Who is your favorite Appalachian novelist?

Just to start a conversation


Silas House.


Amazing one. He’s also a great contributor to the field of Appalachian studies, publishing numerous articles on the matter of demographics and conditions in the area, as well as arguing the case of the Appalachian identity in itself.


He does a great job showing Appalachian identity without saying it's something that's been around forever. It's something we were forced to develop because we've been treated as an "internal other" for the better part of a century.


Barbara Kingsolver. The Poisonwood Bible is one of my all-time favorite books.


Have you read Demon Copperhead yet? Such an amazing book!


I read that just a couple of months ago. Amazing. I like the audiobook version even more. The reader has perfect delivery and an accent that sounds authentic.


Cormac McCarthy. Could argue he’s not entirely Appalachian, but his earlier works certainly were.




Yup! He spent a lot of time in Knoxville, and there’s a bar “suttree” from the book of the same name. Child of god, suttree, amd the road are all rooted in Appalachia. For anyone curious into reading him, I’d suggest starting with no country for old men. He is a prolific author, but has a very sparse and unique writing style that can be difficult at times, and imho NCfOM is the easiest to start with. However child of god is also on the easier side for him and takes place in Appalachia.


isn't he himself Irish?


Yup. He is of Irish descent, family were Irish Catholics. Was born in Rhode Island and moved to Knoxville as a child. Stayed there for a while and then moved to New Mexico where he currently resides. Can see the move in his writing.


that's what I thought. ergo, he's not an Appalachian author.


What preponderance do you base that off of? Ergo, do you have to have blue skin to be considered to be Appalachian?


if someone isn't from here, they're not Appalachian. period.


Ahhh, so so glad that you’re here! If there’s anyone to gate keep its rainaelf!!! What ever would Appalachia do without you?!?!!!


just stating facts. it's the same as if you went into a garage and decided you were a car.


Thank god you’re now using facts! Shucks, I was so lost before you provided facts! The logic is lacking a bit, but I’m going to look past that because you have facts! Wish I could grow up to be you one day!


look. it's simple. writing about Appalachia doesn't make anybody an Appalachian author. being born, growing up, and living in Appalachia and becoming a writer makes a person an Appalachian author.


He lived here from the age of like 3-4 to 26. Appalachian enough for this ol lifer.


doesn't count. he wasn't born here.


Lmao. Didn't realize that being Appalachian had harder *jus soli* criteria than being American.


been the way I described as long as I can remember. born here = Appalachia. not born here = outsider/not Appalachian.


Scott McClanahan! Breece DJ Pancake!


Breese !!


If we're talking present day, either Chris Offutt or Donald Ray Pollock, and David Joy has been moving up my list with just about every book. Jesse Stuart, Breece D'J Pancake and Manly Wade Wellman belong in the conversation if we're talking all time.


This comment looks like the syllabus of my Appalachian lit class I took 10 years ago. I was an accounting major but took it as an elective. Really enjoyed it.


Sharyn McCrumb


Me too!


Edward Abbey mostly wrote about the American southwest but occasionally would write about his native Appalachian upbringing. Hunter S. Thompson my second choice


This was my first thought too.


Crystal Wilkinson.


Lee Smith! Specifically, Oral History and Fair and Tender Ladies. She writes in dialect, which is really fun to read.


The audiobook version of Fair and Tender Ladies narrated by Kate Smith is so good!


I’ll have to check it out! I’m originally from SWVA so I always feel a little bit of home in her books. ❤️ The Devil’s Dream is another interesting one! It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but a really cool look at faith and music, specifically fiddlin’ 🎻


Jesse Stuart


I don't have a favorite author, per se. But Trampoline by Robert Gipe hit me hard in the feels.


Lee Maynard


I'm currently reading Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks. I read a lot of books, and this is one of the best I've read in a very long time.


Donald Ray Pollock. His stories are very dark, but a pretty accurate portrayal of Appalachian life. His style is akin to Cormac McCarthy meets Quentin Tarantino.


Donald Ray Pollock


Seconded. I picked up a book called Devil Won’t Keep Us Apart by Shane Clark because DRP blurbed it. Clark is from Chillicothe, Ohio too and his book is like a contemporary Devil All the Time.


I just added that to my wishlist. Thanks for the recommendation.


Davis Grubb


When I was a kid my favorite book was The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter. I absolutely love that book and story! Later I liked Denise Giardina’s books. I have to mention Coal: A Memoir and Critique, by Duane Lockard, as a book that made an impact on me. I wasn’t exposed to Breece D’J Pancake until recently, but I’m truly enjoying his writing, and I look forward to exploring his works in more detail. But as an adult my favorite Appalachian author now is Breece D’J Pancake.


Robert Gipe. Loved Trampoline.


Jesse Stuart


Wiley Cash. A land more kind than home and Dennis Covington as well with Salvation on Sand Mountain. 2 of my favorite books!


Scott McClanahan, bar none imo