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How Writing, Faith and Landscape Guided Author Karen Spears Zacharias Home to Appalachia

Karen Spears Zacharias.
Submitted Photo
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Karen Spears Zacharias.

The 2018 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University is Karen Spears Zacharias. Zacharias grew up in a military family but spent most of her childhood in the hills of Appalachia.

During the Vietnam War, her father was killed in action, and his death left a major impact on Zacharias’ life and the lives of her mother and siblings.

Writing and faith helped her process the struggles of her youth, and it also gave her a pathway to remain connected to her Appalachian roots.

Zacharias later became a journalist, a nonfiction writer and novelist.

She graduated high school in Georgia, attended Berry College for a short time, and then followed her family out west to Oregon where she still lives today with her husband, Timothy. They have four children.

Zacharias earned a B.A. degree in Communications and Education from Oregon State University.

Her novel Mother of Rain is a Weatherford Award winner and was adapted for the stage by Paul Pierce.

Mother of Rain has been chosen as this year’s One Book, One West Virginia Common Reading selection.


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