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 Renaissancereceives 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.
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.
Publishers Weekly has the first published review of Jason Kapcala’s HungryTown: “With the grit of a western and the crackle of a murder mystery, this finely wrought effort delivers the goods.” Kapcala will launch the book at an event hosted by the WVU Humanities Center and the WVU Leadership Studies Department on February 28.
Neema Avashia’s memoir-in-essays Another Appalachia (“defying Appalachian stereotypes, her lessons about class, race, gender, and sexuality begin in childhood”) is anticipated on Autostraddle‘s list of queer and feminist books for winter 2022. The author talks with the Queer Everything podcast.
Tom Beers, editor of Kirkus, praises Deesha Philyaw’s book in Passport Magazine: “We’re definitely seeing more diverse fiction published by houses big and small, especially great stuff from Black writers, many of them debuts. In the past year alone, I’ve loved Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.” Philyaw is featured on the Craft Talk blog, where Jami Attenberg predicts her fiction “will be taught ten years from now.” City Papercovers Philyaw’s participation, alongside Brian Broome and Damon Young, in the Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit.
Jim Lewis’s Ghosts of New York has been named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, one of two titles from university presses honored on the list. John Warner reacts to the Times picks at Substack, “noting little excitements like the fact that West Virginia University Press, which had such incredible success with Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, has scored another notable book with Ghosts of New York.”
Foreword Reviews has one of the first published reviews of Kate Daniels’s Slow Fuse of the Possible, which it calls “a compelling memoir about tense and turbulent experiences within an analysis relationship.” Daniels will launch the book at winter events in Charlottesville and Nashville.
In a major essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Ryan Boyd discusses Susan D. Blum’s Ungrading: “The book does not just diagnose and criticize: it is a working collection, drawing from both K–12 and college teachers in a range of disciplines.” Blum appears in Times Higher Education, and her book—which is the #1 title on Library Journal’s bestseller list for education—is reviewed in Teaching Sociology. An essay from Slate on the practice of ungrading mentions Blum’s book, saying: “As I read I found myself nodding along so fervently that my neck got sore.” Read More »
In the first published review of Kate Daniels’s Slow Fuse of the Possible, Kirkus calls the book a “poignant confessional from an award-winning poet,” saying “Daniels is a keen observer of visceral moments and powerful emotions.”
New York Times bestseller Morgan Jerkins anticipates Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia on The United States of Anxiety from WNYC public radio. She names it one of two books she’s excited for the rest of the world to read, praising Avashia for writing sensitively “about that part of society which is oftentimes narrowed to deleterious stereotypes.”
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.