About

Photo by Braiden Maddox

Catherine Venable Moore is an award-winning nonfiction writer and public historian. After studying Literature at Harvard University, she earned an MFA in Poetry from the University of Montana. Her work, for which she received a 2021 Public Scholar grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, has appeared in Best American Essays, Oxford American, VICE, and elsewhere.

Catherine is currently writing Disunion: West Virginia Coal Miners and America’s Other Civil War for Random House. This work of literary nonfiction is a history of the West Virginia Mine Wars, one of the most dramatic struggles for civil rights that this country has known, and also one of the nation’s most obscure.

Winner of a 2021 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant, Disunion is, said the jury, “A gorgeously written, meticulously researched account of a critical episode of U.S. labor history.”

Catherine lives in Ansted, West Virginia, with her loyal animal companions, Pickle and Dreama, and serves on the board of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum.


10 thoughts on “About

  1. Thomas Cooper says:

    Just wanted to say that your introduction in the Book of Dead was incredible. (My dog is named Vanetta and my cat Gamoca fyi.)I always looked at those places as my personal charge. To keep them alive because they deserve to not be forgotten. I talked about them every year in my history class and when I was younger I spent every college break walking those tracks and looking for more clues. I have little artifacts like scrip from vanettas first history as a mining town in the 1920 before it housed migrant black workers. I even called the Fayette county board of Ed because they still own the land where the school house was. But I never had the resources or time to dig deep enough. I experienced what I always wanted to do vicariously through your work, while learning this community is much bigger than just myself. Your comments on race are so on the mark and your caretaking of this history is greatly appreciated.

  2. Debra Kaufman says:

    Dear Ms. Venable Moore,
    I just received my copy of The Book of the Dead and read your introduction. I couldn’t put it down. The stories are so terrible and sad, and your documenting of them beautifully told. I so appreciate your sharing these stories with readers of Muriel Rukeyser, WV families, and others. Truly these are haunting. Thank you for helping to reclaim this history from the liars and abettors so that we can learn from the horrors and move forward with knowledge and empathy.

  3. Rex Holland says:

    My Mom’s family were from Packsville, W Va in Raleigh Co. They were the George McClellen and Mary Jane (Farley) Jarrell’s. They had about 10 children, including my grandmother Donna Kathleen.

    I loved going to Charleston and Grannie Jarrell’s as a boy, and a recent reading of ‘Addie’ by Mary Lee Settle took me there again. I will try to follow you at the public library and on-line.
    By the way, my grand-daughter is coincidentally nicknamed Addie. Best Regards, Rex Holland, Albuquerque

  4. Stephanie says:

    This is a great website! Keep up the good work! Also there’s a low power radio station on Beauty Mountain in Edmond WV. Is that the one you dream about sometimes?

  5. Deanna White-Hebert says:

    Dear Catherine, I am so excited and grateful for the work you are doing! We just had a memorial service for my mother, Mabel Jarrell,at Virginia’s Chapel on May 16, 2013. Her whole family is from Cedar Grove. She died at 90 1/2, her older sister Mary Ellen Taylor knew Mary Settle and sent us a copy of “Addie” a few years back before she died. We just loved the book, it is my mother’s story and history. We visited the Thompkins Mansion while in WV and found out about you. I live in Pembroke, MA and feel much as you do about WV. I thank you for all you are doing and hope to follow your work closely.
    Fondly,
    Deanna
    P.S. My cousin Rev. David White was the pastor of the Oak Hill Baptist Church for about 25 years. He just retired in 2007.

    • admin says:

      Deanna, I really appreciate your note! Great to hear from a kindred WV spirit. I’m so glad you found my website, and the project. I bet your mother had a Cedar Grove story or two. If it’s ok, I’ll add you to the email update list so you can keep up with progress…

      • Patty J. Coopet says:

        Please add me to your email. Also there is a Cedar Grove Community Trailblazers Facebook page where a lot of CG history & pictures are shared.

  6. admin says:

    Thanks, Henry! I’ll look forward to your call. I graduated high school in 2000.

  7. Henry Battle says:

    I couldn’t help but say something after reading your nicely written and interesting — OK, intriguing — “About” section and not having any responses! I just got your e-mail message about a Mary Lee Settle project and want to talk to you about it. I’ll phone.
    Henry Battle 5:00 pm 8/24/2012
    PS For what class year did you interview for Brown? That will help my recollection.

Leave a Reply to Stephanie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.