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We are all signed up in this group because we are from (or have ties to) the Mountain State. I would expect that means we have other things in common, including appreciation of works by authors who are themselves from WV. Let's name our favorite WV authors. I think it is likely each of us will discover new authors we were not aware of, that we might have a predisposition to enjoy, simply because of our common ground, and all that implies. I suppose that books like "Chuck Yeager: Autobiography" would technically qualify, but that is not what I really have in mind. I'll start it off: Homer Hickam. Pearl Buck. And 3 from my hometown of Buckhannon: Steve Coonts, Maggie Anderson, Jayne Anne Phillips. Ok, raise my awareness level - name some more.
I met Davis Grubb when I was 17, working at S. Spencer Moores. He had a taxi wait for him, and he ran in wearing pajamas and a headband, grabbed a ream of paper and yelled "Put it on my account". I had no idea who he was, and was panicked. My boss, Andy Truslow started laughing and told me who he was.
Don't forget Mary Lee Settle Her series of Beaulah Land novels about the early history of West Virginia are classic. I'm not from West Virginia but have family from Kentucky. Actually, I think they did a bit of feuding back & forth.
OK, I forget their names, but the two brothers, who won the Liars Contest many times. One of them died, and the other was used to be a Methodist Minister. There are several collections of their tall tales.
The Liars are Bil Lepp and Paul Lepp. Paul is now deceased, but Bil is still lying.
#8 Storming Heaven is fantastic. It was actually required reading for a college class I had years ago. I don't remember which class though.
Lauren Carr (Joshua Thornton mysteries) and Judi Strider (historical romance writer) are both from the Eastern Panhandle.
Personally I like Eric Flint's 1632 about a West Virginia town transplanted into the Thirty Years War. The sequels are largely done by other people and I care less for them, but I really liked the first book.
I loved the story about Davis Grubb - I'll have to find his books now.
Check this list:
Some surprises here.
Homer Hickham is an amazing writer, he's classicly literate.
Allen Appel's time travel novels Time After Time are very good. He grew up on my block in Parkersburg. His mother and I drink scotch together.
I too enjoyed 1632, but that should begin another thread - West Virginia as setting. Loved it that they took a coal mine and a power station into the past with them.
Came here to add Breece D'J Pancake, but I see that's been done, so I'll add Jason Headley.
Wow, what happened to the WV boards? I'm going to try to revive it & see what happens.
Hello, everybody! I'm from Spencer, WV. Any other mountaineers in here?
As to the late great Davis Grubb, when my wife knew him, he called himself Davison Grubb, though was pretty-well reconciled to other persons' getting it wrong. What a character! In later year he dealt with alcoholism by chain-smoking pot, often casually rolling a joint in public places. Since he was a celebrity, he usually got away with it. You can imagine how that went over at Women's Clubs when he gave readings, as he often did.
David Alan Corbin for me. Though he's only written one book, it is, I think, the best book about the mine wars.
And I'm in Charleston.
Randolph S. Stewart, author, ('Akatiel: Angel In Time' & anthology 'Now You See Him', Amazon) Wheeling area.
My favorite WV writer is Wheeling's Poet Emeritus, Randy Keener, poet & songwriter.
Julia Keller is a West Virginia native from Huntington. I've read and thoroughly enjoyed her Bell Elkins series is set in a fictional WV town/county. Patricia Harman was not born in West Virginia, but she's lived here for quite some time and she's written a few memoirs about being a midwife as well as a fictional series about midwives set in West Virginia.
My boss gave me a 2019 calendar published by The Culture Center in Charleston. It features 13 literary locations and 13 West Virginia authors.
I decided it was time for me to pay closer attention to the written materials within.
January's photo is an interior view of St. John's Episcopal Church in Point Pleasant, WV. A funeral is described there in Black for Remembrance. Carlene Thompson lives in Point Pleasant and often uses WV locations for her books.
The mini-bio provided on her says in part: "Carlene Thompson was born in Parkersburg and grew up between West Virginia and Ohio."
What does that bring to mind for you locals?
February's photo is an exterior of the Piedmont Public Library, in Piedmont, WV. The Mt. Carbon Masonic Lodge put the building up in the early 1900s, with the lodge on the third floor. The first floor was designed as retail space and contained clothing and candy stores. The library began renting the ground floor in the 1960s and bought the building in 1996.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. was born in Keyser and raised in Piedmont. He is an historian and Harvard professor and has written 16 books on the African-American experience.
There is a quote from Colored People: A Memoir about his first experience reading non-fluff books, pushed by his teacher, Mrs. Iverson.
March has a long shot of Waterford Park race track in the northern panhandle. It's now named Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort.
Jaimy Gordonspent several seasons as a groom and "hot walker" at the tracks in Charles Town, in the eastern panhandle. The note says she has a sister in Wheeling and Jaimy owns a summer home near there.
The quote describing a track is from Lord of Misrule.
What a nice calendar to have! I've tended to read more non-fiction by West Virginians (the mine wars are a special interest of mine) than fiction and have been trying to remedy that. Hoping to get to Mary Lee Settle next.
Hey Meredith! Glad to know someone is reading the posts.
I was just down your way. Met daughter for dinner at the China Buffet last week. She's moved to Ohio, but was back for an appointment.
May's photo has very little to do with the author or the quote. It was probably just a nice picture they wanted to include. It's a nice summer view of the house and grounds of the historic Colonel James Graham House in Lowell, Summers County.
The quote is about going swimming in the local swimming hole where "we sometimes saw snakes, but we jumped in anyway." When I Was Young in the Mountains, by Cynthia Rylant.
I couldn't find any connection between Rylant and Summers County. Wikipedia says she was born in Hopewell, WV and there are 4 communities by that name, but none in Summers County. She spent a chunk of her childhood in Raleigh County (memorialized in her poetry book Waiting to Waltz), which is near Summers County.
I've just been re-visiting some of her writings, as a side aspect of reviewing the illustrator, Stephen Gammell's work. He illustrated Waiting to Waltz, and he did a whole lot of other Appalachian stories for other authors, too. One of the most iconic of the set is another of Rylant's - The Relatives Came. I love it!
It's a nice way to be down! Or would be if it hadn't been 94 degrees every day for the last two weeks with no rain to speak of...
I was never much of a fan of Rylant's middle grade novels, but I do like her picture books. I had to work a booth at the WV book festival for a few years (for Taylor Books) and we'd get authors stopping by to give us gossip about other WV authors. The ones who wrote children's books were always the gossipers!
June's photo is the John Nash house in Bluefield, WV. That is John Forbes Nash Jr., famously depicted in Sylvia Nasar's biography, A Beautiful Mind. As Nasar describes it, it is indeed a modest home, built partly of cinder blocks that John Sr. bought "for a song from a nearby Appalachian Coal processing plant."
I like that the calendar editors included this one. It is not at all scenic or romantic, but solidly exemplifies suburban West Virginia.
July's photo is of the Brock Hotel in Summersville, Nicholas County. It quotes from Ann Pancake's Strange as this Weather Has Been. The Brock Hotel has been a private residence since 1914, but before that had 21 guest rooms and sits next to the Weston & Gauley Bridge Turnpike. In Pancake's novel, set in the present, one of her characters works at a motel that houses out of town miners working coal removal by the mountaintop removal method.
Ann Pancake grew up in that part of the state.
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