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Appalachian Women Writers

Neema Avashia


Neema Avashia was born and raised outside Charleston, WV in the Kanawha Valley where her father worked in the chemical industry.  Her award-winning first book Another Appalachia: Growing up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place was published in 2022 and "examines both the roots and the resonance of Avashia’s identity as a queer, desi, Appalachian woman, while encouraging readers to envision more complex versions of both Appalachia and the nation as a whole."   -

Another Appalachia: Growing up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place PSCC SP Appalachian Collection  F247.K2 A83 2022

Annette Clapsaddle

woman smiling with earrings

Award-winning writer and teacher Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and lives in Qualla, North Carolina. Her first published novel, Even as We Breathe, takes place in the mountains of North Carolina and the famous Grove Park Inn outside Asheville during World War II. A former editor of the Journal of Cherokee Studies and director of the Cherokee Preservation Society, Clapsaddle currently teaches English in Swain County, NC. -

E-book available: Even as We Breathe / Annettee Saunooke Clapsaddle

Wilma Dykeman

Writer, speaker, activist, and teacher Wilma Dykeman was born near Asheville, North Carolina in 1920.  Her accomplishments and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Sidney Hillman Award, the first woman trustee of Berea College, a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the first woman Tennessee State Historian, membership in the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, and membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers.


Search terms: Dykeman, Wilma

Featured books:

The Tall Woman / Wilma Dykeman. PSCC SP Appalachian Collection PS3554.Y5 T32 1962 

The Far Family / Wilma Dykeman.  PSCC SP Appalachian Coll ; PS3554.Y5 F3 1966

Prophet of Plenty: the First Ninety Years of W.D. Weatherford / Wilma Dykeman. PSCC SP Appalachian Coll ; CT275.W348 D9 1966

Return the Innocent Earth / Wilma Dykeman PSCC SP Appalachian Collection PS3554 .Y5 R4 1973

The French Broad / Wilma Dykeman PSCC SP Appalachian Collection F443.8.F8 D9 1992

Mildred Haun


head and shoulders image of a womanAuthor of stories of mountain life, Mildred E. Haun was born in Hamblen County, Tennessee in 1911 but was raised in Haun Hollow in the Hoot Owl District of Cocke County in a large family of strong, independent mountain farmers. The only collection of fiction published by Haun, The Hawk's Done Gone (1940), includes several of the stories she had written while in college at Vanderbilt. This work consists of a group of stories linked by the narrator Mary Dorthula White and members of several families. It combines modern realism with ancient beliefs and superstitions, creating a disturbing, yet intriguing look at mountain life in the period from the Civil War to 1940.                                 -Tennessee Encyclopedia



The Hawk's Done Gone / Mildred Haun  PSCC SP Appalachian Collection PS3515.A865 H3 1968

Nikki Giovanni

Image of woman smilingPoet Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943. Although she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, she and her sister returned to Knoxville each summer to visit their grandparents. Nikki graduated with honors in history from her grandfather's alma mater, Fisk University. Since 1987, she has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor. --

Search terms: Giovanni, Nikki

Featured Books:

Racism 101 / Nikki Giovanni PSCC SP Appalachian Collection PS3557.I55 Z47 1994

On My Journey Now: Looking at African American History through the Spirituals  PSCC SP Appalachian Collection PS3557.I55 O6 2007

A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laugher / Nikki Giovanni  PSCC SP Appalachian Collection PS3557.I55 A6 2017

Crystal Wilkinson

image of woman in glasses with her head turned in profile"Tell the story that's on your heart to tell."

Kentucky's Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson is from Indian Creek, Casey County, Kentucky, and a founding member of the Affrilachian Poet movement. She is a 2020 United States Artists Fellow and teaches at the University of Kentucky.                                                                                                   

Search terms: Wilkinson, Crystal

Featured books: 

The Birds of Opulence / Crystal Wilkinson. PSCC SP Appalachian Collection PS3573.I44184 B57 2016

Perfect Black / Crystal Wilkinson, Ronald W. Davis. PSCC SP Appalachian Collection PS3573.I44184 P47 2021

Watch Pellissippi's 2021 James Agee Online Reading Series event with Crystal Wilkinson: