Appalachian Narratives for Our Time

A Contest and Call for Essays, Judged by Silas House


Thank you for your entries!

Click here to visit the press release for information on the winning submissions!

For more information, please contact Dr. Chris Green, Director of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center.

Phone: 859-985-3727



Berea College’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center is putting out a call for Appalachians to tell their story about how they thrive in the places they call home.

Today, some figures on the national stage look past Appalachia’s challenging, rich history and conclude that social and financial difficulties in the region must be the fault of its inhabitants. This impression is supported by highly-publicized, extraordinary tales of someone escaping difficult circumstances through luck and determination.  But what about the majority of Appalachians who grow up and make good and stable lives?  Our goal is to help those stories be told and heard.

Submissions should provide the author’s compelling life story that illustrates the challenges of coming of age, working, and living in the realities of family and community.  If your narrative features personal success in the face of adversity, it will be advantageous to acknowledge the impact of community, community institutions, and societal factors on your life.  The same applies in the other direction: family stories or stories chronicling a community often will benefit from a deeper look at your personal struggles and triumphs.  We also welcome essays that link one’s personal story to social issues and solutions in the region and nation.

The winning submission will receive a prize of $1,250, with a second place of $750, and a third place of $500.  Winners and finalists will have the option of being published by the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center on our website (

The contest will be judged by Silas House, an award-winning, best-selling novelist and the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College.


Deadline: November 1, 2018

Maximum length: 7,500 words

Genre: Personal essay or long-form journalism. No fiction accepted.

Format: 12 point Times New Roman, double spaced, page number in upper right-hand corner.  The essay’s title should appear centered at the top with your name centered underneath.

How to Submit

Email your submission to with “Appalachian Narratives for Our Time” in the subject line.

  • In the email’s text, please share your name, address, email address, and up to a five-line biography. We are not interested in a list of prior publications.
  • Attach a file (pdf, doc, docx, or rft) with your essay.

We will acknowledge receipt of your submission by email.  A separate email, which may come up to two business days later, will either notify you that your submission was accepted or that modifications are required for acceptance.

Authors may seek simultaneous publication for their essays, but if published, we may not be able to republish your essay on our website.

To access the PDF to the Appalachian Narrative Guidelines please click here.