A quartet of nationally recognized West Virginia authors will discuss their decision to use West Virginia as a setting for their works in a FestivALL Charleston event that starts 3 p.m. Sunday at Bluegrass Kitchen, 1600 Washington St E.
West Virginia authors Scott McClanahan (“Crappalachia”), Glenn Taylor (“The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart”), Marie Manilla (“Shrapnel” and “The Patron Saint of Ugly”), and Daniel Boyd (“Carbon”) will gather for a round table discussion facilitated by West Virginia public radio digital editor Dave Mistich from 3 to 4:40 p.m. about writing set in the Mountain State.
The authors will discuss the decision to use their home state in their stories; how it helps or hinders the development of their plots and characters; and the use of West Virginia as the setting in popular fiction from non-native writers.
The discussion will be followed by a happy hour meet-and-greet with the writers (4:30-5:30 p.m.) and a reading from Scott McClanahan (5:30 p.m.).
The Bluegrass Kitchen will be closed for regular dining during this event, but will serve a limited menu and the bar will be open.
“We’re really excited to pull together these authors that are nationally recognized and also have a variety of types of authors,” said the event’s producer, Emma Fisher, referring to Boyd’s graphic novel “Carbon.”
“We’re going to have a variety of perspectives, so it will be real interesting.”
Larry Groce, the director of FestivALL, helped pull together the event as part of an effort to include more of the humanities in FestivALL’s offerings.
“I just want try to start doing some more things during FestivALL that are more in the realm of writing and learning and education.
“Basically, I’m just curious to hear their thoughts on using this state and its various cultures as their setting,” said Groce. “I’m looking forward to it and hearing what the people have to say — I think they’re all good writers each in their own way. I’ve read them all. Each is very different. I’m curious to see how it will work.”
“Crappalachia” features a sequence of stories that Interview magazine described this way: “Part memoir, part hillbilly history, part dream, McClanahan embraces humanity with all its grit, writing tenderly of criminals and outcasts, family and the blood ties that bind us.”
Taylor’s “The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart” earned high praise from Chuck Kinder, author of “Snakehunter” and “Last Mountain Dancer,” who said, “I was hooked immediately by the narrative voice, which I would describe as utterly kick-ass, take-no-prisoners in tone. The combination of hyperbole and hilarity throughout is what I would call High Hillbilly in the purest form.”
Manila’s book “Shrapnel” was described by author Gail Galloway Adams (“The Purchase of Order”) as a novel “about a man forced by age and circumstance to leave one life late in his life and his attempts to try and live in harmony in a new world. Manilla gives us rich characters who populate the physical landscapes of Bing Butler: Texas and West Virginia. His worlds, both past and present, are infused with memories, and the author is masterful in her exploration of his inner landscapes of grief, guilt, and love.”
Boyd’s graphic novel “Carbon” was described in an introduction by filmmaker John Sayles this way: “Carbon combines three distinct genres — Lovecraftian gorefest, religious picture book and political allegory — to tell the story of our slow and conscious self-poisoning.”