The flood came at night, forcefully and quickly, destroying so many lives in its wake. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it will happen again and again.”—Carter Sickels

In late July 2022, a catastrophic flash flood claimed the lives of more than forty people and devastated homes and communities in Central Appalachia. The forty-fifth annual Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at Hindman Settlement School in eastern Kentucky was in progress when surging floodwater forced the participants and staff to rush to higher ground. The school lost classrooms, housing, and gathering areas, as well as valuable equipment, and irreplaceable artifacts such as historical books and documents, photographs, and handmade musical instruments from the school archives were damaged. As the floodwaters receded throughout the region, countless lives were forever changed.

In this visceral and powerful anthology, well-known and emerging Appalachian writers create an authentic space for processing and healing as they document and share the depth of the flood’s devastation. Through words and images, Troublesome Rising reveals the writers’ fears, desperation, sadness, and anger while detailing and examining the disaster’s causes, the need for solutions, and how flooding has historically impacted the Appalachian community and culture. In a shared, varied, and resounding voice, this compelling collection not only serves as a historical document and an in-depth investigation of the event, but also as a celebration of Appalachian strength, determination, and resilience.


A deeply moving collective record of devastation, loss, and resilience, beautifully wrought by a remarkable ensemble of Appalachian writers, this anthology gives glimpses of personal experience while illuminating the broader human toll of climate change, the power of community, and the capacity of storytelling to interpret, memorialize, and heal.   

~Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain

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Melissa HeltonMelissa Helton, literary arts director at Hindman Settlement School, has belonged to the Hindman writing community since 2015. Her work has been published in Shenandoah, Still: The Journal, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Appalachian Review, the Norwegian Writers’ Climate Campaign, and more. Her chapbooks include Inertia: A Study and Hewn. She was previously a tenured associate professor of English at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Edited by Melissa Helton

Length: 272 pages
Releases: September 2024