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

Two of West Virginia University Press’s books won awards from international scholarly societies this spring. The Politics of Lists received the Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award from the Political Geography Group of the American Association of Geographers, and The Argument about Things in the 1980s received the Arthur Miller Institute First Book Award from the British Association for American Studies. Congratulations to authors James Tyner and Tim Jelfs.

Appalachian Reckoning continues to receive attention.

  • In WVU Press’s first appearance in Salon, Erin Keane positions the book among a “cohort of dazzling Appalachian talent” offering alternatives to Hillbilly Elegy.
  • Keith Wilson’s contribution to the volume, the poem “Holler,” is featured in Literary Hub, and the book receives coverage from public radio and the alt weekly newspaper in Louisville.
  • West Virginia Public Radio’s Inside Appalachia also profiles the book.

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

Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy is reviewed by Dwight Garner in the New York Times. He calls it “the most sustained pushback to Vance’s book . . . thus far,” and “a volley of intellectual buckshot from high up alongside the hollow.” Robert Gipe, a contributor to the volume, also appears in the Times with his op-ed piece “Appalachia Is More Diverse Than You Think.” This much-talked-about book receives additional reviews in the Daily Yonder and Chapter 16 from Humanities Tennessee, and Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers interviews the volume editors for Foreword Reviews. The title’s Morgantown launch event is available to view in its entirety thanks to the WVU College of Law.

Michael Clay Carey’s The News Untold received the Weatherford Award for the year’s best nonfiction book about Appalachia from Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association. Tom Hansell’s After Coal was a runner-up. WVU Press is fortunate to have received two Weatherford Awards in the last three years, and to have had four finalists.

Foreword Reviews calls LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia “an immersive exploration of queer life within the confines of a conservative American subculture.” Editors Jeff Mann and Julia Watts will join contributors to the volume for a launch event at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC, on April 22.

Also in Foreword Reviews, Cassandra Kircher’s Far Flung is praised as a collection of “intimate and moving essays on nature, family, and adventures in the wild.”Read More »

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

In an Associated Press piece run by the Washington Post and others, Russell Contreras calls Matthew Ferrence’s Appalachia North “a lyrical homage to a region often misunderstood and overlooked,” saying “Ferrence’s engulfing prose brings to life an Appalachia north of the Mason-Dixon line.” The Indiana (PA) Gazette profiles the book in anticipation of Ferrence’s appearance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on March 20.

Publishers Weekly calls Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy an “impassioned collection of Appalachian regional art, essays, and poetry,” commending the volume for demonstrating that, despite stereotypes, “resilience, hope, and belonging are in Appalachia, too.” The book is also featured in the Pittsburgh Current and reviewed in the Bowling Green Daily News, which says: “If you read Hillbilly Elegy, you definitely need to pick up a copy of Appalachian Reckoning.” Editors Meredith McCarroll and Anthony Harkins will join contributors to the volume for a launch event at West Virginia University on February 25.

Booklist praises Capitalist Pigs, comparing it to one of the foundational texts of environmental history: “In the vein of William Cronon’s Nature’s Metropolis, this is a meaty, accessible, and clear-eyed agricultural history.”Read More »

Midwinter roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

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In a starred review, Kirkus calls Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy “a welcome and valuable resource for anyone studying or writing about this much-maligned region,” singling out for praise the volume’s “nuanced considerations of race, sexuality, and drug use.” The title also earns a starred review from Foreword, which calls it “stunning in its intellectual and creative riches.” Humanities Tennessee excerpts Robert Gipe’s “How Appalachian I Am,” an essay from the collection, in its magazine Chapter 16. 

Sharon Harris’s “masterful” Rebecca Harding Davis: A Life among Writers has been named an outstanding title for 2018 by Choice, a publication of the American Library Association. The annual list reflects the best scholarly titles reviewed by Choice, and recognizes “outstanding works for their excellence in presentation and scholarship.”Read More »

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

The Chronicle of Higher Education showcases “Five Teaching Tips from How Humans Learn,” Joshua Eyler’s new book in our series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The book also makes the 2018 notable list from the Chicago Tribune, and is featured (for a third time!) in Inside Higher Ed, which calls it “a wonderful tool for reflection on one’s own teaching practice.” Eyler is interviewed on Houston’s NPR station, as well as the New Books Network and Teaching in Higher Ed podcasts.

