Arts & Culture

New UPK Anthology Celebrates Works From More Than 100 Appalachian Writers

Cover detail of "Writing Appalachia"
“Writing Appalachia” features dozens of authors born into or adopted by the region over the past two centuries and showcases for the first time the nuances and contradictions that place Appalachia at the heart of American history.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2020) — Despite the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding Appalachia, the region has nurtured and inspired some of the nation's finest writers. “Writing Appalachia: An Anthology,” published by the University Press of Kentucky and edited by Katherine Ledford and Theresa Lloyd, features dozens of authors born into or adopted by the region over the past two centuries and showcases for the first time the nuances and contradictions that place Appalachia at the heart of American history.

This comprehensive anthology covers an exceedingly diverse range of subjects, genres and time periods, beginning with early Native American oral traditions and concluding with 21st-century writers such as Wendell Berry, bell hooks, Silas House, Barbara Kingsolver and Frank X Walker.

Katherine Ledford is a professor of Appalachian studies at Appalachian State University and coeditor of “Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes.” Theresa Lloyd is coeditor of the literature section of the Encyclopedia of Appalachia and professor emerita at East Tennessee State University. Both Ledford and Lloyd will be signing copies at the Appalachian Studies Association Conference held on the UK campus March 12–15. 

The anthology has received advanced praise from Morris Grubbs, coeditor of “Every Leaf a Mirror: A Jim Wayne Miller Reader” and assistant dean and director of The Graduate School at the University of Kentucky.

"Ledford and Lloyd have found the gateway to a region of literary riches, at once beautiful and sublime, by turns abundant and despoiled, and too often misrepresented and misunderstood,” Grubbs said. “Hearing the chorus of clear and powerful voices represented here will surely help lift a veil that has for so long obscured many truths about the region. At last Appalachia is revealed in its full panorama. The collective story is both triumphant and heartrending." 

Slave narratives, local color writing, folklore, work songs, modernist prose — each piece explores unique Appalachian struggles, questions and values. The collection also celebrates the significant contributions of women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community to the region's history and culture. Alongside southern and central Appalachian voices, the anthology features northern authors and selections that reflect the urban characteristics of the region. As one text gives way to the next, a more complete picture of Appalachia emerges — a landscape of contrasting visions and possibilities.

The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. The press’ editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at the University of Kentucky, which provides financial support toward operating and publishing expenses.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.