Writers residency returns with Kentucky author


Kentucky author Silas House speaks in the Curris Center Ballroom as part of the Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian Writer’s Residency.

Ava Chuppe, Staff Writer

Kentucky author Silas House spoke about his new novel in the Curris Center Ballroom as part of the Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian Writer’s Residency.

House, a former commentator for the NPR segment “All Things Considered,” currently serves on the fiction faculty at Spalding University in Louisville and as the chair for the National Endowment for the Humanities at Berea College.

He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the recipient of three honorary doctorates, and the winner of the Nautilus Award, an EB White Award and several other honors. He has also been invited to read at the Library of Congress.

House is the nationally bestselling author of several novels, including “Clay’s Quilt,” “A Parchment of Leaves,” “The Coal Tattoo,” “Eli the Good,” “Same Sun Here” (co-authored with Neela Vaswani) and “Southernmost.” He has also published three plays and co-authored a creative nonfiction book, “Something’s Rising,” with Jason Howard.

At the event, House read from his novel “Lark Ascending,” which will be published Sept. 27.

The Moore Residency normally takes place each fall and includes a week-long stay for the writer in a cabin overlooking Lake Barkley. Because of the pandemic, the University had not hosted a writer-in-residence since 2019.

The children of Clinton and Mary Opal Moore established the residency to honor their late parents and encourage students to pursue creative writing. Clinton and Mary Opal Moore were born in eastern Kentucky but relocated to Paducah, where the family settled.

Carrie Jerrell, coordinator of the creative writing program, said it was a thrill to have House after trying to bring him to campus in 2020 and 2021.

“Not only is he a wonderful writer, but he’s also a great teacher, and I think students could tell that during his visit with them in the afternoon, as could the audience for his presentation in the evening,” Jerrell said. “Not only did he read from his forthcoming novel, ‘Lark Ascending,’ but he spoke about the process of writing it, which appealed to both the writers and the readers in the audience.”

In addition to House’s afternoon talk, he also gave a lecture to a fiction class.

Jerrell said she is thankful for the residency, which allowed the department to host House.

“We’re so grateful to the Moore siblings for their generous gift,” Jerrell said.

House’s talk can still be viewed for free through the Murray State Live channel on YouTube.

On Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center Ballroom, the University will host Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson as part of its Reading Series.

Wilkinson is the award-winning author of the poetry collection “Perfect Black” and the novels “The Birds of Opulence,” “Water Street” and “Blackberries, Blackberries.” She is the recipient of a 2022 NAACP Image Award for outstanding Poetry, a 2021 O. Henry Prize, a 2020 USA Artists Fellowship and a 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence.

The event will be free and open to the public. A book signing will follow, and books will be available for purchase.

Anyone seeking information about future Reading Series events can follow @murraystatecreativewriting on Instagram or the Murray State Creative Writing Program and Reading Series page on Facebook.