Bestselling author, journalist, playwright, and activist Silas House has focused nearly all of his work on Appalachia. His acclaimed and diverse body of work includes the novels Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, The Coal Tattoo, Eli the Good, and Southernmost. Well known for its lyrical style, diverse and sympathetic characters, and political engagement, House's work is overdue for deeper critical study.
In this groundbreaking book, editor and coauthor Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt brings together established and rising scholars to discuss House and his writings through a critical lens. Various chapters address different aspects of House's fiction and nonfiction, including the ways in which he deconstructs regional stereotypes, how he explores issues of diversity, his environmental activism, and his approach to LGBTQ issues. The collection begins with a foreword by Denise Giardina and concludes with a chapter by celebrated poet Maurice Manning exploring the lyricism that distinguishes House's work.
Featuring an interview with House that further illuminates his philosophy and art, this timely volume offers an important critical appraisal of his oeuvre to date and illustrates why he is one of the most significant voices in Appalachian and American literature today.
The Stories of Silas House and the Scent of Words: Looking at Appalachia and the World from the Inside Out
Redeeming Appalachia: Deconstructing Stereotypes of Gender, Race, and Religion in Silas House's Appalachian Trilogy
Funny Looks and Queer Perspectives: Quareness and Quare Characters in the Writing of Silas House
Looking at the Hurting Parts: Diversity and A New Appalachia in the Plays of Silas House
his Land Is Our Land? Silas House Holds Up a Mirror in his Young Adult Literature
Reclaiming Music, Mountains, and Voice: Silas House as Journalist and Activist
Music in the Coal Tattoo and Clay's Quilt
Lyricism and Metaphor in A Parchment of Leaves
Interview with Silas House
"Over the past two decades Silas House has established himself as one of the central voices explaining, lamenting, and celebrating not only his native Appalachia, but America itself. Sylvia Shurbutt's Silas House: Exploring an Appalachian Writer's Work is a brilliant collection of essays that illuminate what readers have long known: House's work is as politically relevant as it is beautiful. This is a gift to scholars and readers alike." -- Mark Powell, assistant professor of English at Appalachian State University and author of Blood Kin
"The rich, in-depth perspectives of these essays helps us discern the interconnected ways that Silas House's storytelling, in all its forms, reveals our common moral and lyrical humanity." -- Chris Green, author of The Social Life of Poetry: Appalachia, Race, and Radical Modernism
"These essays about the work and career of Silas House confirm the importance of his fiction and presence to the Appalachian region and beyond. His achievement inspires contemporaries and will continue to inspire future generations." -- Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek
"With his superb writing, both fiction and nonfiction, and his untiring, courageous activism, Silas House has become Appalachia's most important voice. This collection of eight essays and an interview shows the range of the author's accomplishments, providing valuable insights into his work and into his life. Silas House is an essential book for all who study our region's literature." -- Ron Rash, author of Serena
"Dignity is the inescapable element shimmering through Silas House: Exploring an Appalachian Writer's Work. As we discover in these pages, House imbues his fictional characters with dignity because at the core of who he is as a person and as a writer, House regards all of creation as holy." -- Karen Spears Zacharias, author of Christian Bend: A Novel
"Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt's essential primer dives deeply into the multi-genre oeuvre of one of America's most insightful storytellers. The quilt pieces herein explore Silas House's mastery of rich characterization, his reverence for the natural world, and the musicality and lyricism in his prose. A champion of Appalachia and the LGBTQ+ communities, House's works may often be set in his beloved Kentucky, but as these essays reveal, it's the human condition writ large he reflects back to us." -- Marie Manilla, The Patron Saint of Ugly
"'Nobody's method will work for you except your own.' Silas House writes like a down-home prophet, his language resonant enough to speed the heart. His method is simple, tell a true story in the guise of a fiction and tell it like a gospel song." -- Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina
"An important, thoughtful and inclusive read. This book not only secures House's place in Appalachian and American letters, but will be an important resource for generations to come." -- Gretchen Moran Laskas, author of The Midwife's Tale
"Silas is one of the greatest contemporary writers of the Appalachian South. This informative book is deeply attentive to his craft and will be used by classrooms, discussion groups, and individuals alongside House's work for decades to come -- a warm, welcome addition to the world of literary scholarship." -- Crystal Wilkinson, author of The Birds of Opulence
"This triumphant collection of essays cements Silas House's status as an American literary treasure. After consuming these deft examinations and critiques of his bountiful oeuvre, readers who have engaged Silas in only a single genre will be moved to immediately seek out his vast array of writing which includes nonfiction, plays, and music journalism that is as married to the power of storytelling as any of his award-winning fiction. House's love of Appalachia, the land and its people, is confirmed, but these essays go further, delving deep into the vivid writing and memorable characters to reveal that Silas House's work is the teacher America desperately needs. Echoed throughout these essays is the idea of Appalachia as a 'microcosm for America,' but in Silas's Appalachia, there is room enough for us all; and this study of his work opens a crucial vista where we can, at once, view both the stunning artistry and powerful tenets of humanity which live in this writing." -- Frank X Walker, author of Affrilachia and Masked Man, Black: Pandemic & Protest Poems
"This is a welcome collection on a maverick Southern writer who has gone under the literary world's radar for too long." -- Publishers Weekly