Ron Rash's picture

Ron Rash

USA flag (b.1953)

Ron Rash is an American poet, short story writer and novelist, is the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University.Rash was born in Chester, South Carolina, in 1953, grew up in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University and Clemson University. In 1994 he published his first book, a collection of short stories titled The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth. Since then, Rash has published three collections of poetry, three short story collections, and four novels, all to wide critical acclaim and several awards and honors. Rash's poems and stories have appeared in more than 100 magazines and journals over the years. With each new book, Rash has confirmed his position as a central and significant Appalachian writer alongside well-established names like Fred Chappell, Lee Smith, and Robert Morgan. Serena, Rash's latest novel, has received favorable reviews nationwide and was a 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist.

Genres: Literary Fiction
   The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth (1994)
   Eureka Mill (poems) (1998)
   Among the Believers (poems) (2000)
   Casualties (2000)
   Raising the Dead (poems) (2002)
   Chemistry and Other Stories (2007)
   Burning Bright (2010)
   Waking (poems) (2011)
   My Father Like a River (2013)
   Nothing Gold Can Stay (2013)
   The Ron Rash Reader (2014)
   Something Rich and Strange (2014)
   Poems: New and Selected (poems) (2016)
   Southword 36 (2019) (with Kim Addonizio, Patrick Cotter, August Kleinzahler, Paul McVeigh, Thomas McCarthy, Audrey Molloy, Brian Turner and Yiyun Li)
   In the Valley (2020)
Picture Books
PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Best Book nominee (2008) : Chemistry and Other Stories
PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Best Book nominee (2009) : Serena

