The Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award and Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Project were developed by the Shepherd University, the Shepherd University Foundation, and the West Virginia Humanities Council in 1998 to celebrate and honor the work of a distinguished contemporary Appalachian writer. The literary residency was designed to function in concert with the Appalachian Heritage Festival, an annual celebration of Appalachian artistic and cultural traditions, sponsored by the Performing Arts Series at Shepherd (PASS).
To encourage aspiring West Virginia writers and to promote the kind of networking that fosters literary achievement, Shepherd University and the West Virginia Center for the Book developed, in fall 2001, the West Virginia Fiction Competition. Fiction submissions from across the state of West Virginia are judged by a panel of teachers and writers, with final selection of the winning works of fiction made by the Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence. The first-prize winner of the fiction competition will receive a cash prize of $500.
The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, supported by the Shepherd University Foundation and the West Virginia Center for the Book, is a publication that encourages a long-established tradition of storytelling, love of language, and creative expression associated broadly with the area of the country known as Appalachia. Though the principal mission of the anthology is to provide a venue for publication of new writers, it also provides a collection of literature and scholarship that contributes to an understanding and appreciation for the region. Poetry, fiction, memoir, heritage writers, as well as new voices appear in each annual volume of the anthology.
The Appalachian Studies Program at Shepherd University connects all of these programs and creates a bridge to the community to learn about, explore, and celebrate the region known as Appalachia.
The Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Project is made possible with financial support from the West Virginia Humanities Council, in partnership with the Shepherd University Foundation, the West Virginia Center for the Book, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the Shepherdstown Public Library, the Scarborough Society, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.