As part of Mountaineer Week activities at West Virginia University, West Virginia author and Potomac State College of WVU professor Kevin C. Stewart will give a public reading of his fiction at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 6) in the Robinson Reading Room of WVU s Wise Library.
The event is sponsored by the WVU Press and the Department of English. A reception and book signing will follow.
In his debut short-fiction collection,The Way Things Always Happen Here: Eight Stories and a Novella,published in June by the WVU Press, Stewart takes his readers to the scene of a heinous murder, to the home of an alcoholic single mother, to the 1960s election campaign of JFK through West Virginia and off the side of the New River Gorge Bridge.
With eight stories set in fictional Oak County in southern West Virginia and one novella,Margot,set in the Arkansas Ozarks, Stewart gives readers characters that all love and hate where theyre from.
InOne Mississippi,two teenage boys test their friendship and face their deepest fears.The Way Things Always Happen Hereis a wrenching tale of two teenage lovers coming of age in a place that cant hold both of them.Debtspits an artistic son, who has chosen basket weaving as a profession, against the wishes of his father, a miner and United Mine Workers of America member. And the startlingJune Haypicks up again the father-son conflict.
Stewarts storieschart lush, haunted landscapes reminiscent of the best work of James Dickey or Richard Hugo,said Nic Pizzolatto, author ofBetween Here and the Yellow Sea.They are filled with menace, gritty poetry and longing.This is a significant debut by a gifted storyteller.
Ann Pancake, author ofStrange as This Weather Has Been,said that reading Stewarts collectionis like driving a two-lane blacktop wedged between mountain and creek: the honest spare language under you; the gritty surprises around every turn; and the steady keen insights into both the horrors and the loveliness of contemporary Appalachian and Ozark hill country.
Stewart won the Texas Review Novella Prize forMargotand numerous other awards. He has a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Arkansas along with degrees in English, architecture and civil engineering. Stewart is from Princeton, W.Va. He teaches English and creative writing at Potomac State College of WVU in Keyser.
Vandalia Press is the literary imprint of WVU Press, specializing in contemporary poetry, novels and essays. Begun in 2001, Vandalia Press publishes an average of two literary titles each year by regional writers or other authors whose work has a strong connection to Appalachia or West Virginia. Among Vandalias authors are Richard Currey, Kevin Oderman, Priscilla A. Rodd, Valerie Nieman and West Virginia Poet Laureate Irene McKinney.