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.

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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 »

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

Neema Avashia, author of Another Appalachia, writes an opinion piece for NBC News about “How J.D. Vance Has Written Appalachians Like Me Out of His Ohio Senate Campaign.” Her book is named one of “22 Books to Read During AAPI Heritage Month” in New York Magazine, and it appears as well on Boston’s WBUR public radio and in the Times of India. Pittsburgh City PaperLGBTQ Reads, the Mountain Advocate, and Spirituality and Practice all add to the title’s celebratory rollout.

New international editions of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies prompt global coverage, including a French review in La Fondation Orange. Author Deesha Philyaw is interviewed on BBC Radio 4, where she praises WVU Press for its “very broad vision.” She adds: “The thing about university presses, and indie presses in general, is . . . they’re more likely to take chances. I think that they were being bolder.”

In a review for Chapter 16 from Humanities Tennessee, Charles Dodd White’s A Year without Months is praised as “a work of harrowing candor, insightful compassion, and hard-won beauty.” White is currently touring in support of his book, with details available on his website.Read More »

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

In Salon, Alison Stine interviews Neema Avashia about her book Another Appalachia, noting: “There are so many lines in this book that I underlined and so many quotes that I’m going to take away from it.” Avashia’s book is named to the Book Riot list “18 of the Best Asian American Books to Read This Year,” and is selected by the book club at Pittsburgh’s City Paper. It receives attention in Daily Yonder (“Appalachia needs more people like Neema Avashia”), Southern Review of Books (“revelatory”), Inside Appalachia, and GO Magazine, as well as the podcasts Perks of Being a Book Lover and (from Skylight Books in Los Angeles) Skylit. White Whale Bookstore names Another Appalachia its bestselling book for the month of March.

Avashia writes in Electric Lit about “7 Books That Show a Different Side of Appalachia,” praising (among others) WVU Press titles The Harlan Renaissance and Appalachian Reckoning.

Jason Kapcala’s Hungry Town is reviewed in the Akron Beacon Journal: “These flawed people, dealt a losing hand, will not soon be forgotten.”

In Mississippi, an opinion piece for the Meridian Star calls Charles Dodd White’s A Year without Months “a treasure.”

A Union for Appalachian Healthcare Workers is praised as a “meticulously researched window into the dynamics of a small activist union” in West Virginiaville, and author John Hennen is interviewed at Daily Yonder.

Shaun Slifer, author of So Much to Be Angry About, writes in Viewpoint Magazine about Appalachian Movement Press and one of its publications—Dan Cutler’s The Hillbillys: A Book for Children. Slifer’s essay cites WVU Press books by Neema Avashia and William H. Turner.Read More »

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

The publication of Another Appalachia is met with widespread celebration, including attention in Ms. Magazine (“timely”), Scalawag (“graceful”), Still: The Journal (“beautifully rendered”), the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (“Avashia’s Appalachia is many things at once”), and Bitch Media (“evocative and thought-provoking”). The book is named to the lists “24 Must-Read LGBTQ Books Out in March” from Book Riot and “March’s Most Anticipated LGBTQIA+ Literature” from Lambda Literary.

Author Neema Avashia is interviewed at Shelf Awareness, Debutiful, Fiction Advocate, Newfound, and the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Her book tour for Another Appalachia, which receives a mention (and photo!) in the Boston Globe, moves to Pittsburgh, Charleston, Lexington, Washington, New York, and other cities this spring.

Mark Powell’s “emotionally wrenching” novel Lioness gets a starred review in Kirkus: “This politically charged novel is haunting (and haunted) in the best possible way.” Powell, who writes about his experiences in Ukraine for Garden & Gun, will appear on May 5 with Charles Dodd White (author of A Year without Months) at a virtual launch hosted by White Whale Bookstore.

The Harlan Renaissance receives the Weatherford Award for outstanding title in Appalachian studies—the fourth consecutive year that a book from WVU has won in the nonfiction category. Author William H. Turner talks about his book with the podcast Appodlachia.

In other Weatherford news, Nicholas Stump’s Remaking Appalachia is named a finalist in the nonfiction category. Congrats to both authors!Read More »

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

Ghosts of New York, previously celebrated as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, has been named a finalist for the $50,000 Gotham Book Prize for best book set in New York. Congrats to author Jim Lewis!

Mark Powell’s “dark, moody, and mesmerizing” novel Lioness receives a starred review in Foreword Reviews: “Powerful and layered, this is a tour de force.”

Another Appalachia earns a spot on the “Most Anticipated LGBTQ+” list from LGBTQ Reads, gets a mention in Book Riot‘s “22 Great New Books to Read in 2022,” and is called a “sweet, smart memoir” at the Moundsville blog. Neema Avashia will launch her book this spring at events with Porter Square Books, Malaprop’s, White Whale Bookstore, Taylor Books, and more.

A review of Kate Daniels’s Slow Fuse of the Possible from Chapter 16/Humanities Tennessee runs in Nashville Scene and the Chattanooga Times Free Press, where it’s called “a fascinating book” that “offers a new way to think about poetry.” Daniels will appear alongside Major Jackson in a virtual event with New York’s McNally-Jackson Bookstore on February 22.Read More »