We are pleased to announce that Dr. Wendy Welch has been chosen as the 2018 New River Gorge Writer-in-Residence! Wendy lives in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and is the author of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, a memoir published in 2012 by St. Martin’s Press. She has a forthcoming book about foster care and adoption in the Coalfields of Appalachia entitled “Fall or Fly.” She has also published a book of academic essays on the subject of Public Health in Appalachia.
Dr. Welch is employed as the Executive Director of the Graduate Medical Education Consortium of Southwest Virginia and will be taking a three-month leave of absence to serve as Writer-in-Residence. She will arrive in Fayetteville on or around New Year’s Day and will be with us through the end of March.
Welch plans to use her time in Fayetteville to work on a forthcoming sequel to “Little Bookstore”, focusing on issues important to Coalfields Appalachia. “It is certainly a positive Appalachian Narrative, with West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee at its core,” she wrote. “It is writing that has created the happiest, most balanced and examined moments of my life, and I am so looking forward to having the time and space to do what brings me such joy and stability.”
This year’s residency marks the fourth consecutive year that Lafayette Flats has hosted a writer for the winter. The previous writers were Eric Shonkwiler (2015), Mary Ann Henry (2016) and Kathleen M. Jacobs (2017). We are thrilled to have yet another talented writer to continue the tradition of excellence for this residency.