West Virginia University Press author Lee Maynard teamed up with fellow renegade writer Chuck Kinder for the self-dubbed Outlaw WritersTour which just wrapped up its journey through Appalachia. Maynard and Kinders books have become highly acclaimed as cult classics, and their partnership in this endeavor only added to their mystique.
While they were praised by their many fans during the tour, both authors have faced criticism due to the risky material their works contain. In particular, Maynards first book Crum has been criticized for its stark portrayal of a boy coming of age in a small town nestled in the hills of West Virginia. And Kinders latest work seems poised to draw ire from those who would just as soon see the stereotypes of the region banished.
This tour, however, seemed to delight the audiences, and was more than simply a book reading. The Pittsburgh-based Deliberate Strangers opened and closed the shows with their alternative Appalachian style of music.
During the middle of the two-hour performances, Maynard read from the soon to be released sequel to Crum called Screaming with the Cannibals; and Kinder read from his yet to be published memoir, The Last Mountain Dancer. After leaving Pittsburgh, the Outlaws performed at many different and unique locations throughout West Virginia including Morgantown, Charleston, Huntington, and had their final showdown at the public library in Oak Hill.
While stopping to do a show at the Blue Moose Cafe in Morgantown, Maynard signed a limited hardcover printing of Crum that was just released for sale. The remaining copies of this first and only hardcover edition are available through the West Virginia University PressWeb site athttp://www.wvupress.com.
The tour made Maynards fans even more anxious for the fall release of the sequel to his first novel. Screaming with the Cannibals is coming out on Vandalia Press, which is WVU Pressimprint for imaginative Appalachian literature. The new book picks up right where Crum left off, and certainly will offer readers more fodder for discussion.
When asked whether he was worried about more negative reaction to his writing, Maynard said,I have a responsibility to tell a story, and if it happens to be about where I grew up, so be it. I dont understand why people have lost their sense of humor and are so thin skinned. After all we came to this country to be independent, and all I was doing with Crum was telling a story about what I perceived it to be like to grow up in West Virginia. And this new book continues the story by exploring the theme common to many native West Virginians, leaving (but never forgetting) the state to find whatever it is we are searching for.
Screaming with the Cannibals will be released at the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston Oct. 11-12. During the festival, Maynard and Kinder plan to reunite to discuss the literacy merits of excess and wild abandon. The festival is free and open to the public.