Silas House, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College, was recently inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers. The induction took place at a ceremony held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, during the SouthWord Festival—a biennial conference for the Southern Lit Alliance and the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
House was one of five writers inducted into the Fellowship this cycle. The Fellowship—founded by writers such as Robert Penn Warren and Eudora Welty to encourage literature in the South— recognizes writers from the region who are making the biggest impact. The only other Kentuckians in the Fellowship, composed of about 50 active members, are Wendell Berry, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Maurice Manning.
Manning, a poet and 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist, inducted House at the ceremony and praised his “attention to the natural world, working-class characters, and the plight of the rural place and rural people.” He also highlighted House’s involvement in a number of efforts to promote social justice for all people and the environment. “I am moved today because I happen to be inducting one of my dearest friends,” Manning said.
House also appeared in a sold-out public conversation with Berry, Tim Gautreaux, and Manning called “Stories of the Southern Wilderness,” which featured the writers discussing the interplay between literature, advocacy, and environmental consciousness.
House is the author of six novels, including Southernmost, to be published in June 2018. He is the winner of many honors, including the E.B. White Award, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Nautilus Prize, and the Hobson Medal for Literature. He was recently selected as the inaugural winner of the Spirit of Kentucky Award, given by the Daughters of the American Revolution. House’s work is frequently included in The New York Times and Salon and has been published in Oxford American, Newsday, Sojourners, and Narrative, among many others. He has been anthologized in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best; Best American Food Writing; and other journals and books. A former commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” he was a contributing editor for No Depression. He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates in the arts and humanities, and was invited to read at the Library of Congress in 2016.
Originally from southeastern Kentucky, House was educated at EKU and Spalding University. He is in his seventh year at Berea College, where he is also an assistant professor of Appalachian Studies. He teaches courses in Appalachian literature, creative writing, and contemporary issues in Appalachia.
The Fellowship of Southern Writers is a nonprofit organization which encourages the creation and development of literature in the South. The FSW commemorates outstanding literary achievement, encourages young writers through awards, prizes, and fellowships, and recognizes distinction in writing by election to membership.