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APSU Visiting Writers Series welcomes essayist Ann Pancake on April 12

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — A native West Virginian with a bit of a wanderlust, author and essayist Ann Pancake has traveled the world in search of a story.

After graduating from West Virginia University, Pancake earned an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina before teaching English in, among other places, American Samoa, Japan and Thailand. Even now, Pancake lives in Seattle, teaching in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — A native West Virginian with a bit of a wanderlust, author and essayist Ann Pancake has traveled the world in search of a story.

After graduating from West Virginia University, Pancake earned an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina before teaching English in, among other places, American Samoa, Japan and Thailand. Even now, Pancake lives in Seattle, teaching in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University.

But while she left the Appalachian Mountains that define West Virginia, her spirit and inspiration remained. Her latest release, “Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley,” shines a light on the working poor men and women of the region known as Appalachia as they strive to carve a living out of an unforgiving landscape.

At 8 p.m. on April 12, Pancake will give a reading of her new collection at Trahern, Room 401 on the University campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the APSU Visiting Writers Series.

In “Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley,” a collection of 11 astonishing novellas and short stories, characters intensely connected to their land — sometimes through love, sometimes through hate — experience brokenness and loss, redemption and revelation, often through their relationships to places under siege.

Pancake's first novel, “Strange As This Weather Has Been,” features a southern West Virginia family devastated by mountaintop removal mining. Based on interviews and real events, the novel was one of Kirkus Review's Top Ten Fiction Books of 2007, won the 2007 Weatherford Award and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award.

Her collection of short stories, “Given Ground,” won the 2000 Bakeless award, and she has also received a Whiting Award, an NEA Grant, a Pushcart Prize and creative writing fellowships from the states of Washington, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Her fiction and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies like The Georgia Review, Poets and Writers, Narrative and New Stories from the South. She earned a PhD. in English Literature from the University of Washington. 

For more information on the reading, contact Susan Wallace, Zone 3 editor, at wallacess@apsu.edu.