In other news from our higher education program, Inside Higher Ed interviews Thomas Tobin and Kirsten Behling about their book Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone, and the journal Reflective Teaching calls Natasha Haugnes, Hoag Holmgren, and Martin Springborg’s Meaningful Grading “an important read for all faculty.”

Natalie Sypolt’s The Sound of Holding Your Breath is included among “Five Stellar Debut Story Collections” in Foreword Reviews. Read an interview with Sypolt on Leslie Pietrzyk’s Work-in-Progress blog.

On BackStory radio, Ed Ayers, recipient of the National Humanities Medal, recommends our book Marked, Unmarked, Remembered as a holiday gift. “Right where we’re standing now, something else happened. This book helps us see that in a way that no other book I’ve read has.”Read More »

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

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The rollout for Tom Hansell’s After Coal continues with a review and excerpt in the Daily Yonder, also picked up by the Huffington Post and 100 Days in Appalachia. It’s praised as “a forward-looking book” that “should be on the reading lists of any communities that wonder ‘what do we do now?'” Another portion of After Coal is excerpted in Pacific Standard, our first appearance in the magazine. Hansell will read from his book at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, on November 29.

In response to author J.D. Vance’s visit to Charlotte, NC, Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll, coeditors of our forthcoming Appalachian Reckoning, appear on NPR station WFAE to “argue that the ‘hillbilly culture’ Vance depicts is actually much more diverse, complex, and nuanced” than it’s made to sound in Hillbilly Elegy.

New Pages includes Natalie Sypolt’s The Sound of Holding Your Breath in its October roundup of new and noteworthy titles from independent publishers. Sypolt is interviewed on Shelf Life, from City Books in Pittsburgh, and will appear in cities across West Virginia and Kentucky in November.Read More »

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

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Our forthcoming After Coal is reviewed in Publishers Weekly, which calls it an “optimistic” and “visually appealing” book about “community-building efforts by locals” in mining communities in Appalachia and across the Atlantic. Author Tom Hansell talks with the Trillbilly Worker’s Party podcast, and his After Coal project—an ongoing exchange between Appalachia and Wales that includes our book and a documentary film—makes an appearance on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia. We’ll launch After Coal on October 14 at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville.

In Booklist, Natalie Sypolt’s The Sound of Holding Your Breath is described as a “bold collection” and praised for its “masterful storytelling.” Sypolt launches her book in Pittsburgh, Rivesville, and Charleston in October.Read More »

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

inside higher ed.jpgOur series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education is well represented in the back-to-school reading roundup from Inside Higher Ed, with two of five recommended books—The Spark of Learning by Sarah Rose Cavanagh and How Humans Learn by Joshua Eyler—published by WVU. “One thing all these books have in common,” according to IHE, “is their capacity to spur and direct reflection about one’s own teaching practice.”

Natalie Sypolt’s The Sound of Holding Your Breath receives two national pre-publication reviews, with Kirkus praising the story collection’s “powerful images” and Foreword saying it is “full of inevitability and resignation and haunted by themes of class, family, and place.” Sypolt will launch her book at an event with Laura Leigh Morris, author of Jaws of Life, at Pittsburgh’s White Whale Books on October 20. See her full tour schedule on our calendar.

Jesse Donaldson’s On Homesickness has been named Appalachian Book of the Year in the nonfiction category by the Appalachian Writers Association and the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival.Read More »

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

Sharon Harris’s “remarkable” new biography of Wheeling author and activist Rebecca Harding Davis is the subject of an essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books. It’s the third time we’ve appeared in LARB since December—twice with books by or about women writing about West Virginia.

On the Seawall calls Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead “a singular masterpiece.” Catherine Venable Moore, who wrote the introduction to our edition, will speak about the book in Parkersburg on September 1.

Michael Clay Carey’s The News Untold has been named a finalist for the Tankard Book Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.Read More »

Midsummer roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

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The June issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine features eight pages of photographs from our Marked, Unmarked, Remembered—”an effort by brothers Andrew and Alex Lichtenstein to help us recall.” Photos from the book also appear in the Munich Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Our edition of The Book of the Dead is included in Sam Huber’s thoughtful essay on “Muriel Rukeyser, Mother of Everyone.” It’s WVU Press’s first time in the Paris Review.

Anthony Harkins, coeditor of our forthcoming Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, is mentioned in Nancy Isenberg’s (paywalled) New York Review of Books essay on recent books by J.D. Vance, Elizabeth Catte, and Steven Stoll.Read More »