The New York Review of Booksfeatures Clay Carey’s The News Untold as part of its roundup review “Can Journalism Be Saved?” Carey’s book was winner of the Weatherford Award for best nonfiction title in Appalachian studies last year, and we’re pleased to share the news that another of our books—Appalachian Reckoning, edited by Meredith McCarroll and Anthony Harkins—is the winner this year.
The Chronicle of Higher Educationfeatures an interview with Kevin Gannon about his new book Radical Hope. Also in the Chronicle, an essay about introverts and teaching discusses Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy, which appears, as well, on the blog Pedagogy and American Literary Studies.
Donald Rice, author of Cast in Deathless Bronze, talks with Washington Post columnist John Kelly about the entwined stories of Calixto García Iñiguez, Elbert Hubbard, and Andrew Rowan, figures from his book about the Spanish American War (and, in Rowan’s case, a West Virginia native).Read More »
Kevin Gannon will launch his book Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto at West Virginia University on April 1. Here we share a conversation with Gannon conducted by Jeremy Wang-Iverson of Vesto PR. [Edit: The IRL book launch has been postponed, but watch for details on a virtual event.]
Why did you decide to write this book now?
I’ve had this book in me for quite a while, to be honest. It’s the product of about 20 years of teaching in higher education, as well as my own journey as a student (in the heady days before the internet was a thing, thankfully). But in the last few years, it became less a matter of “hey, I might write something,” to “hey, I need to write something.” The manifesto had its origins in a blog post I wrote in the summer of 2016, and it resonated with enough people that I was encouraged to turn it into a book. Writing a book on hope has been . . . a journey, in these last few years, that’s for sure.
How has your experience teaching at a small, teaching-focused institution like Grand View University shaped your views on pedagogy and higher education?
So often our public conversations about higher ed are shaped by a handful of folks at elite institutions (educational or otherwise) who work with a pretty narrow subset of students, and do that work much more sporadically and infrequently than someone at a “teaching university.” Yet those of us at the schools with 4-4 (or higher) class loads, as opposed to the 1-1 or 2-2 at R1 and Ivy League schools, are by far the majority of practitioners in this space, and our experiences and perspectives are often quite different from the ill-informed caricatures we see from the scolds in the op-ed pages of the New York Times, for example. Schools like mine—small, under-resourced, access-oriented, student-focused—are where the real work of higher education often takes place, and this environment has profoundly shaped the way I look at teaching, learning, and higher ed at large. We don’t have a lot of 4.0 academic superstars applying for admission, but we do have students who come out of a variety of experiences and have overcome a lot of obstacles to join our academic community. And these are the students who push me to be a better teacher every day.Read More »
Update: We’ve decided, after much deliberation, not to exhibit at the meeting. The press is offering 30% off, with free shipping, on all books that would have been exhibited with code WVUASA20 on our website.
West Virginia University Press will exhibit at the annual meeting of the Appalachian Studies Association from March 12–15 in Lexington, KY. Find us in the exhibit hall, and if you can’t make it to Lexington, have a look at our new offerings in Appalachian studies below.
Championed as “an important addition to our region’s literature” by Ron Rash, Mountains Piled upon Mountains features nearly fifty writers from across Appalachia sharing their place-based fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry. Much of the work collected here engages current issues facing the region and the planet (such as hydraulic fracturing, water contamination, mountaintop removal, and deforestation), and provides readers with insights on the human-nature relationship in an era of rapid environmental change. Contributors to the volume will read at the conference on Saturday at 10AM.Read More »
With health concerns keeping some from the annual meeting of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) this week in Texas, we’re extending our conference discount to the general public. Save 30% on new works of fiction and literary nonfiction using code WVUAWP at checkout on our site. Full list of discounted titles below.Read More »
Kevin Gannon’sRadical Hope, new in our series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, is shipping now when ordered from our website. Here we share an excerpt from the book, which Gannon will launch officially at West Virginia University on April 1.
In August 2017, the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, saw a range of white supremacist, alt-right, and neo-Nazi groups converge on the town, ostensibly to protest the removal of Confederate monuments. The rally’s true purpose, however, was racist fear-mongering and violence. The night before the rally, a throng of white men carrying tiki torches and shouting such slogans as “Jews will not replace us” wound its way through the University of Virginia’s grounds. The rally itself was marked by dozens of attacks instigated by the alt-right and white nationalist groups, including the severe beating of an African American man in a nearby parking garage as well as the death of one counterprotester (and injury of several more) when a white supremacist sped his car through a crowd of antiracist demonstrators. One of the most emblematic images from this orgy of hate and violence was a close-up photograph of a rank of the tiki-torch marchers, in the center of which walked a young man wearing a polo shirt with the logo of the white nationalist group “Identity Europa,” face contorted in anger while screaming whatever slogan the marchers happened to be proclaiming at that moment. Social media users quickly identified him as a current student at the University of Nevada–Reno. Within days, other college students at the rally were identified on social media, including the president of Washington State University’s College Republicans. In the immediate aftermath of Charlottesville, these institutions struggled mightily with both the backlash against these students and fallout within their campus communities. Lost in the immediate hubbub over whether those students would be allowed to graduate or if they could even be safely enrolled in classes with students of color, however, was any reckoning with the fundamental question at issue here: are these the ends we seek in higher education? To put it bluntly, is it possible for a learner to both successfully move through the academic and intellectual spaces of a college or university and march in support of violent white nationalism?
