Author Karen Salyer McElmurray Celebrated in Spring ’11 “Appalachian Heritage”


Berea College celebrates the spring issue of its literary quarterly, “Appalachian Heritage,” on Friday, June 10, 2011, with a reading by celebrated Kentucky author, Karen Salyer McElmurray, the featured author of that issue.  The event will begin with refreshments at 7:30 p.m., followed by the reading at 8 at the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center in the Trades Building on Berea’s campus. The event is free and open to the public.

McElmurray’s memoir titled “Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey” won the prestigious Award for Creative Nonfiction from the Associated Writing Programs, a nationwide group of college-level writing teachers, and it was a “Notable Book” for the National Book Critics Circle.

Her debut novel, “Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven,” won the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing from Morehead State University.  Her most recent novel, “The Motel of the Stars,” was named an Editor’s Pick by The Oxford American.

McElmurray is an assistant professor in creative writing at Georgia College and State University and serves as creative nonfiction editor for “Arts and Letters.”  McElmurray attended secondary school in Harlan and Floyd counties in eastern Kentucky and comes from families with deep roots in the region.

She graduated from Berea College in 1980 and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in writing from Hollins University, and a doctorate in American literature from the University of Georgia.

Categories: News, People
Tags: alumni, Appalachian Heritage, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.