgh City Paper‘s guide to supporting independent bookstores during the pandemic recommends Deesha Philyaw’s forthcoming The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.Read More »

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

The New York Review of Books features Clay Carey’s The News Untold as part of its roundup review “Can Journalism Be Saved?” Carey’s book was winner of the Weatherford Award for best nonfiction title in Appalachian studies last year, and we’re pleased to share the news that another of our books—Appalachian Reckoning, edited by Meredith McCarroll and Anthony Harkins—is the winner this year.

In other awards news, LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia has been named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, as reported in O Magazine. Coeditor Jeff Mann talks with the Virginia Festival of the Book.

The Chronicle of Higher Education features an interview with Kevin Gannon about his new book Radical Hope. Also in the Chronicle, an essay about introverts and teaching discusses Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy, which appears, as well, on the blog Pedagogy and American Literary Studies.

Donald Rice, author of Cast in Deathless Bronze, talks with Washington Post columnist John Kelly about the entwined stories of Calixto García Iñiguez, Elbert Hubbard, and Andrew Rowan, figures from his book about the Spanish American War (and, in Rowan’s case, a West Virginia native).Read More »

Midwinter roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

In WVU Press’s first appearance on a public radio program that airs nationally, Tom Hansell talks with PRI’s “Living on Earth” about his book After Coal and the broader movement for just energy transitions in Appalachia and Wales.

Publishers Weekly praises Wesley Browne’s “wry, thrilling” Hillbilly Hustle, saying it “will appeal to fans of Daniel Woodrell and Charles Portis.” Browne will read in Lexington, Knoxville, and other cities this winter and spring.

From the New Yorker to the Los Angeles Review of Books, our higher ed titles continue to attract attention:

  • In an essay for LARB, Ryan Boyd praises WVU’s series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as “a major effort” to promote knowledge about effective teaching, drawing particular attention to work by series authors Joshua Eyler and Derek Bruff.
  • Library Journal calls Geeky Pedagogy “an original take on pedagogy,” and “an ideal pick for the recent PhD graduate who is suddenly thrust into teaching their first 101 course.” Author Jessamyn Neuhaus is interviewed in the ACUE newsletter.
  • Cyndi Kernahan, author of Teaching about Race and Racism in the College Classroom, appears on “Central Time” from Wisconsin Public Radio.
  • Series author Kevin Gannon is quoted extensively in a New Yorker (!) piece about historians and social media. He’ll come to WVU to launch his book Radical Hope on April 1. Watch for details.

Read More »

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

The holiday season brings two blurbs not for WVU Press books, but for the press itself. In the Journal for the Anthropology of North America, West Virginia is referred to as an “intellectually ambitious press that prides itself on placing regional issues in dialogue with global concerns.” And writing in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman says the press “has in recent years put itself squarely on the map as one of the finest university publishers anywhere in America.” Thanks to all of our partners and friends for their support as we wrap up a big year and look ahead to another!

The publication of three new titles in our series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education means a new wave of attention. John Warner’s gift guide for educators in Inside Higher Ed starts by recommending “All of the West Virginia University Press Teaching and Learning Series Books,” saying “the series, overseen by James Lang . . . is (as the kids used to say, but probably don’t anymore) killing it.” In other series news:Read More »

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

Sadie Hoagland’s American Grief in Four Stages lands alongside books by Jia Tolentino, Jaquira Diaz, Sarah Elaine Smith, and others on the Electric Lit roundup of the best debuts of the second half of 2019. This fall Hoagland will read in Davis, Salt Lake City, and Lafayette, LA. Learn more at her website.

A Blue Ridge Public Radio piece about the Appalachian studies community and its reactions to Hillbilly Elegy draws on Appalachian Reckoning, quoting coeditor Meredith McCarroll and contributor Ivy Brashear. The book is also profiled in the Charleston Gazette Mail, and reviewed on the US Intellectual History blog, which praises it for “[uplifting] historically marginalized voices, such as LGBTQIA+ Appalachians and Affrilachians.”

The Gazette Mail also interviews author and series editor Travis Stimeling about his book Songwriting in Contemporary West Virginia.

Titles in our higher education series continue to attract attention. Joshua Eyler talks with Inside Higher Ed about How Humans Learn, his “incredibly well-received new book,” which also appears on the list of the 66 best education books of all time from Book Authority.Read More »