F297. Place as Wellspring: Reimagining Local Fiction

Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Friday, February 10, 2017
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Five fiction writers who grew up in West Virginia explore how this place shaped them as writers and continues to fuel their writing. While Appalachia is central to their work, the writers will also speak to the challenges of writing about all misunderstood and maligned places. How does one write with boldness and originality about places often stereotyped, and how does one draw on local knowledge to ultimately transcend the local?



Laura Long coedited the new anthology Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia. Her books are the novel Out of Peel Tree, a finalist for the Balcones Prize, IndieFab Award, and Weatherford Award, and two poetry collections. She teaches at Lynchburg College.

Pinckney Benedict grew up in rural West Virginia. He has published a novel and three collections of short fiction, the most recent of which is Miracle Boy and Other Stories. Benedict serves as a professor in the MFA program at SIUC and the low-residency MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte.

Jonathan Corcoran is the author of the story collection, The Rope Swing. His work is forthcoming in the anthology, Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia. He received a BA in literary arts from Brown University and an MFA from Rutgers University–Newark.

Ann Pancake’s books include the novel Strange as This Weather Has Been and story collections Given Ground and Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley. She has received a Whiting Award, an NEA grant, and the Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and Community Fellowship.

Natalie Sypolt’s fiction has appeared in magazines such as Glimmer Train, Appalachian Heritage, and Willow Springs Review. Her awards include a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellowship and the Glimmer Train New Writers prize. Natalie teaches writing in West Virginia.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center