Authors with West Virginia Connections
Gail Galloway Adams
Connection: Long-time resident of Morgantown
Work: Short fiction collection titled “The Purchase of Order”
Althea Todd Alderson
Connection: Born in Malden
Work: “The Far Call” and her best known poem is “The Spirit of Saint Louis”
Charles Henry Ambler
Connection: A professor of history at WVU
Work: “West Virginia Stories and Biographies”
Connection: Educator from Charleston and the State Supervisor of Language Arts for the West Virginia Department of Education in the 1970s.
Work: Co-editor of the “Handbook of Appalachian Material” with Perry Phillips and William Plumley, and wrote instructional columns, scripts and articles for teachers and parents.
Connection: Born in New York City, returned to West Virginia as a teenager and graduated from West Virginia University.
Work: Edited “Hill Daughter” for then poet laureate Louise McNeill and has four books of poetry. “A Space Filled with Moving” is her most recent.
Work: “Time after Time” and “From Father to Son: Wisdom for the Next Generation”
Work: Short story collection: “Town Smokes,” and “Dogs of God”
Work: “Where Morning Dawns”
Maurice Graham Brooks
Connection: French Creek. Graduate from West Virginia University and held honorary Doctor of Science degrees from five Appalachian universities.
Work: Wrote ecological articles for “The New York Times,” “The Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science” and “Wild Wonderful West Virginia.” His most highly regarded text is “The Appalachians.”
Connection: St. Albans
Work: “Belva Lockwood Wins Her Case”
Pearl S. Buck
Work: “The Good Earth,” “The Exile” and “Fighting Angel”
Connection: Ten year resident of Morgantown.
Work: “Summer of the Swan,” and its video was filmed at her Morgantown home. “Goodbye, Chicken Little,” “After the Goat Man” and “The Midnight Fox” are set in West Virginia.
Connection: Cass. Earned a Ph.D. in Botany from West Virginia University and was Assistant Professor of Biology there when this book was published.
Work: “Tumult on the Mountain: Lumbering in West Virginia 1770-1920”
Lenore McComas Coberly
Work: Senior Editor of “Heartland Journal” and wrote “Writers Have No Age: Creative Writing with Older Adults” and a book of poetry “Belonging”
Work: “The Civil War in West Virginia”
Work: His newspaper “West Virginia Hillbilly,” and the “West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia”
Connection: Raised in Buckhannon, graduated from West Virginia University
Work: “Flight of the Intruder,” which became a major motion picture, and “The Cannibal Queen” is about his flight across America in a vintage biplane.
Connection: Moundsville and Clarksburg
Work: His books “Night of the Hunter” and “Fools' Parade” were adapted into movies.
Connection: Black Wolf
Work: She received major Appalachian awards for “The Unquiet Earth” and “Storming Heaven,” which depict life in the coal fields. She also wrote “Good King Harry” and “Saints and Villains.”
Roy Lee Harmon
Connection: Boone County. He served as an editor in Beckley in the 1950’s, was a TV host in Oak Hill, a long-term member of the state’s legislature and poet laureate for four governors.
Work: “Roses in December”
Vera Andrew Harvey
Connection: Huntington. She was West Virginia’s first woman poet laureate and taught in the English Department at Marshall University from 1916 to 1922.
Work: “Touching the Stars,” which is poetry. Her play “Tourists---Rooms and Bath” won the “West Virginia Review” prize.
Cheryl Ryan Harshman
Connection: Born in Ohio, lives in Moundsville, and is a West Virginia storyteller and librarian
Work: “Sally Arnold,” which is a children's book.
Connection: Born in Indiana, lives in Moundsville, and is a storyteller, poet, elementary scool teacher and a writer of children's literature.
Work: “Uncle James” and “Rocks in My Pockets” were co-authored with Bonnie Collins.
Homer H. Hickam
Work: “Rocket Boys: A Memoir,” which inspired the movie “October Sky”
Christopher G. Janus
Work: His book for young adults, “Miss 4th of July, Goodbye,” is based on his family's experiences in Montgomery during the Great Depression. It was also adapted into a Disney movie.
Jean Lee Latham
Work: She received the state's first Newbery Medal for her historical fiction book “Carry On, Mr. Bowditch” and was a playwright and scriptwriter for major television shows.
Connection: Lived in Keyser for ten years and graduated from Keyser High School
Work: Her best-selling book “Christy” is about her mother.
Connection: Born in Kenova
Work: “Crum” is a coming-of-age story set on the Kentucky/West Virginia border. He also does freelance work for “Readers' Digest.”
Connection: Born near Marlinton, lived and taught in several West Virginia counties, served as one of the state’s poet laureates and was named West Virginian of the Year in 1985.
Work: Her best known works of poetry are “Gauley Mountain” and “Elderberry Flood.” Her memoir “The Milkweed Ladies” is about her family’s nine generation connection to the state.
Walter Dean Myers
Connected: Martinsburg. He now lives in New Jersey but returns to West Virginia to visit family and to get inspiration for his books from a plantation near Martinsburg that his ancestors were connected to as slaves.
Work: “Now Is Your Time! The African American Struggle for Freedom” and “At Her Majesty's Request: An African American Princess in Victorian England”
Jayne Anne Phillips
Connection: Buckhannon. She graduated from West Virginia University.
Work: “Black Tickets” and “Fast Lanes” are two collections of short stories. Her first novel was “Machine Dreams.”
Connection: Clarksburg and Fairmont
Work: “An Edge of the Forest” is a youth novel and she also wrote a how-to book for writers and another novel.
Anna Egan Smucker
Connection: Weirton and Bridgeport
Work: Her first book, “No Star Nights,” won the 1990 International Reading Association's Children's Book Award in the younger reader category. She also wrote a second picture book, “Outside the Window.”
Beverly Van Hook
Work: She writes the children’s mystery series “Supergranny” and the “Liza and Dutch Randolph” series for adults.
Connection: West Union and Clarksburg
Work: “The Eden Tree” and “The Innocents” are two books he’s written. He writes scripts for television and movies and started a film production company. Two of his movies, “No Drums, No Bugles” and “Where the Line Goes Through,” had scenes filmed in West Virginia.
Booker T. Washington
Connection: He was born a slave in Virginia and when he was eight years old he moved to Malden, West Virginia with his family.
Work: He has written three books, one of which is his autobiography “Up From Slavery.”
Meredith Sue Willis
Connection: Shinnston. She lives in New Jersey now but returns to West Virginia on a regular basis. She is Fairmont State College's “Artist-in-Residence” for 1999.
Work: Her children's books include “The Super Secret Powers of Marco” and “Marco's Monster.”
Connection: St. Albans
Work: She illustrates her own line of Hallmark Greeting Cards, wrote and illustrated “Mother Grumpy's Dog Biscuits,” and illustrated “The Old Woman in a Shoe,” “Playtime,” and “Mad Ann Bailey.”
Connection: During part of the Great Depression his maternal relatives lived in Clarksburg.
Work: He wrote “The Star Fisher” based off stories his relatives told about life in West Virginia. His youth novel “Child of the Owl” is dedicated to a West Virginia resident who befriended them, and his youth novel, “Dream Soul,” is set in Clarksburg.
Source: MountainLit - Phyllis Wilson Moore, March 1999