Countdown to “Drowned Town”

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Jayne Moore Waldrop

Fireside Industries is proud to announce the acquisition of Drowned Town, a book of linked stories, written by Jayne Moore Waldrop. Drowned Town will be the fourth book to be published by Fireside Industries, an imprint of the University Press of Kentucky in conjunction with Hindman Settlement School. Drowned Town focuses on the multigenerational impact caused by the loss of home and illuminates the joys and sorrows of a group of people bound by Western Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes and the lakes that lie on either side of it. The stories follow two main characters whose lives are shaped by the place and goes back and forth in time to show how the creation of the lakes both healed and hurt the people connected to them. In the process, Waldrop offers up luxuriant language that homes in on the importance of family, both blood and created, and how we cannot separate ourselves from our places in the world. “This is one of the most moving books of linked stories I’ve ever read,” says series editor Silas House, who is also a New York Times bestselling novelist. “It follows in the tradition of great books like Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge and is something completely new for Kentucky literature in its structure and themes. These characters are so real to me and I have not stopped thinking about them and the place they love since I read the last page of the book.” Waldrop is a writer, attorney and eighth-generation Kentuckian who was born and grew up in far western Kentucky to a family of displaced Appalachians.

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She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Murray State University Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. A former book columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, Waldrop lives in Lexington. She’s the author of Retracing My Steps (2019), a finalist in the New Women’s Voices Chapbook Contest, and the forthcoming collection Pandemic Lent: A Season in Poems (both from Finishing Line Press). Waldrop’s fiction has appeared in The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Still: The Journal, Appalachian Review, New Madrid Review, and other literary journals. Waldrop has long been associated with Hindman Settlement School and has attended its Appalachian Writers’ Workshop, where she says she’s “been nurtured and challenged to find my truest voice.” Ashley Runyon, Director of the University Press of Kentucky, is excited to release the book. “Jayne Waldrop’s storytelling is magnetic,” Runyon says. “The juxtaposition of the western Kentucky characters alongside old Louisville showcases our state in an honest and compelling way. Fireside Industries is the perfect home for this stunning story.” Drowned Town will be released by University Press of Kentucky in Fall of 2021.