ISSUED: 14 September 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University is offering the opportunity to explore all things Appalachian during the 22nd annual Appalachian Heritage Festival and Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Program September 22-30. North Carolina writer Wiley Cash is this year’s writer-in-residence and recipient of Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award presented by Shepherd and the West Virginia Center for the Book.
Cash’s novel, “A Land More Kind Than Home,” has also been selected as the Center for the Book’s One Book, One West Virginia’s Common Read for the state. It is Cash’s first novel and it met with uncommon critical success, appearing on The New York Times bestseller list in hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats. Cash is also the author of “This Dark Road to Mercy” and, most recently, “The Last Ballad,” about union leader Ella May Wiggins, who died in the Carolina mill wars in the early 20th century.
In addition to the influence of Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Gaines on Cash’s work, Cash has credited Shepherd’s 2010 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Bobbie Ann Mason, Georgia writer Flannery O’Connor, and novelist William Faulkner with helping to shape his work. Cash attended one of the early series of Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence programs almost a decade ago and participated in a reading at Shepherd in 2009 after being published in the first volume of the Anthology of Appalachian Writers.
Today, Cash teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency M.F.A. Program in creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University and serves as writer-in-residence at University of North Carolina Asheville.
Programs that focus on the heritage and culture of the region and reflect upon Cash’s novels have been planned throughout the week, including a look at Appalachian ballads, readings from the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Volume IX, the photographic exhibit “Looking at Appalachia,” an exploration of the opioid issues in the region, and a look at the mill and company town culture that dominated Appalachia in the early 20th century.
Events scheduled are:
Friday, September 22
- 5 p.m.—“Appalachian Communities at Risk: Drugs, Opioids, Families in Peril” with Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic, chair of the Department of Sociology and Geography, Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium.
- 7 p.m.—Screening of Academy Award-winning film “Norma Rae,” in partnership with the Shepherdstown Film Society, with Dr. Julia Sandy, associate professor of history, Reynolds Hall.
Monday, September 25
- 5 p.m.—“The Appalachian Company Town, A Culture of Their Own: Mill and Coal Towns of the Mountains,” Dr. Ben Bankhurst, assistant professor of history, Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium.
- 7 p.m.—“Stories from Appalachia with Adam Booth,” Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium.
Tuesday, September 26
- 7 p.m.—“A Celebration of Appalachian Storytellers and Celtic Ayres” with writer Gretchen Moran Laskas, West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman, composer Georgiann Toole, associate professor of education, and Shepherd’s music department; “The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Charles Frazier Volume IX,” Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium.
- 8 p.m.—Reception, Scarborough Library Reading Room.
Wednesday, September 27
- 9:30 a.m.—Wiley Cash presentation to high school students from Martinsburg, Jefferson County, and Berkeley Springs, Martinsburg High School.
- 11 a.m.—Wiley Cash reading and reception, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library, 101 W. King St., Martinsburg.
- 7 p.m.—”The Writing Life, with Wiley Cash,” Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium.
- 8 p.m.—Wiley Cash book signing and reception, Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education rotunda.
Thursday, September 28
- Noon—Senior Moments Book Club with Wiley Cash.
- 3-4:30 p.m.—Writers Master Class with Wiley Cash, Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium.
- 8 p.m.—Scarborough Society Lecture, “The Tie That Binds,” and Awards Ceremony. Wiley Cash will receive the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award, will give a keynote address, and will present the West Virginia Fiction Competition Awards, Erma Ora Byrd Hall auditorium.
- 9 p.m.—Reception and book signing, Erma Ora Byrd Hall atrium.
Friday, September 29
- 5 p.m.—A conversation with Roger May, “Looking at Appalachia,” Scarborough Library Reading Room.
- 7:30 p.m.—Square dance at Town Run Tap House and Community Pub, 202 E. Washington St. Shepherdstown, free and open to the public.
Saturday, September 30
- 7:30-9 a.m.—Freedom’s Run marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and kids 1-mile fun run.
- 1 p.m.—Harmony singing workshop with Carol Elizabeth Jones and Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Reynolds Hall.
- 2:30 p.m.—“Bristol Sessions: The Big Bang of Country Music” with John Lilly, Reynolds Hall.
- 3:30 p.m.—Crankie workshop with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Reynolds Hall.
- 8 p.m.—Showcase Concert, Frank Center Theater, featuring harmony singing from Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Carol Elizabeth Jones, singer-songwriter John Lilly, and string band music from the Speakeasy Boys. $15 general public; $10 senior citizens; $5 kids under 18; and free for Shepherd students with valid Rambler ID. For tickets, call 304-876-5219.
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