Faculty, staff, students, and community are invited to join the NEA Big Read with Ron Rash, Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m., in the Rhododendron Room, Fifth Floor, Slemp Student Center, at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.  This event, sponsored by the Lecture Committee, the Department of Language and Literature, and the Center for Appalachian Studies/Appalachian Writing Project, is in partnership with the Lonesome Pine Regional Library. NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

”Rash’s visit will be his first to UVa-Wise since 2008 and his first since the publication of his acclaimed novel, Serena (2008).  Rash will give a reading and have a conversation with students and the college community.

Titled “Burning Bright: A Reading and Conversation with Ron Rash,” Rash’s Big Read will show how the life of the Appalachian Mountains—the changing mountain culture, the displaced people, the buried places, and the lost past of the Appalachian region accompanied by love, betrayal, family, violence, revenge and murder—from Depression-era North Carolina through the contemporary period interwoven into his writing has its own unique edge in its search for the universal.

 Rash, an internationally and nationally renowned poet and novelist, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, a 2007/2009 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist for Chemistry and Other Stories and Serena, the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award-winner for Burning Bright, has authored four books of poetry: Eureka Mill (1998), Among the Believers (2000), Raising the Dead (2002), and Waking (2011); six short story collections: The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth and Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina (1994; the Sherwood Anderson Award in 1996), Casualties (2000), Chemistry and Other Stories (2007), Burning Bright (2010), Nothing Gold Can Stay (2013), and Something Rich and Strange (2014); and seven novels: One Foot in Eden (2002; Novello Festival Press Literary Award, ForwardMagazine’s Gold Medal for Best Literary Novel, Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award for 2003; featured on Oprah’s Book Club and selected for our freshman seminar read in 2005), Saints at the River (2004; Southern Book Critics Award), The World Made Straight (2006; Sir Walter Raleigh Prize; adapted into a feature film in 2015), Serena (2008; adapted into a feature film in 2014), The Cove (2012), Above the Waterfall (2015), and The Risen (2016). He has also to his credit a children’s book, The Shark’s Tooth (2001), two magazine publications, and a collection of poems, Poems: New and Selected (2016).  Rash has contributed his poetry and short stories to a number of journals, including Poetry, Kenyon Review, Yale Review, Georgia Review, Oxford American, New England Review, Southern Review, Shenandoah, Sewanee Review, and Double Take.  His short story “Speckle Trout” won the O. Henry Prize, 2005. Awarded many honors for his poetry and fiction, Rash has received widespread popular acclaim, with his novels Serena, The Cove, and Above the Waterfall remaining on the New York Timesbestseller list for weeks.

Rash, who holds a BA in English from Gardner-Webb University and an MA in English from Clemson University, is the John Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Cultural Studies and director of Appalachia Studies at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Rash’s Big Read book, Burning Bright, along with Serena, Above the Waterfall, and his poetry collection, Poems: New and Selected, are available at the event for book signing.  Please announce this event to your classes; students will receive cultural credit for attendance. This event is free and open to the public.  For more information, please contact college relations at 276-328-0127.