In the Los Angeles Review of Books, an essay on John B. Thompson’s Book Wars uses West Virginia University Press to make a point about the state of publishing in an era of corporate consolidation. “University and independent publishers, operating outside the New York–centric Big Five model, create opportunities for writers to get their work out,” writes Jennifer Howard. “For instance, West Virginia University Press published one of last year’s biggest literary successes, the story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw.”
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is also one of two WVU Press titles lauded in Book Riot‘s “20 Must-Read Books from University Presses,” where it’s joined by LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia. And Secret Lives author Deesha Philyaw makes new appearances this month across media—in Ploughshares, the Bitter Southerner, and as part of NPR’s coverage of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. She’ll appear at the festival on September 23.
Foreword Reviews has the first published review of Keegan Lester’s Perfect Dirt, which is deemed “powerful and insightful.” Reviewer Ashley Holstrom finds: “Places are fleshed out alongside people, with West Virginia being the book’s star.”
Also prominent in the Blair Mountain coverage is Anne Lawrence’s book On Dark and Bloody Ground, which is called “magnificent” on the Shabbat reading list from Jewish Currents, and is featured on West Virginia Public Broadcasting, in100 Days in Appalachia, and in the West Virginia Observer, where it’s described as a “valuable tool to keep this history alive.”Read More »
Anne T. Lawrence’s oral history of the Mine Wars, On Dark and Bloody Ground, is excerpted in Harper’s. Lawrence will join fellow WVU Press authors Chuck Keeney, Ginny Savage Ayers, and Catherine Venable Moore at the roundtable “New Books about the Mine Wars” on September 4. The event, which is previewed in the Charleston Gazette Mail, is hosted by Taylor Books as part of the Blair Mountain Centennial celebration. In other Mine Wars news, Chuck Keeney and his book The Road to Blair Mountain are the subjects of a profile from Pittsburgh’s WESA radio.
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies has been named a nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in the debut fiction category, with the winner to be announced at a ceremony on October 15. It is praised in Elle Magazine, where Jasmine Guillory writes: “I loved every single one of these short stories.” Deesha Philyaw and her book also receive attention at Boston.com and in Vineyard Gazette, Kirkus, Book Riot, and Revealer (“West Virginia University Press gave Philyaw a book contract and the autonomy to write boldly”). In Poets & Writers, Walton Muyumba connects Philyaw’s success to praise for university press publishing: “After the great success that Deesha Philyaw had publishing The Secret Lives of Church Ladies with West Virginia University Press, we all ought to give more attention and love to university presses.”
Geoffrey Hilsabeck’s American Vaudeville is excerpted in LitHub and reviewed in Broadway Direct, which finds: “Hilsabeck brings the seedy, magical world to life while unraveling its sudden death.”
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is featured on NPR’s All Things Considered (“Whatever we call the new American short story, I think Deesha Philyaw should name it”), in Book Riot, and in Mississippi Today. As part of the Buzzfeed guide “58 Great Books to Read This Summer,” bookseller Sydne Conant of Madison’s indie bookstore A Room of One’s Own recommends the title. Philyaw’s book is also among several topics addressed in the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s article “A Big Book from a Little Press,” which calls WVU Press “a new publishing heavyweight.”
Jim Lewis’s Ghosts of New York is reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, where it’s praised as “a collection of connected stories that is so imbued with the city in which it’s set that it could not possibly have taken place anywhere else.”
Chuck Keeney, author of The Road to Blair Mountain, is interviewed in Jacobin and (with Catherine Venable Moore, who introduced our edition of The Book of the Dead) on the podcast from the Smithsonian. Keeney and Moore will be joined by Anne T. Lawrence and Ginny Savage Ayers for the WVU Press showcase “New Books About the Mine Wars,” cohosted with the WVU Humanities Center and Taylor Books, on September 4.
William H. Turner’s forthcoming book is reviewed in Daily Yonder, which says: “One of the oldest and most enduring myths about the Appalachian Mountains is that they are now and always have been overwhelmingly populated by white Scots-Irish. Dr. William H. Turner has written a new book, The Harlan Renaissance: Stories of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns, that kills that myth about whiteness and, for good measure, buries several more myths as well.” The piece is picked up by 100 Days in Appalachia.Read More »
Ghosts of New York, previously reviewed in the New York Times Book Review, lands in the Memorial Day Weekend edition as one of “10 New Books We Recommend This Week.”
Renée Nicholson’s Fierce and Delicate is excerpted in Longreads, and receives a rave in Library Journal, which calls it “an elegant collection of essays from a dancer’s soul that will uplift all readers.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education provides teaching tips from Susan Hrach’s Minding Bodies, new in James Lang and Michelle D. Miller’s series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Hrach also appears on the Think UDL podcast, and her book is joined by others in West Virginia’s series by Jenae Cohn, Joshua Eyler, and Sarah Rose Cavanagh in Tophat‘s “Ultimate Summer 2021 Reading List for Professors.”Read More »
Jim Lewis’s “exquisite” Ghosts of New York gets a rave in the New York Times Book Review, which calls it “a wondrous novel, with prose that sparkles like certain sidewalks after rain.” Lewis’s book is excerpted in LitHub, and he’s interviewed by Ruben Martinez on the podcast from Skylight Books in Los Angeles.
Jim Lewis’s “continuously engaging” Ghosts of New York is reviewed in Booklist, which praises the author as “a master at painting developed characters captured in various moments in time.” Lewis will launch the novel—which is excerpted in Air/Light Magazine—at a free online event with Shakespeare & Co. on April 2. Harper’s magazine will cohost.
Volume editor Travis Stimeling and contributor Paige Zalman discussThe Opioid Epidemic and US Culture at 100 Days in Appalachia. The title is reviewed in the Southern Review of Books, where it’s praised for “bringing awareness to damaging stereotypes and further victimization of those caught in the opioid epidemic.”
Also at 100 Days in Appalachia, Eric Kerl reviewsSo Much to Be Angry About, praising author Shaun Slifer’s “insightful eye,” and calling the volume “a testament to the ingenuity of our social movements.”
Joshua Eyler, author of How Humans Learn, talks with the Chronicle of Higher Education about universities, grief, and the importance of mourning as a response to covid.Read More »
Foreword Reviews has a pre-publication review of Ghosts of New York: “In Jim Lewis’s wondrous novel Ghosts of New York, encounters among strangers result in unexpected relationships and a montage that celebrates a city of manifold graces. . . A subtle, dexterous novel.”
Renée Nicholson’s “lyrical and fascinating” book Fierce and Delicate is anticipated in Buzzfeed‘s preview of “18 Books That Will Help You Better Understand Disability and Chronic Illness.” Nicholson talks with Shaun Slifer, author of our forthcoming So Much to Be Angry About, in the inaugural episode of the “Short Talks” series from the WVU Humanities Center.Read More »
In the first published review of Jim Lewis’sGhosts of New York, Kirkus Reviews finds the novel “reads like a striking literary version of the movie My Dinner with Andre,” with writing that is “beautiful, crisp, and keen-eyed.”
TIME magazine includesAppalachian Reckoning in a roundup of responses to Hillbilly Elegy keyed to the release of the film adaptation. Coeditor Meredith McCarroll talks with the podcast Appodlachia, and the book earns a mention in Los Angeles Magazine.
As part of its story “The Battle of Blair Mountain Was the Largest Labor Uprising in US History,” Teen Vogueprofiles Charles B. Keeney, author of The Road to Blair Mountain. Keeney’s book is excerpted in 100 Days in Appalachia.
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 attentionfor our book in Columbus Alive and the Hill.