The Appalachian Festival in Shepherdtown, WV home of Shepherdstown University took place the last week of September 23rd through September 26th.  To quote from the Shepherd website “The Anthology of Appalachian Writers is a publication that encourages a long-established tradition of storytelling, love of language, and creative expression associated broadly with the area of the country known as Appalachia. Though the principal mission of the anthology is to provide a venue for publication of new writers, it also provides a collection of literature and scholarship that contributes to an understanding and appreciation for the region.”

I am pleased to tell you that I myself have had three poems published in the Anthology. The Anthologies are a great read and include stories, poems and photographs.

This years winner and Writer-in- Residence for “Voices from Affrilachia” the Poetry and Storytelling of Frank X Walker. Kentucky’s Poet Laureate, Director of the African American and Africana Studies Program at the University of Kentucky, and editor of PLUCK!, the New Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Frank X Walker is author of When Winter Come, Black Box, Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York, Affrilachia, andIsaac Murphy among others. Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” in 1991, in an effort to make Appalachian literary studies more inclusive–understanding, as do we all, that seizing the language (and telling one’s own story) is the first step in wresting one’s identity and true independence.

Dr Sylvia Shurbutt a professor in the English Department at Shepherd is the driving force behind the Anthology of Appalachian Writers and Photographers and leads the course in Appalachian Studies Minor

The Appalachian Studies minor is an interdisciplinary minor that is designed to make students aware of the rich and varied traditions of and the cultural and environmental influences on the geographical area known as Appalachia. Students often attach the minor to degrees in history, English, Environmental Science, Recreation and Leisure Studies, Sociology, and other degrees with an associated connection with this geographic area.

I was able to attend the Appalachian Festival events including several talks and the Master Class where writers read their work and were critiqued by Dr Shurbutt, Frank X Walker and Natalie Sypolt. The work presented by these budding writers was fantastic.

Frank X Walker’s presentations and discussions of his poetry his life completely engaging.Image

 I am proud beyond words to have been published in the Anthology more than once! 

The Anthologies past and present editions from Shepherd Bookstore at or our local bookstore Four Seasons Books

I hope you will have a chance to check out Frank’s extraordinary poetry and the Anthology itself.Image