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Silas House headlines heritage festival

By Staff | Sep 18, 2009

Author Silas House

Award-winning Kentucky writer Silas House will be in Shepherdstown to receive the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award and to fulfill duties as Writer-in-Residence for Shepherd University. While activities associated with the residency occur all year long, House will be on campus for a series of special programs September 28 through October 3, 2009. House will deliver the Scarborough Lecture at 8 p.m., Oct. 1, at Erma Byrd Hall: “The Story of Every Country,” the Importance of Place.

House’s poetry, plays, and novels have been touted as products of a remarkable and profound new talent in Appalachia; he was listed as one of “Ten Emerging Talents in the South” by the Millennial Gathering of Writers at Vanderbilt University in 2000. His latest book Something’s Rising is a series of oral histories about mountaintop removal, and his fourth novel, Eli the Good, will be out this fall.

House’s books – “Clay’s Quilt” (2001), “A Parchment of Leaves” (2002), and “The Coal Tattoo” (2004)- have won an array of distinctions: two Kentucky Novel of the Year awards, the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Appalachian Book of the Year Award, and the Chaffin Award. His books have been finalists for the Southern Book Critics’ Circle Prize, and he has received two Pushcart Prize nominations.

Mentored by Lee Smith, House has published stories in Oxford American, Appalachian Heritage, The Louisville Review, and an array of other journals and magazines. He directs the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival in Kentucky and is an environmental activist.

The Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence project is funded by the WV Humanities Council, The Shepherd University Foundation, and The WV Center for the Book. Community partners include the Shepherdstown Film Society, Four Seasons Bookstore, Friends of the Shepherdstown Library, the Martinsburg Public Library, and the Scarborough Society. For information, see the residency webpage at http://www.shepherd.edu/ahwirweb/ or contact the Shepherd University Department of English at 304.876.5220 or email Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, Project Director, at Sshurbut@shepherd.edu.

Residency activities include the following: a 7 p.m., Sept. 28, screening of award-winning documentary “Sludge” in Reynolds Hall, with a discussion led by Dr. Ed. Snyder, Chair of Institute for Environmental Studies; a 7 p.m. Sept. 29 Celebration of Appalachian Storytellers: A Kentucky Muse and The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies; a 10:30 a.m. Sept. 30 reading of Something’s Rising at Martinsburg Public Library and a 7:00 p.m. program called The Writing Life with Silas House at Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies; the Oct. 1, 8 p.m. Scarborough Lecture and Appalachian Heritage Awards Ceremony at Erma Bryd Hall; an Oct. 2, 5 p.m. program called The Appalachians: Writers and Renegades, at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative, and the 8 p.m. Appalachian Heritage Festival Concert at the Frank Theater. The Appalachian Heritage Festival will last all day Saturday, Oct. 4.

– For information or tickets to the concerts, call Rachael Meads at (304) 876-5113 or email rmeads@shepherd.edu.