Monday, January 30, 2006

a biography of Sharyn McCrumb


about Virginia author Sharyn McCrumb

Sharyn McCrumb’s award-wining novels celebrating the history and folklore of Appalachia have received scholarly acclaim and ranked on the New York Times Best-Seller lists.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with an MA in English from Virginia Tech, Sharyn McCrumb has lectured on her work at Oxford University, the University of Bonn-Germany, and at the Smithsonian Institution; taught a writers workshop in Paris, and served as writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee.

Honored for Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature by the Appalachian Writer’s Association in 1997, Sharyn McCrumb’s many awards include: the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Award; Appalachian Writer of the Year Award in 1999 from Shepherd College; the Flora McDonald Award; Morehead State University’s Chaffin Award; the Plattner Award from Berea College; and the 2003 Wilma Dykeman Award for Regional Historical Literature by the East Tennessee Historical Society.

“My books are like Appalachian quilts,” says Sharyn McCrumb. “I take brightly colored scraps of legends, ballads, fragments of rural life, and local tragedy, and I piece them together into a complex whole that tells not only a story, but also a deeper truth about the culture of the mountain South.”

Sharyn McCrumb’s novels, studied in universities throughout the world, are translated into German, Dutch, Japanese, French Greek, Czech, Russian, Danish, Swedish, Spanish, and Italian, as well as being U.S. national best sellers, book club selections, and audio books. She lives and writes at Blackacre, near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

St. Dale, the new novel by award-winning Southern writer Sharyn McCrumb, is the story of a group of ordinary people who go on a pilgrimage in honor of racing legend Dale Earnhardt, and find a miracle. This Canterbury Tales in a NASCAR setting was published by Kensington Books of New York in February 2005. Her earlier books include: If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, Ghost Riders, and the New York Times Best Sellers, She Walks These Hills, The Rosewood Casket, and The Ballad of Frankie Silver.

The Songcatcher, (Dutton, 2001), uses a ballad as the narrative thread to trace Sharyn McCrumb’s family from the kidnapping of 9 yr. old Malcolm MacQuarrie in 18th century Scotland to his descendents in present day Appalachia, where Sharyn McCrumb’s great-grandfathers were circuit preachers in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains, riding horseback over the ridges to preach in a different community each week. It is from them, she says, that she gets her regard for books, her gift of storytelling and public speaking, and her love of the Appalachian Mountains.

“In an earlier life, McCrumb must have been a balladeer, singing of restless spirits, star-crossed lovers, and the consoling beauty of nature. … The overall effect is spellbinding.”

-The Washington Post




New York Times Best Seller List – She Walks These Hills- 1995
New York Times Best Seller List- The Rosewood Casket – 1997
New York Times Best Seller List – The Ballad of Frankie Silver – 1998
Writer in Residence: WICE Writers Workshop, Paris, 2001;
King College TN, 2000; Shepherd College WV 1999;
Otterbein College OH, 1998.
Wilma Dykeman Award for Regional Historical
Literature,East Tennessee Historical Society – 2003
Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian
Literature Award – AWA 1997
The Chaffin Award for Achievement in Southern Literature –
The Plattner Award for Best Appalachian Short Story – 1998
Appalachian Writer of the Year 1999 – Shepherd College, WV
Virginia Book of the Year nomination- The Ballad of Frankie
Silver – 1999, The Songcatcher – 2002, Ghost Riders – 2004
Flora MacDonald Award: Achievement in the Arts by a
woman of Scots Heritage – 1999
Kentucky Colonel of the state of Kentucky – 1999
Los Angeles Times Notable Book – She Walks These Hills –1994;
The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – 1992
New York Times Notable Book – If Ever I Return, PrettyPeggy-O
1990; The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – 1992; The Ballad
of Frankie Silver – 1998; The Songcatcher – 2001
Best Appalachian Novel Award – The Hangman’s Beautiful
Daughter – 1992


NYT on Sharyn McCrumb

“McCrumb writes with a quiet fire
and maybe a little mountain magic …
Like every good storyteller, she has the Sight.”

- The New York Times


editor's note: Sharyn McCrumb will be reading her work in Floyd, Virginia later this year. please stay tuned to the loop for details, or contact the Jessie Peterman Memorial Library in Floyd. ---...- -thank you for reading the loop. -- january 30 2006 ---...---


page tags: Floyd, McCrumb, author, Virginia, Appalachia