New book celebrates best writing from annual Highland Summer Conference

Selected essays, poetry and works of fiction and nonfiction have been compiled into one book showcasing and celebrating the best writing from Appalachian writers and students from a popular summer conference held on the banks of the New River at Radford University.

“Writers by the River: Reflections on 40+ Years of the Highland Summer Conference” is published by McFarland Publishing Company and features the writings of 41 authors, many of whom are Radford University faculty and students, who have taught or studied at the conference since its inception in 1978.

“It is a wonderful collection filled with warm words from some of Appalachia's best-known writers, as well as writers on the rise,” said Appalachian Studies Professor Emeritus Grace Toney Edwards, who co-edited the book along with Pulaski, Virginia-based writer Donia S. Eley.

“Writers by the River” can be purchased on the McFarland Publishing website, at the Radford University Bookstore and at Glencoe Mansion, Museum and Gallery in Radford, Virginia.

In the book, readers will find works from numerous Radford University faculty members, including Professor of English Rick Van Noy and Director of Appalachian Studies Theresa Burriss M.S. ‘99.

Retired faculty members from the departments of English and Appalachian Studies who have authored works included in “Writers by the River” are Edwards, Ricky Cox ’86, M.A. ‘90, Chelsea Adams, Jim Minick M.A. ‘91, Parks Lanier, Don Secreast and Ruth Derrick.

The Highland Summer Conference is now held each summer at Radford University’s Selu Conservancy and “brings together and inspires writers as they participate in the communal art of creating and sharing,” said Edwards, who retired from Radford University in 2010 and was the founding director of the Appalachian Regional Studies Center and chair of the interdisciplinary Appalachian Studies Program.

The 44th Annual Highland Summer Conference is scheduled for July 19-23, 2021, and will be held in-person and virtually. Co-facilitating the conference will be poet Diane Gilliam and poet and essayist Leatha Kendrick.

Gilliam and Kendrick will be featured at public readings at 7 p.m. July 20 and 22 in McConnell Library on the Radford University campus. Conference participants will read regional authors and participate in a workshop that gives them opportunities to write and have their writing read and evaluated by the workshop teacher and other participants.

To learn more and to register, visit the Highland Summer Conference website.

Jun 30, 2021
Chad Osborne