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Appalachian Studies: Featured Appalachian Author

"Each life is dirt and time and rhyme and stone." --Jesse Stuart, Man with A Bull-Tongue Plow (1934), Sonnet #678

Silas House

Silas House

Silas House is the author of five novels:  Clay’s Quilt (2001),  A Parchment of Leaves (2003), The Coal Tattoo (2004), Eli the Good (2009), Same Sun Here (co-authored with Neela Vaswani, 2012); three plays, The Hurting Part (2005), Long Time Travelling (2009), This Is My Heart For You (2012); and Something’s Rising (2009), a creative nonfiction book about social protest co-authored with Jason Howard.  House was selected to edit the posthumous manuscript of acclaimed writer James StillChinaberry (2011).  

House serves as the Director of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea College and on the fiction faculty at Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing program.  House is a former contributing editor for No Depression magazine, where he has done long features on such artists as Lucinda Williams, Nickel Creek, and many others.  He is also one of Nashville’s most in-demand press kit writers, having written the press kit bios for such artists as Kris Kristofferson, Kathy Mattea, Leann Womack, and others. A former writer-in-residence at Lincoln Memorial University, he is the creator of the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival.

House is a two-time finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Novel of the Year, the Appalachian Writer of the Year, recipient of the Lee Smith Award, the Hobson Medal for Literature, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Chaffin Prize for Literature, the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, The Parents' Choice Award (Fiction, 10  & Up), and many other honors. In 2009 the Silas House Literary Seminar was given at Emory and Henry College.  For his environmental activism House received the Helen Lewis Community Service Award in 2008 from the Appalachian Studies Association.  In 2010 he was awarded the Intellectual Freedom Award from the Kentucky Council of English Teachers.

House’s work can be found in The New York TimesNewsdayOxford American, BayouThe Southeast Review,The Louisville ReviewThe Beloit Fiction JournalWindNight Train, and others, as well as in the anthologies The Southern Poetry Anthology:  Volume 3New Stories From the South 2004:  The Year’s BestChristmas in the SouthA Kentucky ReaderOf Woods and WaterMotif, We All Live Downstream, Missing MountainsA Kentucky ChristmasShouts and WhispersHigh HorseThe Alumni GrillStories From the Blue Moon Café I and II, and many others.

House was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky and is very proud of his Appalachian roots.  He is the father of two daughters and has three dogs:  Rufus, Holly, and Pepper.  He divides his time between London and Berea, Kentucky. 

(info taken from

Silas House in MU Libraries catalog


Same Sun Here, novel, Candlewick Books, February 2012

Recruiters: A Story, short story in book-form, Larkspur Press, October 2011

"Her Troublesome Boys," book review, Now & Then, Summer 2011, Vol. 27, No. 1

"Live By the Golden Rule," editorial, The Berea Citizen, June 16, 2011

Chinaberry, edited by Silas House, written by James Still, The University Press of Kentucky, March 2011

"My Polluted Kentucky Home," editorial, The New York Times, February 20, 2011

"Drought,” poem, Now & Then, Vol. 26, No. 2 (December 2010)

“Double Creek Girl”, poem, The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. 3, edited by Graves, Ruffin, & Wright, Texas Review Press, December 2010

“At the Opening of Coal Miner’s Daughter”, poem, The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. 3, edited by Graves, Ruffin, & Wright, Texas Review Press, December 2010

“Recruiters,” short story, Anthology of Appalachian Writing, Vol. 2, Shepherd University Press

"Appalachian Pride (In the Name Of Love)", speech, Appalachian Heritage, Vol. 38, No. 3, Summer 2010

“The God of Bird’s Nest,” essay, Iron Mountain Review, Vol. 25, Spring 2010, Emory & Henry College

"5 November 2008," poem, Appalachian Heritage, Winter 2009, Vol. 37, No. 1  

Coal Country (co-editor, with Shirley Stewart-Burns and Mari-lyn Evans), nonfiction, Sierra Club Books, November 2009

Eli the Good, novel, Candlewick Books, September 2009

“The God of Bird’s Nests,” essay, We All Live Downstream, Motes Books, 2009

“Leslie County,” song, We All Live Downstream, Motes Books, 2009

Long Time Travelling, play, produced at Lexington Actor’s Guild, Lexington, Kentucky, April 2009

