Have you read any good books lately? If not, that’s about to change, because we’ve pulled together a list of award-winning authors, all with ties to West Virginia, for your consideration. Are you familiar with all of these West Virginian authors?
1. Homer Hickam
If you've already read his best-selling boyhood memoir "Rocket Boys," try one of his other books (he's written around a dozen!) like "The Coalwood Way," the Josh Thurlow series, or "Back To The Moon."
2. Cynthia Rylant
This beloved, award-winning children's author was born in Hopewell and raised in Cool Ridge and Beaver, West Virginia. Rylant's West Virginia childhood is often considered the major influence in her writing. A few of her most notable works include "Missing May" (Newbery Medal recipient), "A Fine White Dust" (Newbery Honor recipient), "When I Was Young in the Mountains" and "The Relatives Came" (Caldecott Honor recipients), and "Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds" (a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book).
3. Pearl S. Buck
Pearl S. Buck grew up overseas, but she was born in West Virginia. In fact, you can still visit her birthplace in Hillsboro. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Good Earth" was the top-selling fiction work in the U.S. from 1931 to 1932, and she was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
4. Booker T. Washington
Born a slave in Virginia in the decade before the Civil War, Booker T. Washington moved with his family to Malden, West Virginia shortly after their emancipation. He spent several years of his childhood in Malden before returning to Virginia for a college education. As an adult, he was an influential educator, author, and leader. His auto-biography "Up From Slavery" is widely considered one of the best books of the 20th century.
5. Jean Lee Latham
Children's writer Jean Latham was born in Buckhannon, West Virginia and attended college there at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She is known for her biographies, the most famous of which is Newbery Award winner "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch" about a brilliant sailor and mathematician who transformed sea navigational practices.
6. Denise Giardina
Born in Bluefield and raised in McDowell and Kanawha Counties, Denise Giardina wrote the Award-winning "Storming Heaven," a fictionalized account of coal labor strife in southern West Virginia.
7. Heather Day Gilbert
Born and raised in West Virginia, Gilbert writes mystery and suspense novels set in the rural West Virginia mountains. Her book "Trial By Twelve," a part of her Murder In The Mountains series, won the Grace Award.
Which of these authors have you already read? Do you have any other West Virginia writers to add to the list? And while we’re on the topic of summer reading, how about summer movie nights?
Here are a few must-see movies with a West Virginia connection.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.