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WVU Tech Appalachian Writers’ Lecture to feature author Ann Pancake

Author and essayist, Ann Pancake, sits in a green shirt, a lush forest behind her, as she looks, smiling, at the camera.

On Thursday, April 4, WVU Tech’s Appalachian Writers’ Lecture will feature renowned author and essayist, Ann Pancake. The lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Carter Hall auditorium.

Known for her distinctive writing style and her Appalachian settings and characters, the award-winning Pancake will share and discuss some of her work, including her 2015 collection of novellas and short stories Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley.The cover of Ann's work "Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley" - it features a charcoal sketch of a stick figure in a hat, reaching for a bird atop a ramshackle building. 

The lecture series – now in its second year – aims to connect the community to writers who have impacted the Appalachian region. 

WVU Tech English professor Dr. Douglas Terry organizes the event.

“The lecture brings WVU Tech students and community members together with authors whose work humanizes the lives and experiences of Appalachians. It promotes discussion of important issues facing people who call this region home,” he said.

For Terry, there are few writers as capable of leading that discussion as Pancake.

“Ann Pancake’s work truly embodies the spirit of the Appalachian Writers’ Lecture,” he said. 

“Her award-winning fiction captures the complexity of life in Southern West Virginia. Set against the collision of nature and industry, her characters persevere amid the competing interests of family, community, religion and work. Their struggle, formed by looming forces, mirrors that of West Virginia itself, grappling with its own identity. As a nationally recognized writer, Pancake tells Appalachia’s story in a way that projects its humanity without turning a blind eye to its challenges.”

For attendees, particularly those familiar with her work, the chance to learn more about Pancake’s process will offer a deeper understanding of her writing and her characters. Audience members will also have a chance to meet Pancake during the event.

“Listening to Pancake discuss her work and read from it will provide insights into her motivations and choices she makes as she represents Appalachia in her work. It will, furthermore, allow students and residents of Southern West Virginia to engage with someone writing about the concerns of this region, about the places they grew up and about lives that perhaps resemble their own,” said Terry.  

Pancake is a West Virginia native who grew up in Romney and Summersville. She has taught in a writing program at Pacific Lutheran University since 2003. She received the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence position at University of Hawaii in 2017 and is currently the writer-in-residence at her alma mater, WVU in Morgantown. She earned her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Washington in 1998.

The Appalachian Writers’ Lecture series is free, open to the public and funded by the WVU Tech Convocations Committee and the Department of History, English and Creative Arts.

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