Elkins – Karen Salyer McElmurray, an award-winning fiction and creative nonfiction writer, has been selected as the feature writer for the 22nd annual D&E Writers’ Series, Tuesday, October 27 and Wednesday, October 28. Both events will take place this year via Zoom.
McElmurray will offer a fiction writing workshop on Tuesday, October 27 from 6-7:30 p.m. which can be accessed at https://zoom.us/j/96447699874. Participants can expect a conversation about craft, a writing prompt and a chance to write and share. On Wednesday, October 28 from 7-8 p.m., McElmurray will read from her new novel, “Wanting Radiance,” and a short creative nonfiction essay. Participants may join at https://zoom.us/j/99112005301.
Set in Tennessee, eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, “Wanting Radiance” tells the story of Miracelle Loving, who is in search of answers about her free-spirited mother, who was murdered during a fortune-telling gone wrong.
“‘Wanting Radiance’” is the most poetic, lyrical, and moving novel I’ve read in a very long time,” said D&E Professor of English Dr. Bill King, who organizes the annual Writers’ Series. “Not only will this book’s mystery pull you in, but McElmurray tackles big subjects along the way — among them, family, grief, memory, love, and the patriarchal treatment of women and the land. This book will haunt you long after you reach the final page and put it on the shelf.”
King and McElmurray were classmates in the Ph.D. program at the University of Georgia in the 1990s.
McElmurray is a native of eastern Kentucky. Her memoir, “Surrendered Child,” won the AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction and was listed as a “notable book” by the National Book Critics Circle. She is the author of three novels, “Motel of the Stars,” Editor’s Pick from Oxford American, and a Lit Life Book of the Year, “Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven” (University of Georgia Press), a novel that won the Lillie Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing and, most recently, “Wanting Radiance,” released this April by University of Kentucky Press. She has also published an anthology of essays about contemporary Appalachia, “Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean,” co-edited with Adrian Blevins, from Ohio University Press. Her essays have won the Annie Dillard Prize, the New Southerner Prize, the Orison Magazine Anthology Award and have several times been Notable in Best American Essays. A collection of her own essays is forthcoming from Iris Book.
McElmurray also was named a distinguished alumnus from Berea College. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from the University of Virginia, a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Hollins University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, where she studied American Literature and Fiction Writing. Her work has received numerous awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She has won faculty awards from her time at Lynchburg College and is a frequent visiting writer and lecturer at a variety of programs and reading series.
The D&E Writers’ Series has a long tradition of bringing award-winning writers to campus, including Rebecca Gayle Howell, Marc Harshman, Ann Pancake, Silas House, Gwen Rubio, Maggie Anderson, Michael Chitwood, Mark Nowak, Irene McKinney, Judson Mitchum, Liz Robbins, Jim Clark and Lynelle Edwards.