• 10 West Virginia Writing Resources

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Writing Resources     Comments No comments

    West VirginiaNext up in our State Writing Resources series is the Mountain State, good ol’ West Virginia, the 35th state admitted to the Union, ranked 38th in population and 41st in area. Trivia, yo! Did you know that West Virginia was the only state to separate from a Confederate state (Virginia, obvi) during the Civil War? This was after delegates from the region voted against Virginia’s secession from the Union. In a vote where apparently only 34% of them showed up at the polls, West Virginians were like, “Peace out, Virginia.” That’s a pretty wild and wonderful story. Fitting then that the state’s present motto–after retiring “Open for Business”(!) and “Almost Heaven” (thanks to John Denver)–is “Wild and Wonderful.”

    Some major players in West Virginia writing, past and present, include: Pearl Buck, who was born in West Virginia before being moved to China, out of which came her famous novel The Good Earth; Walter Dean Myers, whose YA novel Fallen Angels I must’ve read two dozen times as a kid; Scott McClanahan, whose Crapalachia is book we at WBN thoroughly enjoyed; John Knowles (A Separate Peace); Booker T. Washington, whose family, after emancipation, moved from Virginia to West Virginia, where Washington worked in coal mines to save up some money; and the distant Pancake cousins, Ann and Breece D’J, both of whom are known for writing fiction evocative of rural West Virginia.

    Presented in no particular order, here are 10 West Virginia writing resources, from conferences to local critique groups to literary magazines. If you are a Mountain Stater or are planning to become one, these are some organizations you might want to take a peek at.

    1) West Virginia Writers, Inc.

    Sponsors an annual writers conference and an annual writing competition, and offers meetups throughout the state.

    2) Kestrel

    The literary magazine of Fairmont State University, it publishes fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction by established and emerging writers.

    3) West Virginia University Press

    Provides a complete range of publishing services—copyediting, design, production supervision, advertising, publicity and marketing.

    4) National Writing Project at WVU

    Teachers and administrators working to promote writing and classroom research in 60 West Virginia schools.

    5) West Virginia Writers’ Workshop

    Annual conference offering craft talks, workshops, readings and more.

    6) West Virginia Center for the Book

    Sponsors programs that highlight West Virginia writing and calls attention to the importance of books, reading, literacy and libraries.

    7) West Virginia Book Festival

    A two-day event that celebrates West Virginia writing and brings authors from across the nation to Charleston. Brings together authors, publishers and book vendors, and offers a Festival Marketplace, a special section just for children, a used book sale, meet the author events, workshops and panel discussions.

    8) Cheat River Review

    Published at West Virginia University, Cheat River accepts fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

    9) West Virginia Humanities Council

    Offers grants, fellowships, awards and more to West Virginia writers and artists.

    10) West Virginia Division of Culture and History

    Works with artists, arts organizations, schools and community groups to foster a fertile environment for the artistic, cultural, educational and economic development of the state.

    West Virginia flagHelp us add to this list of West Virginia writing goodness, Mountain Staters! Do you run a local writing group or a lit journal we should be aware of? Feel free to share info and links in the comments section below.

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