Ann Pancake is an award-winning writer and educator. Born in Richmond, VA, while her father was enrolled in seminary in 1963, she grew up in Summerville, WV, later moving with her family to Romney, WV, where her father was a minister and social worker and her mother a public school art teacher. Pancake and her five siblings grew up in a home of learning and sensitivity to issues of both diversity and creativity—her brother Chet becoming a film maker while brother Sam became an actor working on popular TV shows like Will and Grace and Friends. Like many other young and talented Appalachians, Pancake longed both to leave and to connect with her Appalachian roots. Turning her direction outward, she traveled to Japan to teach English as a second language (1986-87), then to American Samoa where she taught for two additional years abroad (1988-1990). She finished her MA at UNC Chapel Hill in 1992, followed by another year abroad, this time to Thailand (1992-93); and in 1998 she finished her Ph.D at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her teaching institutions include Pennsylvania State University at Erie, as an assistant professor of creative writing and literature, and Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, in the MFA program. Today Pancake is back in West Virginia, teaching at WVU and serving as writer in residence. Like Ron Rash, she has followed a route to fine writing independent of the MFA; however the teaching of great literature honed her own skills as a writer. If geography turned her world outward, her road to authorship was an inward journey, as she portrays characters often outside the mainstream, “othered” as dramatically as the natural landscape in which they attempt to operate. Pancake is concerned with the environment and social issues dealing with the underclass and diverse social and gender groups. Her style is a tour de force in the exploration of language, and the richness of her text is matched by few contemporary writers. Among her awards, Pancake is a winner of the Whiting Award (2003), the Pushcart Prize (2004), the Weatherford Award (2007), the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature (2010), and the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award (2023), funded by the WV Humanities Council. Pancake will be the 25th Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University and 2023 One Book One West Virginia Common Read Author.