West Virginia Department of Commerce Homecomings: WV Authors

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Homecomings: WV Authors



Books by WV authors on display at Empire BooksWest Virginia writers talk about reunions, coming home and what inspires them.

Homer Hickam
Retired NASA engineer Homer Hickam’s memoir, “Rocket Boys,” about life in the little town of Coalwood, became an instant classic and was the basis for the critically-acclaimed film, “October Sky.” He lives in Alabama, but returns often to visit his home state. Read more

Stephen Coonts
Former Navy pilot Stephen Coonts is the author of 15 New York Times bestsellers, the first of which was the adventure novel, “Flight of the Intruder,” which also was made into a movie. The Buckhannon native now lives in Colorado but maintains a second home in Pocahontas County. Read more

Linda Rago
Linda Rago has written several acclaimed books on herbal gardens and herbal remedies. Her first work of fiction, “Dropped by the Crow: A Delilah Tea Mystery,” is drawn upon her experiences living in a sleepy West Virginia town. She resides in Harpers Ferry. Read more

Irene McKinney
West Virginia’s poet laureate Irene McKinney has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. As subject matter for her award-winning poetry, she often draws upon her upbringing on the family farm. She resides in Barbour County. Read more

John Billheimer
Huntington native John Billheimer is an instructor at Stanford University and an expert on transportation safety. His first novel, “The Contrary Blues,” marked the debut of transportation investigator Owen Allison, who is sent to a small town in West Virginia to probe allegations of corruption and the mysterious death of his predecessor. Read more

Cynthia Rylant
Newbery Medal winner Cynthia Rylant has written more than 60 books for children and young adults. A Washington resident who grew up in Raleigh County, Rylant often taps into her Appalachian childhood for inspiration, as in her autobiographical first book, “When I Was Young in the Mountains.” Read more

Marc Harshman
Marc Harshman is a poet, storyteller and children’s writer. He was named the recipient of the West Virginia Arts Commission Fellowship in Poetry for 2000 and the Fellowship in Children’s Literature for 2008. He resides in Wheeling. Read more

Anna Egan Smucker
Anna Egan Smucker is a writer of children’s stories, poetry and historical fiction. She drew upon her childhood growing up in the steel mill town of Weirton as inspiration for her first book for children, “No Star Nights.” The book was the recipient of the International Book Award. She resides in Bridgeport. Read more