“Appalachia In Her Hands,” essay, Appalachian Heritage, Spring 2009

“God’s Key,” poem, Motif: Writing By Ear, Motes Books, 2009

“Sexton’s Creek,” song, Motif: Writing By Ear, Motes Books, 2009

Something’s Rising, nonfiction, University Press of Kentucky, March 2009

“The Dirt On Coal,” essay, Sierra, January 2009

“5 November 2008,” poem, Appalachian Heritage, Winter 2009

“At the Opening of Coal Miner’s Daughter, Corbin, Kentucky, March 27, 1980,” poem,Appalachian Heritage, Spring 2008

“Don’t Forget This Song,” short story, Smoky Mountain Living, Fall 2008

“Writing Stores,” essay, Kentucky Monthly, November 2008

“Three Fireballs, One Door, Seven Slams,” short story, Mountain Mysteries II:  The Unexplained, Ascended Idea Press, 2008

“On God’s Creek,” essay, The Louisville Review, Fall 2008

“Top Secret: Sierra Hull,” feature, No Depression (The Bookazine), The University of Texas Press, 2008

The Hurting Part:  Evolution of An American Play, multidisciplinary work (play, short story, essay, interview), Motes Books, July 2008

“I’m With the Band: Dan Tyminski,” feature, No Depression, June 2008

“Equinox,” short story, Wind Magazine, Summer 2008

“Morning Trees,” poem, Appalachian Heritage, Summer 2007

“Back In the Fold: Carlene Carter,” feature, No Depression, April 2007

“No Bible-Beating Allowed,” essay, Shouts and Whispers, Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 2007

“Grandpa, Granny, and Hee Haw,” essay, No Depression December 2006

“Dreams So Real: Darrell Scott,” feature, No Depression, August 2006

“My Country Sister,” essay, Appalachian Heritage, Spring 2006

“The Tree The Acorn Fell From:  Wayne Scott,” feature, No Depression, February 2006

The Hurting Part, play, produced at the University of Kentucky, December 2005

“Happy Woman Blues:  Lucinda Williams,” feature, The Best of No Depression, The University of Texas Press, 2005

“A Place of Noble Trees,” essay, Of Woods and Water, University Press of Kentucky, 2005

“It’s About the Music:  Nickel Creek,” No Depression, October 2005

“How Fried Chicken Saved My Family,” essay, Oxford American, Spring 2005

“Saints,” short story, High Horse, Fleur de Lis Press, 2005

“Remembering Larry Brown,” essay, No Depression, February 2005

“Well I Hate to See Your Evening Sun Sinking Down:  Buddy Miller,” feature, No Depression, October 2004

The Coal Tattoo, novel, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, September  2004

“Family Traditions: Dirk Powell,” feature, No Depression, June 2004

“The Cool of the Day,” short story, The Alumni Grill, MacAdam Cage  Publishing, 2004

“1976,” short story, Beloit Fiction Journal, Spring 2004

“A Remembrance of Things Past: Grey DeLisle,” feature, No Depression, April 2004

“A Day With Lee Smith,” feature, Appalachian Heritage, Winter 2003

“The First Day,” short story, All Things Considered, NPR, September 2003

“Total Immersion,” short story, Night Train, Fall 2003

“The Cool of the Day,” short story, Bayou, Fall 2003

“Not Just a Simple Southern Belle:  Claire Holley,” feature, No Depression, August 2003.

“Coal Smoke,” short story, The Louisville Review, Spring 2003

“Let the Good Times Roll: Delbert McClinton,” feature, No Depression, December 2002

“Making Himself Heard,” feature, Appalachian Heritage, Fall 2002

A Parchment of Leaves, novel, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, August 2002

“Nothing to Fear: Kelly Willis,” feature, No Depression, August 2002

“The Third Man: Hank Williams III,” feature, No Depression, February 2002

“The November Snake,” short story, All Things Considered, NPR, January    2002

“Music (The Revelator),” feature, No Depression, December 2001

“Summer Story,” short story, All Things Considered, NPR, August 2001

“Star Wars,” essay, All Things Considered, NPR, May 2001

Clay’s Quiltnovel, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, March 2001

“Canning,” short story, Appalachian Heritage, Fall 2000