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WV authors

West Virginians

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1GSLulos First Message
Feb 2, 2008, 12:38am Top

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.

Feb 2, 2008, 3:27am Top

Ann Pancake, Pinckey Benedict, Davis Grubb

Feb 2, 2008, 9:58am Top

Cynthia Rylant.
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.

Feb 2, 2008, 3:41pm Top

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.

Feb 3, 2008, 7:33am Top

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.

May 1, 2008, 9:57pm Top

The Liars are Bil Lepp and Paul Lepp. Paul is now deceased, but Bil is still lying.

Feb 25, 2009, 4:04pm Top

Feb 25, 2009, 5:34pm Top

Denise Giardina was born in Bluefield, and has written several books where West Virginia is featured prominently. (I'm just about to start Storming Heaven.)

Feb 28, 2009, 11:06am Top

#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.

Mar 24, 2009, 10:23pm Top

Lauren Carr (Joshua Thornton mysteries) and Judi Strider (historical romance writer) are both from the Eastern Panhandle.

Oct 10, 2009, 10:00pm Top

Russ McDaniel is my favorite West Virginian author. I can honestly say I've tried Denise Giardina and found her work very slow going. Pearl Buck doesn't top my list, but she's a pleasant way to spend an evening.

Oct 29, 2009, 12:51pm Top

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.

Jan 23, 2010, 1:32pm Top

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.

Jan 23, 2010, 6:51pm Top

Came here to add Breece D'J Pancake, but I see that's been done, so I'll add Jason Headley.

Mar 29, 2012, 8:06pm Top

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?

Mar 30, 2012, 2:41pm Top

Parkersburg here, and I work in Ripley.

Mar 30, 2012, 3:40pm Top

Capon Bridge, but originally from Shepherdstwon

Mar 21, 2013, 5:44pm Top

New Martinsville, WV, originally from out of state

Mar 21, 2013, 7:17pm Top

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.

May 3, 2013, 10:48am Top

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.

Sep 28, 2018, 12:07pm Top

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.

Jan 4, 9:30pm Top

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.

Edited: Jan 4, 9:35pm Top

Just touchstoning here

Julia Keller

Patricia Harman

Aug 1, 3:41pm Top

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?

Edited: Aug 5, 2:02pm Top

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.

Edited: Aug 13, 11:09am Top

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.

Aug 21, 8:51am Top

April shows the reconstructed Prickett's Fort, near Fairmont and quotes A Woman of Courage on the West Virginia Frontier by Robert Thompson-(18).

Thompson is a historian, but there is not a lot of author data in the calendar blurb or on LT yet. I might try to remedy that.

Aug 21, 2:46pm Top

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.

Aug 21, 2:52pm Top

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.

Edited: Aug 21, 3:23pm Top

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!

Aug 22, 4:24pm Top

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!

Aug 22, 4:30pm Top

I recall Missing May fondly, but yeah, agree about the rest.

Sep 3, 3:54pm Top

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.

Sep 11, 2:15pm Top

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.

Group: West Virginians

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