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Bestselling Novelist
2023 Southern Book Prize
Travels from: Lexington, KY

“In sly and subtle ways, House skillfully beckons readers to dig deep into their own hearts and minds.” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of the novels–Clay’s Quilt, 2001; A Parchment of Leaves, 2003; The Coal Tattoo, 2005; Eli the Good, 2009; and Same Sun Here (co-authored with Neela Vaswani) 2012, Southernmost (June 2018), and Lark Ascending (September 2022) –as well as a book of creative nonfiction–Something’s Rising, co-authored with Jason Howard, 2009; and three plays. Lark Ascending, a novel set in the near future about a young Appalachian man walking across Ireland with a dog and a mysterious woman after an environmental catastrophe. The novel was a SIBA bestseller and has also been chosen as a Booklist Editor’s Choice, one of Salon’s favorite books of the year, one of Garden and Gun’s selections for Best Southern Books of 2022, and as a top ten most recommended book by independent booksellers across the entire nation in the monthly Indie Next List.

House is a former commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered”. His writing has appeared recently in Time, The Atlantic, Ecotone, The Advocate, Garden and Gun, and Oxford American. He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the recipient of three honorary doctorates, and is the winner of the Nautilus Award, an EB White Award, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Storylines Prize from the New York Public Library/NAV Foundation, the Lee Smith Award, and many other honors, including an invitation to read at the Library of Congress. Southernmost was a longest finalist for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and appeared on several Best of 2018 lists including The Advocate, Booklist, Paste, Southern Living, Garden and Gun, and others. The book was given the Weatherford Award as well as the Judy Gaines Young Award.

House was an executive producer and one of the subjects of the documentary Hillbilly, which is now available on Hulu. The film won the Audience Award from the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Media Award from the Foreign Press Association. As a music journalist House has worked with artists such as Kacey Musgraves, Kris Kristofferson, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell, Senora May, Leann Womack, Charley Crockett, John R. Miller, and many others. House is also host of the popular podcast “On the Porch”. In 2021 he was the recipient of the Governor’s Award from Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear for his service to the arts in his home state. Most recently, