NY Times Best-Selling Author to Speak at Concord College

For Immediate Release: 
Mar 03 2002

NY Times Best-Selling Author to Speak at Concord College

Athens, W.Va. - Best-selling Appalachian author Sharyn McCrumb is scheduled to speak at the Annual Alumni Banquet at Concord College on Friday, May 17, 2002.

Sharyn McCrumb is a New York Times best-selling author whose award-winning novels celebrating the history and folklore of Appalachia have received both scholarly and popular acclaim.

Her great-grandfathers were circuit preachers in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains a hundred years ago, riding horseback over the ridges to preach in a different community each week. It is from them, she says, that she gets her regard for books, her gift of storytelling and public speaking, and her love of the Appalachian Mountains.

"My books are like Appalachian quilts," says Sharyn McCrumb. "I take brightly colored scraps of legends, ballads, fragments of rural life, and local tragedy, and I piece them together into a complex whole that tells not only a story, but also a deeper truth about the culture of the mountain South."

McCrumb, honored for Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature by the Appalachian Writer’s Association in 1997, has won many writing awards, including: the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest, Appalachian Writer of the Year Award 1999 from Shepherd College, the Flora McDonald Award from St. Andrews University, Morehead State University’s Chaffin Award, and the Plattner Award from Berea College. Her work has twice received the AWA’s Best Appalachian Novel Award. She was named a Kentucky Colonel by Kentucky’s Governor Paul E. Patton. She served as writer in residence at King College in Bristol, Tennessee for 2000.

McCrumb’s novels, studied in universities throughout the world, are translated into German, Dutch, Japanese, French, Greek, Czech, Russian, Danish, Swedish, Spanish, and Italian, and are also U.S. national best sellers.

She is the author of seventeen novels, including the "Ballad Books:" If I Ever Return, Pretty Peggy-O, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, and the New York Times best sellers, She Walks These Hills, The Rosewood Casket, and The Ballad of Frankie Silver. The latter, the true story of a young woman hanged for murder in North Carolina in 1833, received nominations for SEBA Book of the Year and Virginia Book of the Year. All of the Ballad novels have been named New York Times or Los Angeles Times Notable Books. The Songcatcher uses a ballad as the narrative thread, tracing Sharyn McCrumb’s family from the kidnapping of a nine-year-old Malcolm MacQuarrie in 18th century Scotland to his descendants in present day Appalachia.

Sharyn McCrumb, a graduate of the University of North Carolina, holds an MA in English from Virginia Tech. She has lectured on her work at Oxford University, the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Bonn, Germany, and at universities and libraries throughout the country. She lives and writes on an estate near the Appalachian Trail in the Virginia Blue Ridge.

The New York Times called her work elegiac (expressing sorrow), saying, "McCrumb writes with a quiet fire and maybe a little mountain magic … like every good storyteller, she has the Sight."

The alumni banquet will be held on Friday, May 17 at 6:00 p.m., preceded by a social and dedication of the newly redecorated alumni lounge beginning at 5:00 p.m. Ticket cost is $15 per person and the public is encouraged to attend.

Reservations may be made by contacting Concord College Alumni Director Kati Whittaker or Sally Kirk at 1-304-384-5348 or
1-304-384-6056 or e-mail alumni@concord.edu.