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Ron Rash

Ron Rash is a New York Times best-selling author of short fiction, poetry and many award-winning novels. Hailed as “one of the great American authors at work today” (New York Times), Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena, in addition to The Risen, Above the Waterfall, The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; five collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. His books have been published in 21 countries.

Rash’s 2010 short story collection, Burning Bright, was selected for the National Endowment of the Arts NEA Big Read Library. The collection is “a slender set of spare and menacing depictions of the unforgiving ways of life in rural Appalachia,” noted the Washington Post. It “finds a narrow sweet spot between Raymond Carver’s minimalism and William Faulkner’s Gothic.” Highlighting the “purity and precision” of Rash’s writing, Booklist calls the stories “deceptively easy to read as they are hard to forget.”

Though the 12 stories in Burning Bright cover a wide swath of time from the Civil War to the present day, collectively they tell a story about Appalachia. And though they take us along the winding roads to the old homesteads and subdivisions of the American South, where “the region is a character in and of itself” and “myths and legends and history permeate every story” (BookPage), they also pulse with universal human emotions.

A son of Buncombe and Watauga County natives, Rash was raised in Boiling Springs North Carolina, and his family has lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains since the mid-1700s. He teaches at Western Carolina University.

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Talks and Topics

  • Burning Bright, NEA BIG READ Presentation

  • Community Reads Programs

  • First Year Experience Campus Reads

  • The Influence of Appalachia

Ron Rash is a writer of quiet and stunning beauty... A finely crafted, understated collection of 12 stories....Rash writes the way the old bluegrass musicians sing: in a stark, high-lonesome voice capturing the yearning and despair of characters who have lost almost everything but their pride.
— Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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