Ron Rash recommends
Saints in Limbo (2009)
River Jordan
"River Jordan's Saints in Limbo is a compelling story of the mysteries of existence and, specially, the mysteries of the human heart."
Under This Unbroken Sky (2009)
Shandi Mitchell
"Dazzling... This depiction of Depression-era prairie life has a vividness and veracity that brings to mind Willa Cather's fiction. Mitchell is a writer of immense talent."
Our Burden's Light (2010)
Patrick Thomas Casey
"Patrick Thomas Casey is an exciting new voice in American fiction, and this striking debut should give him a wide and appreciative audience."
Bliss, Remembered (2010)
Frank Deford
"One of our country's best writers period."
The Butterfly's Daughter (2011)
Mary Alice Monroe
"A novel taht, like the monarch butterfly, has a plentitude of beauty and wonder."
The Convert's Song (2014)
(Valentine Pescatore, book 2)
Sebastian Rotella
"The Convert's Song hooked me from its opening scene and kept me hooked to the very end. Sebastian Rotella has written a novel filled with suspense and intrigue, as well as real-world insights into those who commit terrorist acts and those who try to stop them."
Fate Moreland's Widow (2015)
John Lane
"John Lane has long been recognized as one of the South's finest poets and memoirists. This debut establishes him as one of our finest novelists as well. His poet's eye for detail seamlessly merges with a born storyteller's gift for narrative. Fate Moreland's Widow gives voice to those who endured one of the most painful and neglected chapters in American history."
Where All Light Tends to Go (2015)
David Joy
"David Joy has written a savage and moving account of a young man's attempt to transcend his family's legacy of violence. Where All Light Tends to Go is an outstanding debut and a fine addition to the country noir vein of Southern Literature."
Chasing the North Star (2016)
Robert Morgan
"Robert Morgan's true landscape is, as with great writers the peaks ans valleys, the long and winding paths, of the human heart."
The Second Girl (2016)
(Frank Marr, book 1)
David Swinson
"Like Dennis Lehane and Richard Price, David Swinson gives us a gritty urban crime novel populated with morally complex, utterly believable characters. Swinson knows how to build suspense, and he has a great ear for the patois of the streets, but it is detective Frank Marr's tightrope walk between his noble and darker impulses that makes The Second Girl such a rewarding read from start to finish."
The Bones of Paradise (2016)
Jonis Agee
"A beautifully written epic that seamlessly intertwines a family's history with a region's, and, ultimately, with a nation's. This is an ambitious novel."
Desperation Road (2017)
Michael Farris Smith
"An outstanding performance."
Small Treasons (2017)
Mark Powell
"One of the best novelists of his generation."
Safe (2017)
Ryan Gattis
"Safe is an immensely satisfying crime thriller, but it is also a deeply moving novel about one flawed man’s attempt to create good in a corrupt world. Ryan Gattis has a great ear for the patois of the street, and he reminds us that in 21st century America the worst predators often wear suits and work in offices."
Bluebird, Bluebird (2017)
(Highway 59, book 1)
Attica Locke
"Bluebird, Bluebird has the impeccable pacing, memorable characters, and deepening sense of mystery and dread we expect in the finest noir thrillers. But this is so much more. Attica Locke has written a marvelous novel."
The Afterlives (2018)
Thomas Pierce
"Thomas Pierce's fine new novel is often humorous, but Jim Byrd's search to find out what might lie beyond this life makes The Afterlives much more: a poignant inquiry into our human desire for permanence."
Winter Sisters (2018)
Robin Oliveira
"After two young sisters vanish in a snowstorm, the whys and hows of their disappearance quickly become a compelling and increasingly complex mystery. Robin Oliveira renders nineteenth-century Albany, New York, with exactitude and vividness, but her novel’s ultimate concerns are timeless—suffering and healing, the loyalty to family versus loyalty to justice. I’ve long been a fan of Robin Oliveira’s work, and Winter Sisters only increases my admiration."
Anatomy of a Miracle (2018)
Jonathan Miles
"Jonathan Miles has written a novel whose comic moments alone make it a wonderful read, but Anatomy of a Miracle quickly becomes so much more: an intense, and intensely profound, meditation on how an extraordinary event might test the limits of both scientific and religious belief. What a superb writer; what a superb book."
The Vain Conversation (2018)
Anthony Grooms
"The Vain Conversation vividly evokes the horrors of American racism, but Anthony Grooms never denies the humanity of his characters, whether black or white, young or old. His novel achieves what only the best literature can give us: it refuses too-easy consolations or too-easy condemnations. When we finish the last page, the book is not finished with us. It will haunt us."
The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival (2018)
Terry Roberts
"In his latest novel, Terry Roberts has created an unforgettable character in Jedidiah Robbins, a reverend who delivers both sermons and whiskey to his followers, but his novel transcends mere satire to become much more. Ultimately, The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival contemplates complex questions of faith and morality in a world ripe with hypocrisy. Terry Roberts is an im-mensely gifted writer and he gets better with each book. Bravo!"
Cherokee America (2019)
Margaret Verble
"Cherokee America does what all the best historical fiction does—it vividly captures its particular time and place, yet simultaneously offers valuable insights about our own era. Margaret Verble is an exceptional storyteller, and this novel will enhance her already considerable literary reputation."
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (2019)
(Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, book 1)
Kim Michele Richardson
"Kim Michele Richardson has written a fascinating novel about people almost forgotten by history: Kentucky's pack-horse librarians and "blue people." The factual information alone would make this book a treasure, but with her impressive storytelling and empathy, Richardson gives us so much more."
Nothing More Dangerous (2019)
(Max Rupert and Joe Talbert)
Allen Eskens
"Eskens vividly renders how small towns try to keep their secrets, and how sometimes they cannot."
August (2020)
Callan Wink
"August is an exceptional coming-of-age story. Callan Wink is too wise and empathetic a writer to ever allow his readers easy judgments as we follow his memorable young protagonist on his precarious way through adolescence. An outstanding debut novel and worthy follow-up to Wink’s widely praised collection of stories."
Pride of Eden (2020)
Taylor Brown
"Pride of Eden is a beautifully written, visionary novel of scarred souls seeking redemption not only for themselves but, in their limited way, for us all. Taylor Brown is clearly one of the best American writers of his generation. We are fortunate to have his voice in these dark times."
The Poison Flood (2020)
Jordan Farmer
"In his narrator, Hollis Bragg, Jordan Farmer has created a compelling character whose personal story and damaged body becomes emblematic of a whole region devastated by environmental destruction. The Poison Flood is a timely and important novel."
With or Without You (2020)
Caroline Leavitt
"After all of their lives are irrevocably altered by a single tragic incident, Stella, Simon, and Libby—the major characters in Caroline Leavitt’s compelling, deeply moving new novel—are forced to make complex choices between freedom and responsibility, love and loyalty. Leavitt depicts her characters without judgment, and by doing so compels readers to ask themselves what they might do in such difficult moments."
Even As We Breathe (2020)
Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle
"Even as We Breathe slowly builds from a seemingly simple tale of first love into a meditation on the deepest mysteries and contradictions of human existence. The novel's final paragraph is a particular marvel, rippling back through the book and carrying the reader with it into the sublime. Annette Clapsaddle is an exceptional writer, and an important voice in Appalachia's literature."
Legends of the North Cascades (2021)
Jonathan Evison
"[A] reminder of how human decency can prevail in the darkest of situations."
What's Done in Darkness (2021)
Laura McHugh
"Laura McHugh expertly delivers a harrowing tale of a world where little is what it first appears to be."
These Silent Woods (2021)
Kimi Cunningham Grant
"An exceptional novel, filled with vivid prose and surprising revelations of character."
Shadowselves (2022)
Jason Ockert
"Jason Ockert would be worth reading for the luminescence of his prose alone, but the stories in Shadowselves are just as marvelous. In form and content, they constantly subvert our expectations, but somehow always lead us into the endless complexities of the human heart."
Stay Gone Days (2022)
Steve Yarbrough
"There is so much to praise about this novel: the vivid, precise language, the expansiveness of the settings, how deeply we come to care about Caroline and Ella. But it all leads to this: we enter many books, but only a few enter us, then lodge in our consciousness as deeply as lived memories. Stay Gone Days is one of these. Steve Yarbrough is one of our country's finest living novelists."
The Perfect Golden Circle (2022)
Benjamin Myers
"The beauty of Myers' language alone is reward enough to read this superb novel, but The Perfect Golden Circle offers so much more: an all-too-rare literary depiction of rural England, the depths of the two central characters, the class and ecological concerns; but most of all the human need for what the Welsh poet Bobi Jones called 'the boundless mystery that comforts being.' A truly remarkable novel."
The White Rock (2022)
Anna Hope
"The White Rock is a sublime, poetic, and visionary work of art."
The Net Beneath Us (2022)
Carol Dunbar
"There are novels that we enjoy, but the most memorable ones, and The Net Beneath Us is one of these, leave readers with a sense that our lives have been enriched. An astonishing debut."

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