In late July we were delighted to celebrate the 46th Appalachian Writers’ Workshop. This year was unique because not only was it the anniversary of many of the writers experiencing and surviving last year’s devastating flood, but also it was a record-breaking attendance with half being first-time attendees.
This year we welcomed over 100 writers to campus to study fiction, nonfiction, and poetry with faculty Neema Avashia, David Joy, Mesha Maren, Marianne Worthington, Angela Jackson-Brown, Doug Van Gundy, and Annette Clapsaddle. Special sessions were also offered by George Ella Lyon, M. Randal O’Wain, Andrew Preston, Ashley Blooms, and Clint Waters. The Jim Wayne Miller/James Still Keynote address was given by Kentucky Poet Laureate Emeritus Crystal Wilkinson.
To hold space for the writers who experienced the flood, and especially for those returning to campus for the first time after fleeing, we held two optional pre-workshop sessions. Local artist Jenn Noble taught a painting class and our Literary Arts Director Melissa Helton led a story exchange, where participants could talk about their flood experiences.
Despite the challenges of hosting, housing, and feeding such a large group, and unexpected hiccups like HVAC issues in Stucky, the week was a beautiful gathering of creativity and community. This was the first fully complete and fully in-person workshop since 2019 (since 2020 was virtual, 2021 was hybrid, and 2022 ended early with the flood).
Plans for next year’s workshop are already underway! Mark your calendars for July 21-26, 2024, and plan to be with us!