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WKU professor's Appalachian Reckoning among winners of American Book Awards

By Tommy Newton

Bowling Green, KY - Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, co-edited by Western Kentucky University History Professor Anthony Harkins, is among the winners of the 41st annual American Book Awards presented by the Before Columbus Foundation.

Appalachian Reckoning will receive the Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award in an online ceremony Oct. 25. The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community.

Dr. Harkins, a scholar of American popular culture history, particularly its connections to rural America and Appalachia, co-edited Appalachian Reckoning (West Virginia University Press, 2019) with Meredith McCarroll, Director of Writing at Bowdoin College. He also is the author of Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon (Oxford University Press, 2004).



Appalachian Reckoning expresses the complexities and possibilities of contemporary Appalachia through scholarship, narrative essay, photography and poetry.

Earlier this year, Appalachian Reckoning received the annual Weatherford Award, presented by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, for the best nonfiction book about Appalachia of the previous year.

About the book
Appalachian Reckoning is a retort, at turns rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to the long shadow Hillbilly Elegy has cast over the region and its imagining. But it also moves beyond Hillbilly Elegy to allow Appalachians from varied backgrounds to tell their own diverse and complex stories through an imaginative blend of scholarship, prose, poetry, and photography. The essays and creative work collected in Appalachian Reckoning provide a deeply personal portrait of a place that is at once culturally rich and economically distressed, unique and typically American. Complicating simplistic visions that associate the region almost exclusively with death and decay, Appalachian Reckoning makes clear Appalachia's intellectual vitality, spiritual richness, and progressive possibilities.


This story was posted on 2020-09-17 07:36:48
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Western Kentucky University History Professor Anthony Harkins



2020-09-17 - Bowling Green, KY - Photo courtesy Western Kentucky University.
Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, co-edited by Western Kentucky University History Professor Anthony Harkins, is among the winners of the 41st annual American Book Awards presented by the Before Columbus Foundation.

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