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The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Bobbie Ann Mason Volume III available at Shepherd University Bookstore

ISSUED: 22 June 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Bobbie Ann Mason Volume III available at Shepherd University Bookstore)

Shepherdstown, WV--The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Bobbie Ann Mason Volume III is now for sale at the Shepherd University Bookstore and online at http://www.shepherdbook.com. The newest edition presents a selection of stories, essays, poetry, and photographic art which provides the readers with an extraordinary look at the language, storytelling, cultural traditions, and heritage of the Appalachians.

As with the previous volumes, a common center is provided by the literary art and talent of the 2010 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd and recipient of the Heritage Writer's Award Kentucky writer Bobbie Ann Mason. Mason's work brings to literary life the common folk and the everyday working classes--living, learning, and trying to cope and survive in the complex world they find before them.

The book also contains stories by two winners of the 2010 West Virginia Fiction Competition selected by Mason. Mason says of Natalie Sypolt's Save the Lettuce, "This is a tight, controlled, powerful story. Nothing is overdone." Like Mason's award-winning novel In Country, Sypolt's short fiction piece is a powerful story about war without the war.

Elizabeth Johnston's Benjamin's Wall is written, as Mason says, with "quiet power…both serious and humorous. It is more powerful to watch someone struggling with emotion--either to contain it or to release it--than to watch someone weep and wail."

In Johnston's story, there is a "quiet tension of trying to deal with one's emotions…the emotion is not only grief, but how to handle grief. And this makes it much more complicated," providing the reader with "tension in the character that becomes the story more than the grief itself."

Storytellers, poets, and essayists from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and other states in the region are also published in the book, supported by the West Virginia Center for the Book and the Shepherd University Foundation. The work of Pushcart nominee Justin Anderson, as well as award-winning poets Mark DeFoe, Llewellyn McKernan, Lena Cantrell McNicholas, Edwina Pendarvis, Sue Silver, and others grace the pages of this volume, as do the photographic art of some of the best photographers in the region.

Readings from the anthology will be held September 27 at 7 p.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Legislative Center with a reception for the writers and photographic artists at 8 p.m. in the Scarborough Library Reading Room. These events will be part of the 2011 Appalachian Heritage Writers Project and Festival.

For information about the Appalachian Heritage Writers Project and the Appalachian Studies Program, visit http://www.shepherd.edu/ahwirweb/. The 2012 volume will be devoted to the writing of Carolina poet and novelist Ron Rash, who will serve as editorial advisor for the book and the next Appalachian Heritage Writer-In-Residence.

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Pictured left to right are Susan Hayden, of West Virginia Library Commission and West Virginia Center for the Book; Dr. Suzanne Shipley, president of Shepherd University; Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, managing editor of the anthology and professor of English; and Monica Lingenfelter, executive vice president of the Shepherd University Foundation.

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