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Image of building on hill with text reading Don't Cry for Us, J.D. Vance: A Virtual Reading by Ohio Appalachian Authors
On 12/3/20, Downbound joined The Urban Appalachian Community Coalition and West Virginia University Press in presenting “Don’t Cry for Us, J.D. Vance: A Virtual Reading by Ohio Appalachian Authors.” The event description and video are below, along with reader bios, their books, and some additional reading.

The Appalachia depicted in J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is not one we recognize, and the societal issues Vance pins on the failings of individuals and families are neither their creation nor theirs alone to solve. With Ron Howard’s film adaptation of the bestselling book poised to bring this damaging portrayal of a region and its people to an even wider audience, we invite you to join us instead for a reading from some of Ohio’s most respected Appalachian authors and advocates. Short readings will be followed by a conversation about the strengths and challenges of Appalachian communities, both urban and rural.

Featured Readers:

Omope Carter Daboiku’s writing focuses on the intersectionality of place, identity, and belonging and the experience of growing up a “mixed-race colored child” on the Appalachian landscape.
Kari Gunter-Seymour, author of A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen is Poet Laureate of Ohio and the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year.
Richard Hague’s 20 volumes of poetry and prose include Studied Days: Poems Early and Late in Appalachia. Awards include Appalachian Writers Association Poetry Book of the Year and the Weatherford Award.

Pauletta Hansel was Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate. Her poetry collections include Coal Town Photograph and Palindrome, 2017 Weatherford Award winner for Appalachian Poetry.
Michael Henson is author of four books of fiction and four poetry collections, most recently Maggie Boylan, a 2018 Great Group Reads Selection.
Michael Maloney is an Appalachian activist and a scholar whose long career has included founding the Cincinnati Urban Appalachian Council and its successor, the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition.
Dale Marie Prenatt is a poet and storyteller with work in the anthology Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy.
Bonnie Proudfoot has published both fiction and poetry, and lives in Athens, Ohio. Her first novel, Goshen Road, is a 2020 Great Group Reads selection.

Sherry Cook Stanforth is director of Thomas More University’s Creative Writing Vision Program, editor of Riparian, and author of Drone String.

You can read the Introduction to Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (published by event co-sponsor West Virginia University Press) online here.

Photo credit: Greg Clary, co-author of Piercing the Veil: Appalachian Visions, with Byron Hoot (2020)
Books By/Featuring Readers
Additional Reading