Folklife Center to host NY Times Best Selling Author

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center will host NY Times Best Selling author Sharyn McCrumb on March 29 at 2 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but it is recommended to call ahead and reserve your seat.

During her visit, McCrumb will read from her latest novel, The Unquiet Grave, which incorporates the well-known West Virginia tale of The Greenbrier Ghost. The only case in America in which the testimony of a ghost convicted the killer.

Fairmont State University President, Dr. Mirta Martin will present McCrumb with the Folklife Center’s Achievement Award: Literary Arts, a special recognition in an area of folklore studies. Previous winners of this award are Mary Lee Settle and Jayne Anne Phillips.

Sharyn McCrumb comes from a family rooted in Appalachian culture and uses her books to share these unique cultural values with others. Of her writing she says, “My books are like Appalachian quilts. 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.”

Her work is popular not only throughout Appalachia but is appreciated on a global scale and has been translated into eleven languages.

She has received many honors and awards for her creative blend of cultural elements. Her ballad novels incorporate Appalachian oral lore into stories such as The Ballad of Frankie Silver and The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, and she puts an Appalachian spin on The Canterbury Tales in her St. Dale series. Ghost Riders, an account of the Civil War in the mountains of western North Carolina, won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature given by the East Tennessee Historical Society and the national Audie Award for Best Recorded Novel. Her books have been named New York Times and Los Angeles Times Notable Books.

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is housed in a historic barn on the Fairmont State University campus and there is free parking available directly across from the center. Guests are invited to stay for a reception immediately following. Reservations are not necessary but are encouraged to ensure a seat at this event.

The Folklife Center is dedicated to the identification, preservation, and perpetuation of our region’s rich cultural heritage, through academic studies, educational programs, festivals, performances, exhibits, and publications. For questions, please contact Dr. Francene Kirk or Ms. Tiffany Martin at 304-367-4403 or

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