Novelist Eric Shonkwiler has been awarded the New River Gorge Winter Writer’s Residency for 2015. As Writer-in-Residence, Shonkwiler will live at Lafayette Flats, a luxury vacation rental in downtown Fayetteville, from January through March. During the three month residency Shonkwiler will be working on his own writing as well as contributing to the Lafayette Flats blog.
Shonkwiler is the author of Above All Men, a novel that was published earlier this year by Midwestern Gothic. He has been on tour promoting the book for much of the summer and fall. The book, set sometime in the future during a long slow economic collapse of America, tells the story of war veteran David Parrish as he fights to keep his family and farm together amid the decay and strife. Shonkwiler has received much critical praise for his book; one reviewer writes “Shonkwiler lands somewhere between a soberer Hemingway, a more linear Faulkner, a heavy rotation of Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads, a couple’a shots of Bulleit, an infected snakebite, and Cormac McCarthy.”
“We feel honored to have such a fine, young talent as our first Writer-in-Residence,” says Lafayette Flats co-owner Shawn Means, who with wife Amy McLaughlin, came up with the idea of hosting the residency in their vacation rental, a recently renovated 110 year old former bank building in the Fayetteville Historic District. “I know that Eric is going to benefit from the experience, and that his writing will be even better because of the time he will spend in Fayetteville,” Means continued.
Shonkwiler, upon learning of his selection remarked, “I’m excited and thankful to be the first New River Gorge Winter Writer-in-Residence. I’m very much looking forward to exploring the community, the area, and getting a chance to incorporate what I learn into my writing.”
In addition to providing chic, contemporary lodging to New River Gorge travelers, Lafayette Flats seeks to provide guests with an alternative narrative about the culture of West Virginia through the art and design choices for the space: to present a view of the state and its people that doesn’t follow the tired old stereotypes that are so prevalent in literature and art. The Writer’s Residency is another way the owners have chosen to help create this “alternative narrative” about West Virginia. “We hope that Eric’s future writing will be informed by what he experiences here in the Gorge, and that he will help us tell the real story of West Virginia and its people,” says Means.
To contact Eric Shonkwiler firstname.lastname@example.org