Silas House: Exploring an Appalachian Writer's Work

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Product Details

University Press of Kentucky
Publish Date
5.3 X 7.1 X 1.2 inches | 0.8 pounds
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About the Author

Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt is the director of the Shepherd University Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities. She currently serves as the Appalachian Heritage WIR Project Director at Shepherd University and as the editor of the Anthology of Appalachian Writers. She lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.


"Over the past two decades Silas House has established himself as one of the central voices explaining, lamenting, and celebrating not only his native Appalachia, but America itself. Sylvia Shurbutt's Silas House: Exploring an Appalachian Writer's Work is a brilliant collection of essays that illuminate what readers have long known: House's work is as politically relevant as it is beautiful. This is a gift to scholars and readers alike." -- Mark Powell, assistant professor of English at Appalachian State University and author of Blood Kin

"The rich, in-depth perspectives of these essays helps us discern the interconnected ways that Silas House's storytelling, in all its forms, reveals our common moral and lyrical humanity." -- Chris Green, author of The Social Life of Poetry: Appalachia, Race, and Radical Modernism

"These essays about the work and career of Silas House confirm the importance of his fiction and presence to the Appalachian region and beyond. His achievement inspires contemporaries and will continue to inspire future generations." -- Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek

"With his superb writing, both fiction and nonfiction, and his untiring, courageous activism, Silas House has become Appalachia's most important voice. This collection of eight essays and an interview shows the range of the author's accomplishments, providing valuable insights into his work and into his life. Silas House is an essential book for all who study our region's literature." -- Ron Rash, author of Serena

"Dignity is the inescapable element shimmering through Silas House: Exploring an Appalachian Writer's Work. As we discover in these pages, House imbues his fictional characters with dignity because at the core of who he is as a person and as a writer, House regards all of creation as holy." -- Karen Spears Zacharias, author of Christian Bend: A Novel

"Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt's essential primer dives deeply into the multi-genre oeuvre of one of America's most insightful storytellers. The quilt pieces herein explore Silas House's mastery of rich characterization, his reverence for the natural world, and the musicality and lyricism in his prose. A champion of Appalachia and the LGBTQ+ communities, House's works may often be set in his beloved Kentucky, but as these essays reveal, it's the human condition writ large he reflects back to us." -- Marie Manilla, The Patron Saint of Ugly

"'Nobody's method will work for you except your own.' Silas House writes like a down-home prophet, his language resonant enough to speed the heart. His method is simple, tell a true story in the guise of a fiction and tell it like a gospel song." -- Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina

"An important, thoughtful and inclusive read. This book not only secures House's place in Appalachian and American letters, but will be an important resource for generations to come." -- Gretchen Moran Laskas, author of The Midwife's Tale

"Silas is one of the greatest contemporary writers of the Appalachian South. This informative book is deeply attentive to his craft and will be used by classrooms, discussion groups, and individuals alongside House's work for decades to come -- a warm, welcome addition to the world of literary scholarship." -- Crystal Wilkinson, author of The Birds of Opulence

"This triumphant collection of essays cements Silas House's status as an American literary treasure. After consuming these deft examinations and critiques of his bountiful oeuvre, readers who have engaged Silas in only a single genre will be moved to immediately seek out his vast array of writing which includes nonfiction, plays, and music journalism that is as married to the power of storytelling as any of his award-winning fiction. House's love of Appalachia, the land and its people, is confirmed, but these essays go further, delving deep into the vivid writing and memorable characters to reveal that Silas House's work is the teacher America desperately needs. Echoed throughout these essays is the idea of Appalachia as a 'microcosm for America, ' but in Silas's Appalachia, there is room enough for us all; and this study of his work opens a crucial vista where we can, at once, view both the stunning artistry and powerful tenets of humanity which live in this writing." -- Frank X Walker, author of Affrilachia and Masked Man, Black: Pandemic & Protest Poems