Kentucky Posts

About Hillbilly Elegy & Those Who Champion Us

Photo by Sue Counts

Photo by Sue Counts

I’ve been reading the book that everyone was talking about six months ago – Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. It has been touted as an insightful book about Appalachia and more specifically about the people who voted Donald Trump into office.

It’s not really either of those things. When Vance says he’s from Appalachia what he means is that his people are from Kentucky, which is unquestionably Appalachia. But he grew up in Ohio, which to people who are Appalachian, not Appalachia. read more

Self-Righteousness on Window Display

Love chapter

Several years ago when I was working on the book Where’s Your Jesus Now?my editor made the remark about one of the stories in that book: So nice of Gays to make their sins so obvious for the rest of us, isn’t it? 

The remark was meant to be sardonic, a way of highlighting the unkind attitude of some Christians. I had written a chapter in the book about how I felt the Church was missing the mark in their approach toward Gays. Needless to say the book didn’t sell well. Major Christian publishers wouldn’t stock it. My husband, bless his heart, insists to this day it’s my best book. read more

Itty Bits of Almost Nothing

Bits Cover. Jpg

Kentucky women aren’t supposed to be barren. It goes against every stereotype, every myth ever propagated. Sylvie Garcia reasoned she had to be some kind of genetic throwback to not be able to get pregnant in Kentucky.

Do you read short stories?

I’ve a whole collection of short stories by Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty and Alice Munro. When Mama was dying I tired of reading her books on how to improve her life, which it seems to me is nearly all that fills the shelves at Christian bookstores, which is where people go to shop for books for people who are dying. read more

Weatherford Award for Fiction: Mother of Rain

In late February, four short weeks ago now, a letter arrived in my inbox.

I was on the phone with a big city New York agent working out details for another literary event, for another author, when I clicked open the email from Jason Howard, editor of the Appalachian Heritage at Berea College in Kentucky.

Dear Karen, Jason’s note began.

I’m excited to let you know that MOTHER OF RAIN has been awarded the 2013 Weatherford Award in Fiction by the Appalachian Studies Association! read more