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Shepherd selects Ann Pancake's Strange as This Weather Has Been as the 2013-14 Common Reading

ISSUED: 28 June 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd selects Ann Pancake's Strange as This Weather Has Been as the 2013-14 Common Reading)

Shepherdstown, WV--Shepherd University has selected Strange as This Weather Has Been by Ann Pancake as the 2013-14 Common Reading. As part of the Common Reading Program events, Pancake will give a lecture and book signing on November 5 at 7 p.m. in the Frank Center Theater.

Set in present day West Virginia, Strange as This Weather Has Been tells the story of a coal mining family living through the latest mining boom and the destructive reality of mountaintop removal. It was selected as one of Kirkus Review's Top Ten Fiction Books of 2007, won the 2007 Weatherford Award, and was a 2008 Orion Book Award finalist. Shepherd is the first institution in West Virginia to adopt Strange as This Weather Has Been as its common reading.

Pancake grew up in Romney and graduated from West Virginia University. She received her master's in English from the University of North Carolina and doctorate in English literature from the University of Washington. Pancake's short stories have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah Review, and Antietam Review. She has also published creative non-fiction and scholarly articles. Pancake has received many awards including the Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Fiction, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, and the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writers' Fellowship Grant. She currently teaches at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

Throughout the upcoming academic year, speakers, films, panel discussions, art exhibits, and a themed dinner will take place at Shepherd in conjunction with the Common Reading Program. Shepherd's Common Reading Program goals are to provide a shared intellectual experience; create a sense of community; encourage reading; promote critical engagement of ideas; set academic expectations; create dialogue between students, faculty, staff, and the community; promote interaction between the university and the community; and introduce students to community resources.

For more information on Shepherd's Common Reading Program, visit


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