In WVU Press’s first appearance on a public radio program that airs nationally, Tom Hansell talks with PRI’s “Living on Earth” about his book After Coal and the broader movement for just energy transitions in Appalachia and Wales.
Publishers Weeklypraises Wesley Browne’s “wry, thrilling” Hillbilly Hustle, saying it “will appeal to fans of Daniel Woodrell and Charles Portis.” Browne will read in Lexington, Knoxville, and other cities this winter and spring.
From the New Yorker to the Los Angeles Review of Books, our higher ed titles continue to attract attention:
In an essay for LARB, Ryan Boyd praises WVU’s series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as “a major effort” to promote knowledge about effective teaching, drawing particular attention to work by series authors Joshua Eyler and Derek Bruff.
Library JournalcallsGeeky Pedagogy “an original take on pedagogy,” and “an ideal pick for the recent PhD graduate who is suddenly thrust into teaching their first 101 course.” Author Jessamyn Neuhaus is interviewed in the ACUE newsletter.
Wesley Browne talks with Sarah Munroe, WVU Press’s marketing manager and acquisitions editor, about his new novel Hillbilly Hustle, now available on our site.
SM: By only reading a synopsis and your brief biography, it’s immediately clear that you are 1. very busy, and 2. at least in some ways “writing what you know.” How did you come to the idea of the novel (I assume you are not selling weed out of your pizza shop, but perhaps you’re a poker player?), and how did you translate aspects of your life, people, and places onto the page? (And if you are a poker player, what’s your tell?)
WB: My family co-owns Apollo Pizza in Richmond, Kentucky. Under previous ownership you could buy marijuana there. It was kind of an open secret in town. The local police told stories about it, but they never went out of their way to bust it. It struck me that as a novel premise there was a lot I could do with it. I took a novel class with Amy Greene at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop and started developing the idea there. Nothing about the marijuana operation at the fictional Porthos Pizza in the novel is drawn from real life except the use of “spinach special” as code for a pot order, and the location of the shop, which is on South Second Street in Richmond, just like Apollo.Read More »
WVU’s students returned to classes today, which means the quiet days and easy commutes through town have come to an official end. Suddenly those days of the holiday break—not necessarily easier than the regular routine, but full of possibility—seem far away. To bring us back to thoughts of relaxation and leisure, and to possibly inspire your next cozy-under-the-blankets winter read, WVU Press’s full-time staff have shared some of the books they were gifted with or read over the holiday break. We bring you nonfiction, poetry, and new novels (not to mention bookstore recommendations)—and “dishwasher” comes up in two ways. Happy new year and happy reading from everyone at WVU.
On a whim at the bookstore one night last year, I bought Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus. I’ve been intrigued by cephalopods, so intelligent and yet so alien, ever since I watched an episode of Nature featuring a deceptive cuttlefish. For several nights in a row, I interrupted my husband every few minutes to share whatever new fact I learned as I was reading. (Did you know that octopuses can regenerate their arms? Did you know they can see and taste with their skin?) My husband gifted me the perfect follow-up, and I’m looking forward to diving into this philosophical treatment of these creatures. Read More »
The holiday season brings two blurbs not for WVU Press books, but for the press itself. In the Journal for the Anthropology of North America, West Virginia is referred to as an “intellectually ambitious press that prides itself on placing regional issues in dialogue with global concerns.” And writing in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman says the press “has in recent years put itself squarely on the map as one of the finest university publishers anywhere in America.” Thanks to all of our partners and friends for their support as we wrap up a big year and look ahead to another!
The publication of three new titles in our series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education means a new wave of attention. John Warner’s gift guide for educators in Inside Higher Edstarts by recommending “All of the West Virginia University Press Teaching and Learning Series Books,” saying “the series, overseen by James Lang . . . is (as the kids used to say, but probably don’t anymore) killing it.” In other series news:Read More »
Sarah Munroe will join West Virginia University Press as marketing manager and acquisitions editor at the start of the new year, overseeing marketing and sales operations and acquiring a mix of literary and social justice titles. Sarah is currently at Temple University Press, and she has worked previously at the Pew Charitable Trusts and at WVU Press, where she was a graduate assistant while earning her master of fine arts degree. She received the Russ MacDonald Creative Writing Award from WVU’s Department of English. While at Temple, she has worked in literary studies, disability studies, gender and sexuality studies, and other fields.
We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Sarah back to Morgantown, and we invite you to get to know her in this blog post from the spring, in which she talks with Kat Saunders, another WVU Press alum, about graduate work at West Virginia University as preparation for a career in publishing.