Writers

Jesse Wright, WVPB

People who write novels, short stories and newspaper articles each tell Appalachia’s story in their own way.

This is an encore airing of an Inside Appalachia show that deals with a few of the writers who tell Appalachia’s story. 

We’ll hear from journalist Ken Ward. He’s been writing for the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia for 27 years covering environmental issues, coal mining and worker safety. He’s heard both praise and criticism for his coverage.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This year’s 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. In this episode of West Virginia Morning, we'll hear an interview with Zacharias about how writing and faith helped her through the struggles of her youth.


Meaghan Evans

Three years ago, a Kentucky writer named Robert Gipe debuted his first novel, Trampoline, about a young girl growing up in Appalachia. Authors and literary fans across the region hailed it as one of the most important books to come out of our region in recent years. But the topics Gipe writes about aren’t easy— a parent’s drug addiction and the environmental wreckage left behind by strip mining.

Now, the main character, Dawn Jewell, is back in Gipe’s second novel, a sequel called Weedeater, which is also the name of one of the main characters.


Benny Becker/ WMMT

Too many times, when stories of Appalachia are in the national spotlight, we hear shallow, shocking and grim stories. But they miss some of the most inspiring aspects to our realities: the struggle, the perseverance and the resilience.  On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia we’ll meet storytellers who work to help Appalachians tell their own stories, and capture the true Appalachian spirit behind the statistics.

Jesse Wright

On this episode of Inside Appalachia, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to bring you voices from people who’ve written love letters for Appalachia, of a sort. And like most loves, this love, well…. it’s complicated.

Some of the folks we’ll hear on our show grew up in these mountains and were eager to move away, but when they did, they felt a strong homesickness that seemed to draw them back.

Photo by Crystal Good

Ever hear the word 'Affrilachian'? In the 1990s, a poet in Kentucky named Frank X Walker came up with the term. It refers to African Americans living in Appalachia. 

“To us it was about making the invisible visible, or giving voice to a previously muted or silenced voice,” Walker told the Appalachian Studies Association during its 2016 conference at Shepherd University.

Megan Meggers Ramsey

A grapevine clipping from the home of Pearl S. Buck, a world renowned author with West Virginia roots, just arrived in Michigan and soon will be planted at a high school literary garden.

It began as an idea last summer. Jennifer McQuillan teaches literature at West Bloomfield High School in Michigan, and she wanted to give her students something that would get them off their phones- and become better connected to the writing in decades old books.

Roger May

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of a series of novels called The Beulah Quintet.  The novels are by the late Mary Lee Settle, a writer who set out to capture moments in West Virginia history when a revolutionary change was at stake. Today's economic uncertainty here in Appalachia has many people wondering whether we are also living in the midst of a transition. 

Robert Gipe

This week's episode of Inside Appalachia is addressed as a Valentine letter to Appalachia. Like most loves, this one is complicated. Some of the folks we spoke to for our show grew up in the mountains and were eager to move away. But when they did, they felt a strong homesickness that seemed to draw them back. They said their love for Appalachia is for a place that isn’t quite perfect. But they were inspired to write about it. Listen to the show to hear what they had to say.