PARKERSBURG – Four local writers are included in Shepherd University’s 2022 edition of the “Anthology of Appalachian Writers”, Mary Manila volume 14.
The anthology, available at bookstores, includes poetry and photography by Randi Ward, short stories by Lois Spencer and West Virginia University Parkersburg history student Kandi Ellison, and poetry by teacher Karen Whittington Nelson.
Ellison is a history major at WVU-P who lives in Belpre. Writer and student, Ellison is passionate about writing history, literature and fantasy fiction.
Spencer, a latecomer to the teaching profession and a resident of Belpre, has found her niche with junior high students. She accelerated a master’s degree, then a second, entirely devoted to writing. She expanded her education to include junior college. His work has appeared in “Ohio Teachers Write” “Iris: a journal about women”, the Appalachian Women Project and “The rag of the hospice”, among others.
Nelson lives in rural Southeast Ohio and attended Ohio University and had careers in nursing and teaching. His poetry and prose appear in the “Women speak anthologies”, “Gyroscope Review” and “PuddingMagazine.”
Ward is a poet, translator, lyricist and photographer from Belleville. She received her Master of Arts in Cultural Studies from the University of the Faroe Islands and has twice won the Nadia Christensen Award from the Scandinavian American Foundation. Ward is nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Net whose work has appeared in “Vencil: Anthology of Contemporary Faroese Literature”, the “Beloit Poetry Review,” “World Literature Today” and other publications. His work has also been featured on Folk Radio UK, NPR and “PBS News Hour. Cornell University Library established the Randi Ward Collection in its Rare and Manuscript Collections Division in 2015.
The anthology focuses on the work of West Virginia authors, including Charles Frazier, Nikki Giovanni, Frank X Walker, Dorothy Allison, and Ron Rash, winners of the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council.
It also revolves around the work of Marie Manilla, 2021 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence and One Book One West Virginia. The anthology is published by the West Virginia Center for the Book, which distributes the anthology to schools and libraries statewide.
The anthology is funded by the Shepherd University Foundation and the Humanities Council. The University Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities created the anthology series in 2009 and manages its production each year.
Editors include poet Ellen Wade, Appalachian scholar and educator David O. Hoffman, and author and editor Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt.
The book unveiling will take place at 7 p.m. on September 27 during the Appalachian Heritage Writers-in-Residence Anthology Celebration, during which the winners of the photography competition will be announced and West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman, Manilla and Wade will present stories and poems from the book.
A special reading by local award-winning writers of the volume will take place at 5 p.m. on September 24 at Four Seasons Books on German Street in Shepherdstown.
The anthology can be purchased at the Four Seasons Book Store, Shepherd University Book Store, and bookstores state and nationwide. For more information on reading the anthology, call Four Seasons at 304 875-3486 or email [email protected] For more information on the Appalachian Heritage Festival, visit https://www.shepherd.edu/ahwirweb/kingsolver/schedule.