This year, the popular Over the Mountain Studio Tour (OTMST)—the oldest studio tour in West Virginia—will host its 30th Anniversary Tour, landing on Saturday and Sunday, November 9 + 10, from 10am-5pm. The rare occasion allows the public to meet artists throughout Jefferson County, observe their studio spaces, and learn about their processes.
Arts & Entertainment
As I read Timothy J. Hillegonds’ harrowing memoir of addiction and youthful rage, The Distance Between (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), I was reminded of a sentence written by one of my favorite fiction authors, Richard Lange: “We can only, all of us, run so far before what we really are and what is meant to be catch up to us.”
The idea of going “back to the land” tends to evoke picturesque images of a nurturing earth and a supposed return to an uncorrupted, self-sufficient lifestyle. These beliefs are swiftly shattered for the characters of Madeline ffitch’s outstanding first novel, Stay and Fight (Farrar, Starus and Giroux, 2019). Narrated through the alternating points of view of its four protagonists, the novel introduces us to Helen, who at 31, is tired of “waiting for my life the whole time.” She decides to leave Seattle with her boyfriend Shane and, thanks to an inheritance from Helen’s deceased uncle, they buy 20 acres of land in Appalachian Ohio.
The opioid epidemic has been described as “one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine.” But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the U.S. into consuming more than 80 percent of the world’s opioid painkillers.
Tony Martirano is about as native as it gets. Born and raised in Martinsburg (WV), he attended many of the schools and visited the local libraries where he now performs for kids and families as the region’s preeminent children’s musician.
Over the last decade, Sheldon Lee Compton has published numerous short stories ranging from magical realism to gritty, working-class fiction—and everything in between. What connects most of them is their poetic prose and their rootedness in Appalachia—and more specifically, Eastern Kentucky, where the author hails from—even when they don’t explicitly allude to a setting.
Entering its 28th year, Shepherdstown’s renowned Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) runs from July 5-28 and comprises six new plays by American playwrights—spotlighting contemporary issues that both challenge and entertain audiences.
Attendees for the world premiere of My Lord, What a Night, by Deborah Brevoort, at the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) this month will be able to boast that they are as close as they can come to seeing the dwellings and dressings of a true genius—Albert Einstein. In preparation for this production, set designer David Barber and costume designer Therese Bruck joined director Ed Herendeen on a journey to discover the authentic characteristics of the world-famous scholar in his Princeton, New Jersey, home.
On Friday and Saturday, September 6-7, Shepherd University will host the first-of-its-kind “From Manuscript to Marketplace” writers conference, designed to deliver success strategies and insider advice for writers at absolutely any stage.
In spite of West Virginia’s rich folklore and modern myths like the Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster, the state’s literature—or even that of Appalachia as a whole—is not typically associated with horror and the supernatural. Nevertheless, West Virginian writers have created several fine exponents of literary fantasy, ranging from Pinckney Benedict’s outstanding magical realist short stories to Ron Houchin’s young adult horror novel The Devil’s Trill, and Victor Depta’s vampire gothic House of the Moon.
When creating the perfect dinner setting for a special meal, plate selection is at the forefront of every host’s list. Luckily, there is a local artist based in Harpers Ferry who creates unique dining-plate masterpieces that you really need to see in person.
When Joseph Goss and his wife, Lynne, purchased an old farmhouse outside of Shepherdstown, the retired engineer never dreamed the acquisition would lead to many countless, happy hours of research and, eventually, a book.
Fantasy writer Harlan Ellison once said that “a continent is no thicker than a membrane when one carries the misery inside.” He was talking about the tormented life of another author, Herbert Kastle, who had moved from New York to Los Angeles in an attempt to restart his life after a failed marriage, running from ghosts that he couldn’t escape from since they were a part of himself.
In the Amber Chamber (Brighthorse Books, 2018) is an eclectic short story collection by Carrie Messenger, Associate Professor of English at Shepherd University, that manages the rare feat of being consistent in quality while navigating through widely diverse genres and styles. Its stories range from speculative fiction to whimsical fables drawing from an idiosyncratic mix of fantasy and Eastern European lore all the way to historical fiction. Messenger’s skilled weaving of myth and fact brings to mind the stories of Argentinean fantasist Jorge Luis Borges and the genre-bending fiction of Kelly Link.
Dr. Hope Maxwell Snyder, poet laureate of Shepherdstown, has returned to Shepherd University as the school’s first poet-in-residence.