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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shepherd University Hosts Regional Writers, Photographic Artists, and a Conversation on Mountaintop Removal

A series of programs on Appalachian storytelling and environmental issues will take place at Shepherd University during the week of September 28 through October 3. Award-winning fiction writer Silas House, 2009 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd, will be on campus along with others to celebrate Appalachian writing and storytelling and to encourage a conversation on environmental issues and Appalachian culture and traditions.

A photographic art show beginning September 15 will inaugurate the series of events. The show exhibits photographs published in the 2009 Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Adriana Trigiani Volume. The exhibit will run through October 5 in the Scarborough Library Reading Room.

During the week of the Appalachian Heritage Celebration at Shepherd, September 28-October 3, a wide range of events and programs will occur. On Monday, September 28, at 7:00 p.m., the Shepherdstown Film Society will host a screening of the documentary Sludge. Dr. Ed. Snyder, Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Shepherd, will be on hand at Reynolds Hall to introduce and discuss the film. The film is part of a conversation on mountaintop removal that Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Silas House has inspired. House’s latest book, Something’s Rising, is a collection of oral histories on the subject. Among the figures included in the book are Lee Smith, literary mentor to House, and renowned singer/song-writer Jeanne Ritchie, who will headline the Appalachian Heritage Festival Concert on October 2.

At 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 29, “A Celebration of Appalachian Storytellers“ will present writers featured in the new Anthology of Appalachian Writers, published this spring. Featured poets include West Virginia writers Eddy Pendarvis, Kathy Combiths and regional writers Jeff Mann, Marc Harshman, Karen Robbins, and Justin Batton. A reception will follow the program and readings. The event is sponsored by the WV Center for the Book, which provided funding for the Anthology.

Silas House will speak with local high school students on Wednesday, September 30, followed by a program at the Martinsburg Public Library at 10:30 a.m. Later in the day, there will be a Master Writing Class with Silas House from 3:00 until 4:30 in the Robert C. Bryd Center for Legislative Studies. At 7:00 p.m. House will talk about his life as a playwright and fiction writer at “The Writing Life with Silas House" event, also scheduled at Byrd.

The keynote and awards event is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Thursday, October 1, at Erma Byrd Hall. This event is sponsored by The WV Humanities Council and The Shepherd University Foundation. House will receive the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award and deliver the Scarborough Society Lecture, “The History of Every Country: The Importance of Place.” He will also present the WV Fiction Competition Awards. The public is invited to the reception.

On Friday, October 2, a 5:00 p.m. program is planned for the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies called “Writers and Renegades.” Appalachian Heritage Journal editor George Brosi from Berea College will be present, along with Silas House, to talk about those writers and renegades whose work and activism have made a positive impact on the environment of Appalachia.

The highlight of the week includes the Friday and Saturday Appalachian Heritage Festival Concerts at 8:00 in the Frank Theater, where singer/songwriter legend Jeanne Ritchie will headline. Events all day Saturday through out Shepherdstown conclude the Festival and the Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Project. For more information or tickets to the Festival Concerts, call or contact Rachael Meads, PASS Director at Shepherd, at 304.876.5113 or or Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, Appalachian Heritage Writers Project Director at 304.876.5220 or See the Appalachian Heritage website for information about Silas House and the Festival at