Meet three writers with deep associations to West Virginia and the Appalachian region. They include the Poet Laureate of West Virginia and the granddaughter of a witness to one of the greatest mine disasters of the twentieth century. They will be reading from their latest books and leading a discussion covering how the region has been damaged both by extractors of natural resources and by humiliating and misleading stereotypes of hillbillies and incest. These writers represent a generation that claims its right to use Appalachian folkways and an Appalachian world view to comment on history, society, and culture at large.
Valerie Nieman is the author of four novels, including her latest, To the Bones. A former newspaper reporter and editor, she now teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University and at venues ranging from the John C. Campbell Folk School to WriterHouse.
Meredith Sue Willis’s 22nd book, a novel called Their Houses, was just published. A native of West Virginia, her maternal grandfather was a witness to the horrific Monongah mine disaster of 1908. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at NYU’s School of Processional studies.
Marc Harshman, poet laureate of West Virginia, whose most recent collection is Believe What You Can. He is also the author of a dozen children’s books.