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West Virginia poet Laureate selected as Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence

ISSUED: 20 March 2024
MEDIA CONTACT: Cecelia Mason

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman will be the next Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University. Harshman has served for over a decade as the state’s poet laureate. His poetry and presence support West Virginia and its people in all facets of Appalachian life—from his work with public school students to his support of heritage projects. Harshman’s book Following the Silence is the 2024 One Book One West Virginia reading selection.

Headshot of Marc Harshman.As writer-in-residence, Harshman will receive the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award during an event in September. The honor comes with a $5,000 prize supported by the West Virginia Humanities Council. The award has existed for almost a quarter of a century and has honored Appalachian writers such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Jayne Anne Phillips, Barbara Kingsolver, and Nikki Giovani. Harshman is the 25th writer to receive the prize.

Harshman will work closely with the Appalachian Heritage writer-in-residence committee to create a website based on his work with resources for teachers to supplement their classroom curriculum. Harshman will help select winners of the West Virginia Fiction Competition and will visit Shepherd September 20-27 to celebrate Appalachian culture and heritage.

Harshman will also help edit the 2025 “Anthology of Appalachian Writers,” which will feature selections of poetry, fiction, essays, and visual art that connect in some way to his poetry.

The Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence project is sponsored by the West Virginia Center for the Book, Shepherd University’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities, and the Shepherd University Foundation.

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