Literary Awards

Appalachian North: A Memoir 
by Matthew Ferrence

Matthew Ferrence (left) accepts the 2019 Writers Conference of Northern Appalachia Book of the Year Award for Appalachia Norther: A Memoir. The contest was sponsored by Sunbury Press and was presented by Sunbury Press’ Founder and CEO, Lawrence Knorr (right).

Appalachia North: A Memoir 
by Matthew Ferrence

Summary from WVU Press
Appalachia North is the first book-length treatment of the cultural position of northern Appalachia—roughly the portion of the official Appalachian Regional Commission zone that lies above the Mason-Dixon line. For Matthew Ferrence this region fits into a tight space of not-quite: not quite “regular” America and yet not quite Appalachia.

Ferrence’s sense of geographic ambiguity is compounded when he .learns that his birthplace in western Pennsylvania is technically not a mountain but, instead, a dissected plateau shaped by the slow, deep cuts of erosion. That discovery is followed by the diagnosis of a brain tumor, setting Ferrence on a journey that is part memoir, part exploration of geology and place. Appalachia North is an investigation of how the labels of Appalachia have been drawn and written, and also a reckoning with how a body always in recovery can, like a region viewed always as a site of extraction, find new territories of growth.