Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby, Zander Aloi, Leeshia Lee, Liz McCormick Published

Fish Fry Tradition, Ann Pancake And The Internet, Inside Appalachia

A black and white photo of a headshot of a man wearing black glasses and smiling at the camera.
Author Cory Doctorow
Courtesy Jonathan Worth

Can the internet rebuild Appalachia? We ask sci-fi novelist and tech writer Cory Doctorow.  

Also, fish fries have been a staple in Charleston, West Virginia’s Black community for generations. We learn more about them.

And, hop on board the Cass Scenic Railroad for a visit with the people who keep the steam trains running.

You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

Cory Doctorow Champions Digital Rights In Appalachia

Writer Cory Doctorow is one of the world’s most prominent thinkers about the internet and how it’s changing our lives. Doctorow’s science fiction novels touch on social media culture and the ubiquity of surveillance. He’s also a digital human rights activist who sees technology as a net good if people are given better control of it.

Producer Bill Lynch spoke to Doctorow about what that could mean for Appalachia. 

Fish Fry Traditions In Charleston, WV

A fryer is shown. Fish simmer in the hot oil.
A fryer full of fish.

Credit: Leeshia Lee/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Signs for fish fries are pretty common in Charleston, West Virginia, especially in the city’s Black community, where they’ve become a tradition for generations.

Folkways Fellow Leeshia Lee grew up in Charleston and says friends and neighbors frequently hosted fish fries, often as a way to raise money for community needs. She brings us this story.

Ann Pancake As Appalachian Heritage Writer-In-Residence

A photograph of author Ann Pancake next to an image of the cover of her novel "Strange As This Weather Has Been." She has grey hair, smiles slightly and wears a black shirt. The cover of her novel is an artistic take on mountaintop removal. A human is shaped like a mountain, as a few dying trees are shown and oil pours out of the human mountain's stomach.
West Virginia author Ann Pancake is the 2023 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence. Her 2007 novel “Strange As This Weather Has Been” has been named the 2023 One Book, One West Virginia Common Read.

Credit: Shepherd University

West Virginia author Ann Pancake is best known for her acclaimed 2007 novel Strange as This Weather Has Been. It follows a southern West Virginia family affected by mountaintop removal. Now, Pancake is the Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University.

WVPB’s Liz McCormick recently sat down with her to talk about what inspires her writing. First, we’ll hear Pancake read a passage from Strange as This Weather Has Been.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by The Company Stores, Sierra Ferrel, Gerry Milnes, the Carpenter Ants and Jerry Douglas.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Zander Aloi is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens.

You can send us an email:

You can find us on Instagram, Threads and Twitter @InAppalachia. Or here on Facebook.

Sign-up for the Inside Appalachia Newsletter!

Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.