Participation Type

Panel

Session Title

Diverse Voices in Appalachia: Urban, Industrial, and Ethnic

Session Abstract or Summary

Diversity has always been the case in Appalachia. Typically, much of Appalachia is regarded as rural and homogeneous and only involved in extraction industry. In fact, our beautiful region carries varied voices reflecting the multiplicity of peoples and cultures as it has from the beginning, and it’s even truer today. With reading selections and discussions from published memoirs and fiction, we will express urban, industrial, and ethnic voices in Appalachia.

Presentation #1 Title

900 Degress Celcius

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

Cat Pleska will discuss suburban life and industrial manufacturing at mid-century from her memoir. She'll take you from the heated blast of pot rooms to the white hot heat of welding on live gas lines. Appalachia burned more than coal.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Cat Pleska is a seventh generation West Virginian from a working class family. Her memoir, Riding on Comets, was published by West Virginia University Press in May 2015. Her literary works are included in regional magazines. She reviews books for The Charleston Gazette and is a West Virginia Public Radio essayist.

Presentation #2 Title

Ethnic Urbanites

Presentation #2 Abstract or Summary

Marie Manilla will discuss how she presents various ethnic groups (Italians, Irish, Latino) from recent immigrants to long-standing ones, in her urban Appalachian fiction.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #2

Marie Manilla’s novel, The Patron Saint of Ugly, won the 2014 Weatherford Award in fiction. Shrapnel received the Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel. Still Life with Plums was a finalist for the Weatherford Award and ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year. Manilla teaches in WV Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

Presentation #3 Title

Urban Appalachian Revealed

Presentation #3 Abstract or Summary

Hillbillies, shoeless and under-educated folks are portrayed as the embodiment of Appalachian heritage. The reality of most of the Appalachian population debunks that stereotype.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #3

An award-winning native Appalachian author, M. Lynne Squires’ memoir Letters to My Son – Reflections of Urban Appalachia at Mid-Century brings a fresh perspective of Appalachian living during the mid-20th century. A companion cookbook Mid-Century Meals, is forthcoming. She authors the blog The View from My Cup, reminding us every cup has a story.

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900 Degress Celcius

Cat Pleska will discuss suburban life and industrial manufacturing at mid-century from her memoir. She'll take you from the heated blast of pot rooms to the white hot heat of welding on live gas lines. Appalachia burned more than coal.