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

In a starred review, Kirkus calls American Grief in Four Stages “a captivating debut collection” of “assured, haunting, and deeply empathetic stories.” The volume also earns praise from Foreword Reviews, which says it’s a “terrifying, brave collection.” Sadie Hoagland will launch her book at the King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City on November 21.

Krista Eastman, author of The Painted Forest, is one of five writers highlighted in the “best debut memoirs and essay collections” feature for 2019 from Poets and Writers magazine. She writes of her experience publishing the book: “Then I came upon West Virginia University Press and its In Place series, which publishes books about ‘the complexity and richness of place.’ I sent my manuscript to the editor . . . who began emailing me frequently and thoughtfully, a responsiveness that evoked mild confusion until it occurred to me that the book was being read, carefully, by the people who were going to publish and champion it.” Eastman will appear at the Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison on October 19 and Milwaukee’s Boswell Book Company on October 29.

Newsweek reports on controversies surrounding the Hillbilly Elegy film adaptation, citing our book Appalachian Reckoning, which “argues against how Vance’s memoir depicts the poor.” Volume editors Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll will join James Patterson, Denise Kiernan, Salina Yoon, and Orson Scott Card as headliners at the West Virginia Book Festival on October 4 and 5. McCarroll will also participate in the Boston Book Festival on October 19, and Harkins will appear at the Kentucky Book Festival on November 10.Read More »

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

In the first published review of The Painted Forest, forthcoming in our series In PlacePublishers Weekly praises Krista Eastman’s “thoughtful and elegant” prose, saying her “deep fascination with and love of her home state, in all its complexity and eccentricity, permeate this moving book and will live on in the reader’s mind.” Eastman launches The Painted Forest in Wisconsin in October. Details from Wisconsin Public Radio.

Bitter Southerner features “Hillbillies Need No Elegy”—a major essay by Meredith McCarroll, coeditor of Appalachian Reckoning, with photography by Roger Mayalong with an excerpt from the volume by contributor Ivy Brashear. The book makes Iowa Public Radio’s summer reading list, and is reviewed—alongside Matthew Ferrence’s “thoughtful, meditative” Appalachia North—in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Appalachia North is positively reviewed, as well, on Brevity‘s nonfiction blog, which also praises Cassandra Kircher’s “inventive and supple” Far Flung.

For the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, Pittsburgh Current interviews volume editors Jeff Mann and Julia Watts about LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia, “a testament to the survival of Appalachian LGBTQ folks.”Read More »

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

Greg Bottoms’s Lowest White Boy is excerpted in the “Readings” section of Harper’s—our first appearance in the nation’s second-oldest magazine. Seven Days, Vermont’s alt weekly, praises the book for its “alchemy of lyricism and down-home telling-it-like-it-is.”

In our first appearance in the Times Literary Supplement, Appalachian Reckoning is called a “vibrant” collection of “rigorous, passionate” essays. The volume also lands alongside books by Colson Whitehead and others on the summer reading list at Bitter Southerner, and appears in The Baffler, Nashville’s The Contributor, and the podcast Reading Women. Coeditor Meredith McCarroll takes to CNN.com with the essay “Anthony Bourdain Listened to the Voices Hillbilly Elegy Ignored,” and the editorial team behind the book continues to be active on the interview circuit. McCarroll talks with WFDD radio in Winston-Salem, her coeditor Anthony Harkins talks with the podcast America’s Democrats, and the two team up for the podcasts Working History and New Books Network.

Ryan Boyd considersHow Humans Learn and the Future of Education” in the Los Angeles Review of Books, calling Joshua Eyler’s book “a splendid repository of ways to rethink how we teach college.”

In other news from our Teaching and Learning in Higher Education series, Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy appears in the Inside Higher Ed preview of fall highlights from university presses. The SUNY Oswego podcast Tea for Teaching features interviews with both Neuhaus and Derek Bruff, author of Intentional Tech.Read More »

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

In a first-of-its-kind public scholarship collaboration, the Lexington Herald-Leader dedicates its entire May 5 opinion section to work from WVU Press, running three essays, a poem, and photography from Appalachian Reckoning. Harkins and McCarroll’s book also generates interest in Michigan, where the Petoskey News-Review features a personal response by columnist Glen Young. Editors and contributors from the volume will appear in Greensboro, Wake Forest, Hendersonville, and Atlanta in May, and a recent appearance at Parnassus Books in Nashville will be broadcast on C-SPAN on May 19.

Amy Alvarez of the WVU English department takes to the Los Angeles Review of Books to talk with Greg Bottoms about Lowest White Boy, new in our series In Place. Bottoms is also interviewed in Pittsburgh Current, and “Growing Up at Ground Zero of American Apartheid,” an excerpt from the book, is featured in Literary Hub. Another excerpt is slated to appear this summer in a print publication with roots in the nineteenth century. Watch this space!

North Carolina Public Radio’s “The State of Things” features an interview with Valerie Nieman, author of To the Bones. Nieman will appear in Greensboro, Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Charleston, Richmond, Huntington, Asheville, and other cities this summer.

“Pittsburgh is very much a part of Appalachia . . . The fact that ‘very few people’ in our area ‘actually see themselves as Appalachian’ encouraged Ferrence to explore the tensions surrounding that identity.” Pittsburgh Magazine reviews Matthew Ferrence’s Appalachia North.Read More »

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.

Read More »

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 »