Despite the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding Appalachia, the region has nurtured and inspired some of the nation's finest writers. Featuring dozens of authors born into or adopted by the region over the past two centuries, Writing Appalachia showcases for the first time the nuances and contradictions that place Appalachia at the heart of American history.
This comprehensive anthology covers an exceedingly diverse range of subjects, genres, and time periods, beginning with early Native American oral traditions and concluding with twenty-first-century writers such as Wendell Berry, bell hooks, Silas House, Barbara Kingsolver, and Frank X Walker. Slave narratives, local color writing, folklore, work songs, modernist prose -- each piece explores unique Appalachian struggles, questions, and values. The collection also celebrates the significant contributions of women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community to the region's history and culture. Alongside Southern and Central Appalachian voices, the anthology features northern authors and selections that reflect the urban characteristics of the region. As one text gives way to the next, a more complete picture of Appalachia emerges -- a landscape of contrasting visions and possibilities.
Early Appalachain Literature
Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction
Regionalism, Local Color, and the Settlement Schools
Prose, Poetry, and Songs of Labor
Modernism in Appalachain Literature
The Appalachain Renaissance
Twenty-First-Century Appalachian Literature
"Ledford and Lloyd have found the gateway to a region of literary riches, at once beautiful and sublime, by turns abundant and despoiled, and too often misrepresented and misunderstood. Hearing the chorus of clear and powerful voices represented here will surely help lift a veil that has for so long obscured many truths about the region. At last Appalachia is revealed in its full panorama. The collective story is both triumphant and heartrending." -- Morris Grubbs, editor of Every Leaf a Mirror: A Jim Wayne Miller Reader
"As one text gives way to the next, a more complete picture of Appalachia emerges -- a literary landscape of contrasting visions and possibilities.... A seminal work of outstanding literary scholarship." -- Midwest Book Review
"Every movement for change has to have a vision of where it's going and a community well-grounded in its self-definition. Literature and stories are an integral and inspirational part of that journey. Writing Appalachia is a great volume showing how one region has fought and is fighting back against being cast as 'other.'" -- Daily Yonder
"I recommend this book for everybody, regardless of whether they give a hoot about Appalachia, because of the quality of the writing and the issues confronted and the way these writings illuminate the human condition." -- Appalachian Mountain Books
"The voices heard in Writing Appalachia represent a multitude. Beyond the usual stereotypes and misconceptions, they capture a vibrant and varied landscape with compelling and sometimes contrasting visions of the region's past, present, and future.... Every time I pick it up, there is something new to discover -- and appreciate -- about the unique writing of Appalachia." -- KY Forward
"Compiled by two North Carolina natives -- Katherine Ledford, professor of Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University, and Theresa Lloyd, professor emerita of English at East Tennessee State University -- the volume was born out of a shared desire for a comprehensive collection to teach in the classroom. But ultimately, Lloyd says, 'we just really wanted this book to be a darn good read.' And it is. The anthology captures the many ways that Appalachia has been viewed by writers from both inside and outside the region." -- Our State Magazine
"In their new anthology, editors Katherine Ledford (Professor of Appalachian studies at Appalachian State University) and Theresa Lloyd (Professor emerita, East Tennessee State University) present a well-curated collection of writings chosen to showcase the 'historical depth and range of Appalachian literature, from Cherokee oral narratives to fiction and drama about mountaintop removal and prescription drug abuse, that contemporary readers and scholars seek' (introduction, p. xvii). While other well-regarded anthologies of Appalachian literature exist, none are as up to date or as broadly inclusive as this one. The editors have purposely sought out and included a diverse range of significant voices from every time period covered in the anthology to create a fuller, more accurate picture of Appalachian literature. This enables the anthology to celebrate a truly wide range of Appalachian life experiences, showcasing the complexity of the Appalachian experience from its earliest days to the present and avoiding any adherence to stereotyped expectations of what such a volume should or should not contain." -- The Southeastern Librarian