Author Silas House to visit Murray State University as the 2022 Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian writer-in-residence

Author Silas House to visit Murray State University as the 2022 Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian writer-in-residence

By Alex Pologruto | Aug 23, 2022

Silas House Reading poster

As part of the residency, House will read from his work on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center ballroom located on Murray State’s campus. The event is free and open to the public.

MURRAY, Ky. — Acclaimed author and native Kentuckian, Silas House, will visit Murray State University as the 2022 Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian writer-in-residence this fall. As part of the residency, House will read from his work on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center ballroom located on Murray State’s campus. The event is free and open to the public.

House is the author of six nationally bestselling novels: Clay's Quilt (2001), A Parchment of Leaves (2003), The Coal Tattoo (2005), Eli the Good (2009), Same Sun Here (2012, co-authored with Neela Vaswani) and Southernmost (2018). His seventh novel, Lark Ascending, will be published in September 2022.  Additionally, House has written three plays and Something’s Rising (2009), a book of creative nonfiction co-authored with Jason Howard.

House’s writing has also appeared recently in Time, The Atlantic, Ecotone, The Advocate, Garden and Gun and Oxford American. A former commentator for the national public radio’s "All Things Considered,” he is currently a member of the fiction faculty in Spalding University’s Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Creative Writing, as well as the National Endowment of Humanities Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. 

He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the recipient of three honorary doctorates and is the winner of the Nautilus Award, an EB White Award, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Storylines Prize from the New York Public Library/NAV Foundation, the Lee Smith Award and many other honors, including an invitation to read at the Library of Congress. Southernmost was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and appeared on several “Best of 2018” lists including The Advocate, Booklist, Paste, Southern Living, Garden and Gun and others. The book received the Weatherford Award, as well as the Judy Gaines Young Award.

House was an executive producer and one of the subjects of the documentary Hillbilly, which is now available on Hulu. The film won the Audience Award from the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Media Award from the Foreign Press Association. As a music journalist, House has worked with artists such as Kacey Musgraves, Kris Kristofferson, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell, Senora May, Leann Womack, Charley Crockett, John R. Miller and many others. He is also host of the popular podcast "On the Porch." In 2021, he was the recipient of the Governor's Award from Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear for his service to the arts in his home state. 

“We are thrilled to be hosting Silas House this fall as the Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian writer-in-residence,” said Dr. Carrie Jerrell, creative writing program director at Murray State. “Throughout his distinguished career and through numerous mediums, Silas House has celebrated the rich and diverse culture of the Appalachian region. We’re excited for him to share some of that work with us here in western Kentucky, and we’re very grateful to the Moore family for making his visit possible.”

The Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian Writer’s Residency was established with gifts from Shirley Moore Menendez, John C. Moore, Tom Moore, Nancy Moore Waldrop and Jayne Moore Waldrop in honor of their late parents and their family’s eastern Kentucky roots. The late Clinton Elster Moore (1916–2008) and Mary Opal Moore (1922–2015) were born in eastern Kentucky — Pike and Letcher counties, respectively — but left the mountains in the early 1950s when they moved to far western Kentucky. They settled in Paducah, where they remained for the rest of their lives, but they always considered Appalachia their home.

The Moore Residency was created to strengthen literary connections between Appalachia and western Kentucky while enhancing the creative and professional growth of students pursuing creative writing at Murray State. It commemorates the Moores’ east-to-west journey in hopes of fostering creativity and understanding between two distinct regions in Kentucky connected by the Cumberland River. The Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian Writer’s Residency takes place early in the fall semester and includes a one-week stay for the writer in a private cabin overlooking Lake Barkley on the Cumberland River.

For more information about the reading, contact Dr. Carrie Jerrell in the department of english and philosophy at cjerrell1@murraystate.edu  or at 270–809–4723. To follow the creative writing program’s Instagram account please visit instagram.com/ murraystatecreativewriting and for its Facebook page, please visit facebook.com/ murraystatecreativewriting. For information about visitor parking for the event, please visit murraystate.nupark.com/v2/ portal/eventregister or call the Murray State Parking Office at 270-809-4812.

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