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Marie Manilla, the author of “The Patron Saint of Ugly,” is this year’s Appalachian Heritage writer-in-residence.

The work of Marie Manilla, this year’s Shepherd University Writer-in-Residence, is inspiring events at this year’s annual Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence and Appalachian Heritage Festival. Events run Sept. 24 through Oct. 1. All are free and open to the public. Many will be streamed live on Shepherd’s YouTube channel or will be available via Zoom, making them accessible to audiences around the world.

Manilla is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her novel, “The Patron Saint of Ugly,” won the Weatherford Award and is the 2021 One Book One West Virginia common reading selection. “Shrapnel” received the Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel. Stories in her collection “Still Life with Plums” first appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Prairie Schooner, Mississippi Review, Calyx and other journals. Her essays have appeared in Word Riot, Cossack Review, Hippocampus and Under the Sun, and Still.

“This is really a celebration not just of Appalachia but also of West Virginia,” said Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, director of Shepherd Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities. “The programs planned around the work of Marie Manilla all contribute to understanding our resiliency and to the healing and joy that telling our stories afford.”

In addition to a weeklong series of events highlighting Manilla’s work, the Appalachian Heritage Festival will take place Sept. 25, with workshops and a free evening concert.

Both programs are funded by the West Virginia Center for the Book, the West Virginia Library Commission, West Virginia Humanities Council, Shepherd University Foundation, and the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities. These annual programs and Appalachian heritage celebrations are developed by the Performing Arts Series at Shepherd and the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities.

Currently, face coverings are required for all indoor activities. Those attending performances in person will be required to follow Shepherd’s current COVID-19 policies. Before attending this or any event on campus, visit the school’s COVID information page to learn what policies are in effect.

For more information, including links to YouTube and Zoom sessions, visit the Marie Manilla Appalachian Writer-in-Residence webpage.

SCHEDULE

n Sept. 1-30 — Images of Appalachia from the “Anthology of Appalachian Writers Dorothy Allison Volume XIII” exhibit in Scarborough Library, curator Mike Mendez. Virtual exhibit is available on the Marie Manilla webpage.

n Sept. 24 — 7 p.m., stories from West Virginia, with Shepherd University Storyteller-in-Residence Adam Booth. Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium and streamed live on Shepherd’s YouTube channel.

n Sept. 25 — 2 p.m., Carter Legacy Workshop, with Americana and bluegrass musician Linda Lay in Reynolds Hall. 3:30 p.m., conversation with fiddle and banjo player and National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Award recipient John Morris in Reynolds Hall. 7 p.m. concert featuring West Virginia traditional musician John Morris, Freedom Songs with Dana Foddrell, and bluegrass with Linda Lay and Springfield Exit at Butcher Center Plaza. Audience members are asked to bring their own seating and in the case of inclement weather, the concert will move into the Frank Center Theater.

n Sept. 27 — 7 p.m., “Mother Jones and Transformation through Suffering,” with novelist Karen Spears Zacharias at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium and streamed live on Shepherd’s YouTube channel.

n Sept. 28 — 7 p.m., “A Celebration of Appalachian Storytellers, ‘Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Dorothy Allison Volume XIII,’” with West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman and friends at Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium and streamed live on Shepherd’s YouTube channel.

n Sept. 29 — 9:30 a.m., Q&A with Marie Manilla and a conversation about the One Book One West Virginia selection, “The Patron Saint of Ugly” via Zoom. 3-4:30 p.m., Writers Master Class with Marie Manilla at Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium and via Zoom. 7 p.m., “The Writing Life” with Marie Manilla at Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium and streamed live on Shepherd’s YouTube channel.

n Sept. 30 — 8 a.m., Q&A with Marie Manilla and a conversation about the One Book One West Virginia selection, “Patron Saint of Ugly” via Zoom. 7 p.m., Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence awards ceremony and reception at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium and streamed live on Shepherd’s YouTube channel.

n Oct. 1 — 7 p.m., Fried Green Tomatoes movie screening and film discussion with Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst, associate professor of history at Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium and streamed live on Shepherd’s YouTube channel.

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