In Appalachia, Black History, Fayette County, Multimedia, Photography, Print, West Virginia History, Women's History on December 15, 2016 at 5:44 pm
Above the Hawk’s Nest Dam on the New River. Photo by Lisa Elmaleh.
My longform nonfiction piece about the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel Disaster, “The Book of the Dead: In Fayette County, WV, Expanding the Document of Disaster,” is now available online at The Oxford American‘s website. It was originally published in the magazine’s fall issue and recently won a Commendation from the Stack Awards.
My online archive of Hawk’s Nest Tunnel workers, hawksnestnames.org, is a companion project that houses primary source documents and victims’ names.
Finally, check out this “Photographer’s Day Book” feature from The Oxford American, in which Lisa Elmaleh tracks her pursuit of Hawk’s Nest images for the magazine. I’m so thankful to Lisa for making these photos.
In Announcements, Print on November 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm
Proud to announce that this fall I was awarded two fully-funded writing fellowships for 2017: the MacDowell Colony Fellowship and the Vermont Studio Center‘s Mountain State Fellowship.
In the spring, I’m heading for the woods of New Hampshire for a six-week residency at MacDowell. When I burst in to my roommate’s bedroom to tell her about the award the other day, she gave me a big hug and asked me, “What does it mean?” I blurted out–“I get to live in the woods! I don’t have to talk to anybody! And they drop off a picnic basket of lunch at your studio every day–you don’t even have to talk to the person who brings it!” As a hermit, a writer, and a lover of snacks, this is basically The Dream.
So admittedly, there is a little more to it than that. Such as: I’ll be using my time at both of these places to finish my first book of nonfiction, Transmontane (under contract with Swallow Press), and work on a book proposal for my as-yet-untitled second book of nonfiction. I’ll also have the chance to get to know the other writers and artists in residency, since–alas–you have to come out of your studio for group dinner.
So grateful for these two institutions. What a buoy. What a gift.
In Appalachia, Black History, Fayette County, Print, West Virginia History, Women's History on October 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm
The Stack Awards recognize the best work in independent magazines from all over the world. I recently learned that I was short-listed for a Stack Award in Nonfiction for my longform essay, “The Book of the Dead,” published in the Fall 2016 issue of Oxford American.
The piece explores the history of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel Disaster and how it was documented in poetry by the writer Muriel Rukeyser. It also offers new revelations about the workers who lost their lives in the process of building the tunnel, three quarters of whom were black migratory laborers.
West Virginia-based photographer Lisa Elmaleh was commissioned to provide art for the story. Though the piece is not yet available online, a new website I built archives some of this history: The Book of the Dead: An Archive of Hawk’s Nest Tunnel Workers.
UPDATE: “The Book of the Dead” was one of two “Commended” finalists. Congrats to The Outpost, which took home the win! Listen to Stack founder Steven Watson talk about the winning and commended pieces in the video below…