Ron Rash

Novelist & Poet
NEA Big Read Selection
Travels from: Charlotte, NC

“Rash is a storyteller of the highest rank.” — Jeffrey Lent, bestselling author of IN THE FALL

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.

Prepare an Invitation for:

In The Valley: Stories and a Novella Based on Serena

Doubleday |
Short Stories and Novella
Named a Garden & Gun and Atlanta Journal Constitution best book of the year*

Winner of the 2020 Thomas Robinson Prize for Southern Literature“Mesmerizing…He’s one of the best living American writers.”–Janet Maslin, New York Times Book Review

From bestselling and award-winning writer Ron Rash (“One of the great American authors at work today.”–The New York Times) comes a collection of ten searing stories and the return of the villainess who propelled Serena to national acclaim, in a long-awaited novella.

Ron Rash has long been a revered presence in the landscape of American letters. A virtuosic novelist, poet, and story writer, he evokes the beauty and brutality of the land, the relentless tension between past and present, and the unquenchable human desire to be a little bit better than circumstances would seem to allow (to paraphrase Faulkner).

In these ten stories, Rash spins a haunting allegory of the times we live in–rampant capitalism, the severing of ties to the natural world in the relentless hunt for profit, the destruction of body and soul with pills meant to mute our pain–and yet within this world he illuminates acts of extraordinary decency and heroism. Two of the stories have already been singled out for accolades: “Baptism” was chosen by Roxane Gay for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories 2018, and “Neighbors” was selected by Jonathan Lethem for The Best American Mystery Stories 2019. And in revisiting Serena Pemberton, Rash updates his bestselling parable of greed run amok as his deliciously vindictive heroine returns to the North Carolina wilderness she left scarred and desecrated to make one final effort to kill the child that threatens all she has accomplished.

“A gorgeous, brutal writer” (Richard Price) working at the height of his powers, Ron Rash has created another mesmerizing look at the imperfect world around us.

The Risen

Ecco |
Novel

The Risen is an important novel — and an intriguing one — from one of our master storytellers. In its pages, the past rises up, haunting and chiding, demanding answers of us all.” —The News & Observer

New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash demonstrates his superb narrative skills in this suspenseful and evocative tale of two brothers whose lives are altered irrevocably by the events of one long-ago summer, one bewitching young woman—and the secrets that could destroy their lives.

While swimming in a secluded creek on a hot Sunday in 1969, sixteen-year-old Eugene and his older brother, Bill, meet the entrancing Ligeia. A sexy, free-spirited redhead from Daytona Beach banished to their small North Carolina town, Ligeia entrances the brothers, especially Eugene, who is drawn to her raw sensuality and rebellious attitude. Eugene begins to move farther and farther away from his brother, the cautious and dutiful Bill, and when Ligeia vanishes as suddenly as she appeared, the growing rift between the two brothers becomes immutable.

Decades later, the once close brothers now lead completely different lives. Bill is a gifted and successful surgeon, and a paragon of the community, while Eugene, the town reprobate, is a failed writer and determined alcoholic. When a shocking reminder of the past unexpectedly surfaces, Eugene is plunged back into that fateful summer, and the girl he cannot forget.

The deeper Eugene delves into his memories, the closer he comes to finding the truth. But can Eugene’s recollections be trusted? And will the truth set him free and offer salvation . . . or destroy his damaged life and everyone he loves?

Above The Waterfall

Ecco |
Novel

In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land.

Les, a long-time sheriff just three-weeks from retirement, contends with the ravages of crystal meth and his own duplicity in his small Appalachian town.

Becky, a park ranger with a harrowing past, finds solace amid the lyrical beauty of this patch of North Carolina.

Enduring the mistakes and tragedies that have indelibly marked them, they are drawn together by a reverence for the natural world. When an irascible elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream, Les and Becky are plunged into deep and dangerous waters, forced to navigate currents of disillusionment and betrayal that will force them to question themselves and test their tentative bond—and threaten to carry them over the edge.

Echoing the heartbreaking beauty of William Faulkner and the spiritual isolation of Carson McCullers, Above the Waterfall demonstrates once again the prodigious talent of “a gorgeous, brutal writer” (Richard Price) hailed as “one of the great American authors at work today” (Janet Maslin, New York Times).

The Night The New Jesus Fell To Earth: And Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina

University of South Carolina Press |
Short Stories

he Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth was originally released in 1994 and was the first published book from acclaimed writer Ron Rash. This twentieth anniversary edition takes us back to where it all began with ten linked short stories, framed like a novel, introducing us to a trio of memorable narrators–Tracy, Randy, and Vincent–making their way against the hardscrabble backdrop of the North Carolina foothills. With a comedic touch that may surprise readers familiar only with Rash’s later, darker fiction, these earnest tales reveal the hard lessons of good whiskey, bad marriages, weak foundations, familial legacies, questionable religious observances, and the dubious merits of possum breeding, as well as the hard-won reconciliations with self, others, and home that can only be garnered in good time. The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth shows us the promising beginnings of a master storyteller honing his craft and contributing from the start to the fine traditions of southern fiction and lore. This Southern Revivals edition includes a new introduction from the author and a contextualizing preface from series editor Robert H. Brinkmeyer, director of the University of South Carolina Institute for Southern Studies.

Something Rich And Strange

Ecco |
Novel

From the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling award-winning author of Serena and The Cove, thirty of his finest short stories, collected in one volume.

