Disrupting and Queering Appalachian Narratives

Terrace Suite I, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 4
Thursday, March 9, 2023
10:35 am to 11:50 am


In recent years, writers with rich and varied backgrounds, lived experiences, and perspectives have pushed back against narrow media portrayals of Appalachia, giving voice to the diversity of its literary landscape. This panel discussion will explore five Appalachian authors’ strategies and experience in boldly queering and disrupting these narratives in their books about the region.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_Disrupting_and_Queering_Appalachian_Narratives-_Outline.pdf



W. David Hall is CEO and president of The BreakBread Literacy Project. He has directed the Kenyon Young Writers Program for 21 years. He teaches high school English in Los Angeles and co-coaches his school's slam poetry team. He has also published Culture and Context, a writing guide.

Carter Sickels is the author of the novels The Prettiest Star and The Evening Hour. He is assistant professor of creating writing at Eastern Kentucky University.

Mesha Maren is the author of Sugar Run (Algonquin Books). She is the Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and her short stories and essays appear in Tin HouseOxford American, and Crazyhorse. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Ucross.

Neema Avashia, the daughter of Indian immigrants, was born and raised in southern West Virginia. She has been an educator and activist in the Boston Public Schools since 2003. WVU Press published her first book, Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place, in March 2022.

Jamie Lyn Smith is a writer and editor. The recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, she is also fiction editor at BreakBread magazine and a consulting editor at the Kenyon Review. Her short story collection, Township, was published by Cornerstone Press in January 2022.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center