Davis awarded Jean Ritchie Fellowship

Published 6:19 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Noah Davis is the winner of the 2018 Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing, awarded by Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) in Harrogate, Tennessee. The prize is $1,500 and is awarded to an Appalachian writer who shows overwhelming promise in the continuation of great writing in the region.

Noah Davis resides in Blair County, Pennsylvania, eleven miles north of the railroad town of Altoona. He has new poems published or forthcoming in “North American Review,” “The Hollins Critic,” “Atlanta Review,” “Water~Stone Review” and “Chautauqua” among others. He also has nonfiction and fiction published or forthcoming in “Kestrel,” “The Chariton Review,” “The Fly Fish Journal,” “Angler’s Journal,” “The Drake, Fly Fishing & Tying Journal” and “Gray’s Sporting Journal.”

“Having grown up in Appalachia—among the ridges, streams, hollows, railroads, mining towns—this home place is what I want to celebrate with my writing,” Davis said. “To receive the Jean Ritchie Fellowship is a great honor and affirmation that what I write about and how I am writing is connecting with other people. And that is why I write, to reach other people. I’m most grateful for this support.”

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Davis received two Pushcart Prize nominations in 2015 for poetry from both “Poet Lore” and “Natural Bridge.”

The fellowship is named in honor of Jean Ritchie, the award-winning musician and writer who died on June 2, 2015. Besides being an internationally known singer, songwriter, activist and musicologist, Ritchie was also the author of several books. Ritchie’s best known work is “Singing Family of the Cumberlands.” The book has never been out of print since its 1955 publication and is known as one of the major classics in Appalachian literature.

This is the eleventh year the fellowship has been awarded through LMU’s annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, which honors writers of the region like James Still and Jesse Stuart, both alums of LMU. The fellowship is funded by an anonymous donor, and the judging process is completely blind, with a panel of judges within the region choosing several finalists that are then sent out of state to a final judge.

Through literature, a region tells stories to its citizens and the world. The Jean Ritchie Fellowship seeks to support, encourage and honor writers from the Southern Appalachians. The fellowship is the first of its kind for the region’s writers, and is committed to Appalachian voices. The fellowship strives to support artists who, like Ritchie, create works of beauty and social relevance, while honoring traditional heritage and forging a new path.

Past Fellowship winners include: 2008 – Mindy Beth Miller of Hazard, Kentucky; 2009 – Larry Bingham of Portland, Oregon; 2010 – Katie Perry of Austin, Texas; 2011 – Tiffany Williams of McRoberts, Kentuckyl 2012 – Amy Clark of Big Stone Gap, Virginia; 2013 – Charles Dodd White of Candler, North Carolina; 2014 – Mesha Maren of Alderson, West Virginia; 2015 – Jim Minick, of City, Georgia; and 2016 – Shawna Kay Rodenberg of Evansville, Indiana.

The Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, held annually in June at LMU, continues to grow and have a positive influence on the thriving, living literature of Appalachia. The festival carries on the long literary tradition that exists at LMU, which claims such literary alums as James Still, Jesse Stuart, Don West and George Scarbrough.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at admissions@lmunet.edu.