Bill Lynch, Eric Douglas, Mason Adams, Liz McCormick, Zack Harold, Kelley Libby Published

Summer Reading Suggestions, Inside Appalachia

Stacks of books are seen with one open at the top of the stack. Blurred in the background are bookshelves. It looks like the photo was taken in a library.Kara/Adobe Stocks

Inside Appalachia loves books and writers – and if you’re looking for summer book recommendations, we’ve got a bunch.

This is our summer reading episode, featuring some of our favorite notable author interviews from over the past several months. 

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

In This Episode:

Silas House Talks Climate Calamity With “Lark Ascending”

“Lark Ascending” is a post-apocalyptic story about the ravages of climate change.

Written by Kentucky’s Silas House, the novel racked up several awards including the 2023 Southern Book Prize and the 2023 Nautilus Book Award. 

Mason Adams spoke with House following the release of “Lark Ascending,” last fall.  

Kentucky poet laureate Silas House spoke to Mason Adams about his novel “Lark Ascending.”


Barbara Kingsolver’s Appalachia Explored In “Demon Copperhead”

A Pulitzer Prize winning novel is typically considered “a solid read,” and even before it took the honor, Barbara Kingsolver’s “Demon Copperhead” was attracting attention.

In 2022, Kingsolver was the Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University in West Virginia. 

WVPB’s Liz McCormick sat down with Kingsolver to talk about Appalachia and the book. 

Author Barbara Kingsolver.

Credit: Evan Kafka

Frank X. Walker Talks Poetry and Affricachia

Thirty years ago, Kentucky poet Frank X. Walker rebelled against the definition of Appalachians as, “the white residents of the Appalachian mountains” and coined the phrase “Affrilachia.” 

Walker’s latest is “A is for Affrilachia,” a children’s book.  

It’s been called “an ode to Affrilachia.” 

WVPB’s Eric Douglas spoke with Walker. 

Cover art for Frank X. Walker’s children’s book, “A is for Affrilachia.”


Hotdogs In the Hills With Emily Hilliard

One of our favorite recent non-fiction books has been “Making Our Future: Visionary Folklore and Everyday Culture in Appalachia,” by folklorist Emily Hilliard.

It’s chock full of quirky Appalachian culture – from indie pro wrestling to the video game “Fallout 76” and more.

Folkways Reporter and resident foodie Zack Harold talked West Virginia hotdogs with Hilliard.

Emily Hilliard’s book relishes Appalachian culture.


Women Speak In Appalachia

For a sampling of women writers, especially poets, you might check out any of the eight volumes of “Women Speak,” an anthology series collecting the work of Appalachian women.

The books are edited by Kari Gunter-Seymour, Ohio’s poet laureate.  

Inside Appalachia Producer Bill Lynch spoke with Gunter-Seymour about poetry, getting published, and Appalachian Ohio.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Del Mcoury, The Appalachian Road Show, Little Sparrow, Buck Owens and Tim Bing.

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.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.