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Winners of the Weatherford Award for Best Books About Appalachia

Winners of the Weatherford Award for Best Books About Appalachia

Weatherford Awards honor books deemed as best illuminating the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South. Granted by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association for 50 years, the awards commemorate the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford Sr., a pioneer and leading figure in Appalachian development, youth work and race relations, and his son, Willis D. Weatherford Jr., Berea College’s sixth president.  The poetry award was established in 2010 to honor the life and work of Dr. Grace Toney Edwards, former Director of the Appalachian Regional Studies Center at Radford University.

Current Winners

We are pleased to announce this year’s winners of the 2022 Weatherford Awards! These are separated into 3 categories: fiction, nonfiction and poetry honoring books that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.”

Fiction Award

Daughters of Muscadine

By Monic Ductan

What the Judges had to say

“Monic Ductan infuses her stories with craft, wit, and heart, and peoples them with fully-realized characters who make the foothills town of Muscadine, Georgia leap from the page. Here are a hundred years of women’s stories, told deftly and well. Each woman could be her own book, but in these stories Ductan expertly gives readers exactly what they need while honoring her characters’ complicated lives and full humanity.”

“[Daughters of Muscadine] is intimate, delicate, and invites the reader in the way our stories should. It’s also refreshing in its subject matter and the way it represents the region.”

  • Good Women: Stories by Halle Hill
  • On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel
  • The Songs of Betty Baach – Glenn Taylor

Poetry Award

  • Splinter by Susan O’Dell Underwood
  • Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility by Anna Laura Reeve
  • Tamp by Denton Loving
"Blood Root" and "River, Amen"

Bloodroot by Bill King

River, Amen by Michael Garrigan

What the Judges had to say

On Bloodroot: “This deeply moving collection of poetry is a deep meditation to all the joys and sorrows that the world offers us but also a praise-song to Appalachia in all of its complexity. A truly remarkable collection from one of the region’s best poets.”

On River, Amen: “Garrigan’s ecological poems of Northern Appalachian waterways combine the poet’s experiences as a naturalist, angler, and bio-philosopher to make varied and memorable poems that celebrate the region, the sacredness of place, and poetry-making that sings with beauty and wildness.”

Nonfiction Award

Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain People Food & People

By Erica Abrams Locklear

What the Judges Had to Say 

“I was immediately drawn to this work. Locklear seamlessly weaves personal narrative, historical, and cultural analysis, in a fascinating study about the connection between literature/popular discourse, food, and the region. Brilliant application to multiple fields including Appalachian studies, literary studies, and food studies.”

“An important critical intervention in foodways studies, Abrams Locklear’s Appalachia On The Table offers a new and important way of understanding Appalachian representation through food and people’s perceptions of it. Abrams Locklear enlivens conversations of Appalachian representation via historic discussion of food. Drawing from nonfiction, fiction, journal entries, and other primary/archival sources, the author makes evident the impact that representations of food have had on the region.”

  • Finding the Singing Spruce: Musical Instrument Makers and Appalachia’s Mountain Forests by Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth
  • Oconaluftee: The History of a Smoky Mountain Valley by Elizabeth Giddens
  • Tar Hollow Trans Essays by Stacy Jane Grover 

Past Winners