from North Carolina Literary Trails
Boiling Springs native Ron Rash keeps returning to the North Carolina mountains for stories that illuminate the kindness and rawness of human nature. Drawing from the heart and soul of Appalachia, he crafted the short story collection Burning Bright, which received the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award in 2010.
Rash, the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, also is the author of Serena, called the “Appalachian Macbeth” for its vivid depiction of a 1920s timber baron, his ruthless wife and the greed, politics and human tragedy surrounding the logging industry and the development of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With family roots in the western mountains of N.C. going back to the 1700s, Rash says that an understanding of history is “crucial” and that his dedication to historical accuracy “keeps the reader in the story.”
Rash acknowledges that writing is the work of a lifetime. He has been writing “seriously” four or five hours a day, six days a week for 30 years.
“I just love short stories, and I love to write them,” Rash says. “I think short stories are the hardest form to write — harder than poetry and harder than novels. There’s concision such as there is in poetry, a sense that every word and every sentence has to be in place for a short story to work. Yet at the same time the reader has to feel the satisfaction of a novel, the sense of an arc, a conclusion, a whole experience being rendered. My hope is that people who have only read Serena might be interested in what I do in a shorter form.”
from The Ron Rash Reader, University of South Carolina Press, edited by Randall Wilhelm
Over the last three decades, Ron Rash has emerged as one of the quintessential American writers of his generation. He has steadily gained critical and commercial recognition, from his native Carolinas to an increasingly international audience. With four volumes of poetry, four short story collections, and five novels as evidence of his multifaceted talent, Rash has amassed an impressive list of accolades, including the O. Henry Prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, the Sherwood Anderson Prize, the James Still Award of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Weatherford Award for best novel, and the Fiction Book of the Year Award from the Southern Book Critics Circle.
The Ron Rash Reader is a collection of essential works that covers the full range of Rash's career to date, from his first published collection of stories, The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth: And Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina (1994), to Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories(2012) and includes previously unpublished material as well. This collection of more than sixty of Rash's writings demonstrates his remarkable breadth and vitality, comprising a best-of volume for new readers and established aficionados alike.
“Ron Rash is one of the most gifted and accomplished storytellers and poets of our time, or any time. It is a special pleasure to welcome this new collection which gives some sense of the scale, depth, and range of his talent and achievement. Let us celebrate this exciting occasion."—Robert Morgan, author of The Road from Gap Creek
Ron Rash Stories >