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Clark honored with Jean Ritchie Award


UVa-Wise Professor Amy Clark was honored with the 2012 Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing, by Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn.

The prize is awarded to an Appalachian writer who shows overwhelming promise in the continuation of great writing in the region. Clark, a native of Jonesville, Va., is the author of “Success in Hill Country” (The Napoleon Hill Foundation, 2012) and co-editor of the forthcoming “Talking Appalachian” (The University Press of Kentucky, 2012). Her award-winning writing has appeared in numerous journals including Still, Appalachian Heritage, Blue Ridge Country, Now and Then, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Tampa Tribune, as well as the anthology Motif v2: Come What May (Motes Books, 2011.)

Clark is the founding director of the Appalachian Writing Project, a non-profit organization now entering its eleventh year, which supports rural teachers in their research, writing, and teaching about writing. She teaches courses in writing pedagogy, Appalachian literature, rhetorical theory, speech, and sociolinguistics at UVa-Wise.

The fellowship is named in honor of Jean Ritchie, the award-winning musician and writer who has been cited as a "national treasure" by the New York Times. Besides being an internationally known singer, songwriter, activist and musicologist, Ritchie is also the author of several books. Ritchie's best-known work is “Singing Family of the Cumberlands.” The book has never been out of print since its 1955 publication and is known as one of the major classics in Appalachian literature.

This is the fifth year the fellowship has been awarded through LMU’s annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, which honors writers of the region like James Still and Jesse Stuart, both alums of LMU. The fellowship is funded by an anonymous donor and the judging process is completely blind, with a panel of judges within the region choosing several finalists that are then sent out of state to be judged by another panel of nationally-known authors.

Clark is currently at work on several projects including her first young adult novel and a nonfiction book about Appalachian women in multiple-generation families. She plans to use her fellowship winnings to develop a website and teaching guide to reinforce her work to preserve and protect the Appalachian dialect. She will be formally recognized at this year’s Mountain Heritage Literary Festival on June 16, during the event’s keynote banquet. Maurice Manning, Pulitzer-nominee and one of Appalachia’s most respected and important writers, will deliver the keynote address. For more information, go online at


News Release provided by LMU