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W. D. Weatherford Awards recognizes outstanding books about Appalachian South

C.E Morgan’s novel All the Living and Chris Green’s historical review The Social Life of Poetry are the winners of the W.D. Weatherford Awards, which recognize outstanding books published in 2009 related to Southern Appalachia. The awards were announced at the 2010 Appalachian Studies Conference recently held at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega.

The Appalachian Studies Association together with Berea College present the Weatherford Award annually to the authors of one fiction work and one non-fiction work “which best illuminates the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.” The conferring of this $500 award has come to be recognized as a major Appalachian event.

Established and supported for 20 years by the late Alfred Perrin, retired publications director of Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, the award commemorates the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford, Sr., a pioneer and leading figure for many years in Appalachian development, youth work and race relations, and of his son, Willis D. Weatherford, Jr., a former Berea College President.

All the Living, published in March 2009 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Publishers, is C. E. Morgan’s debut novel. The book is set in Kentucky where a young woman moves from a mission school to a bottomland farm to be with a boyfriend, who has just endured a severe family loss.

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and now a resident of Berea, Morgan is an alumna of Berea College, where she studied English and Voice. She also holds a Masters degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Morgan was named one of the “Five Best Writers Under 35” by the National Book Foundation in November 2009.

The Social Life of Poetry, published in 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan, is Chris Green’s second book. The book focuses on American racial history and how “mountain whites” influenced America’s understanding of African Americans, Jews, Anglos, southerners, and migrants.

A native of central Kentucky who earned both his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, Green is an associate professor of English at Marshall University. He is the author of Rushlight: Poems and was editor of Coal: A Poetry Anthology.

“Winning the Weatherford places my book in a line of authors who have helped to shape our understanding of Appalachia,” says Green. “That’s humbling, and I’m honored. Appalachians are currently excluded from every multicultural history of America, and I want to help change that.”

Next year, a third Weatherford will be presented, in Poetry, and will be given in honor of Dr. Grace Toney Edwards, who is retiring this year from Radford University, where she has long served as Director of the Appalachian Regional Studies Center.

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