No one captures the complexities of Appalachia—a rugged, brutal landscape of exquisite beauty—as evocatively and indelibly as author and poet Ron Rash. Winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, two O Henry prizes, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, Rash brilliantly illuminates the tensions between the traditional and the modern, the old and new south, tenderness and violence, man and nature. Though the focus is regional, the themes of Rash’s work are universal, striking an emotional chord that resonates deep within each of our lives.

Something Rich and Strange showcases this revered master’s artistry and craftsmanship in thirty stories culled from his previously published collections Nothing Gold Can Stay, Burning Bright, Chemistry, and The Night New Jesus Fell to Earth. Each work of short fiction demonstrates Rash’s dazzling ability to evoke the heart and soul of this land and its people—men and women inexorably tethered to the geography that defines and shapes them. Filled with suspense and myth, hope and heartbreak, told in language that flows like “shimmering, liquid poetry” (Atlanta Journal Constitution), Something Rich and Strange is an iconic work from an American literary virtuoso.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Ecco |
Short Stories

From Ron Rash, PEN / Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Serena, comes a new collection of unforgettable stories set in Appalachia that focuses on the lives of those haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear—spanning the Civil War to the present day.

The darkness of Ron Rash’s work contrasts with its unexpected sensitivity and stark beauty in a manner that could only be accomplished by this master of the short story form.

Nothing Gold Can Stay includes 14 stories, including Rash’s “The Trusty,” which first appeared in The New Yorker.

The Cove

Ecco |
Novel

“Set during World War One, The Cove is a novel that speaks intimately to today’s politics. Beautifully written, tough, raw, uncompromising, entirely new. Ron Rash is a writer’s writer who writes for others.”
—Colum McCann

“Ron Rash is a writer of both the darkly beautiful and the sadly true; The Cove solidifies his reputation as one of our very finest novelists.”
—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

Here is a magnificent tale that captures the wondrous beauty of nature and love—and the darkness of superstition and fear—from one of America’s most exciting contemporary novelists. With The Cove, Ron Rash, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Serena, returns to the Appalachian milieu he has previously so memorably evoked. A two-time O. Henry Prize winner for his short fiction—and recipient of the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Story Award and the 2010 SIBA Book Award for his story collection Burning Bright—Rash can expect more honors for The Cove, a novel that brilliantly explores often dangerous notions of patriotism during wartime. This story of a love affair doomed in the rising turmoil of WWI resonates powerfully in today’s world.

Burning Bright: Stories

Ecco |
Short Story

“A gorgeous, brutal writer.”
—Richard Price, New York Times bestselling author of Lush Life and Clockers

In Burning Bright, Pen/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Serena, Ron Rash, captures the eerie beauty and stark violence of Appalachia through the lives of  unforgettable characters. With this masterful collection of stories that span the Civil War to the present day, Rash, a supremely talented writer who “recalls both John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy” (The New Yorker), solidifies his reputation as a major contemporary American literary artist.

Serena

Ecco |
Novel

New York Times bestseller and PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist, Serena by award-winning author Ron Rash is “masterfully written…sprawling, engrossing and—from time to time—nightmarish,” (San Francisco Chronicle); a remarkable novel that “recalls both John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy,” (The New Yorker). Rash’s chilling gothic tale of greed, corruption, and revenge set against the backdrop of the 1930s wilderness and America’s burgeoning environmental movement was named a Best Book of the Year by more than a dozen national publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald. Serena is brilliant contemporary fiction that exquisitely balances beauty and violence, passion and rage, cruelty and love.

Saints At The River

Picador |
Novel

From a major voice in Southern literature comes award-winning author Ron Rash’s Saints at the River, a novel about a town divided by the aftermath of a tragic accident–and the woman caught in the middle.

When a twelve-year-old girl drowns in the Tamassee River and her body is trapped in a deep eddy, the people of the small South Carolina town that bears the river’s name are thrown into the national spotlight. The girl’s parents want to attempt a rescue of the body; environmentalists are convinced the rescue operation will cause permanent damage to the river and set a dangerous precedent. Torn between the two sides is Maggie Glenn, a twenty-eight-year-old newspaper photographer who grew up in the town and has been sent to document the incident. Since leaving home almost ten years ago, Maggie has done her best to avoid her father, but now, as the town’s conflict opens old wounds, she finds herself revisiting the past she’s fought so hard to leave behind. Meanwhile, the reporter who’s accompanied her to cover the story turns out to have a painful past of his own, and one that might stand in the way of their romance.

Drawing on the same lyrical prose and strong sense of place that distinguished his award-winning first novel, One Foot in Eden, Ron Rash has written a book about the deepest human themes: the love of the land, the hold of the dead on the living, and the need to dive beneath the surface to arrive at a deeper truth. Saints at the River confirms the arrival of one of today’s most gifted storytellers.

One Foot In Eden

Picador |
Novel

Equal parts vintage crime novel and Southern Gothic, full of aching ambivalence and hard compromises, and rounded off by bad faith and bad choices, One Foot in Eden is a veritable garden of earthly disquiet.” –Los Angeles Times

Will Alexander is the sheriff in a small town in southern Appalachia, and he knows that the local thug Holland Winchester has been murdered. The only thing is the sheriff can find neither the body nor someone to attest to the killing. Simply, almost elementally told through the voices of the sheriff, a local farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff’s deputy, One Foot in Eden signals the bellwether arrival of Ron Rash, one the most mature and distinctive voices in Southern literature.

The Influence of Appalachia

Upcoming Events

SERENA film trailer

Honors, Awards & Recognition

NYT Bestseller
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
The Southern Book Prize
PEN/Faulkner Finalist and Award Winner
Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award
O. Henry Prize

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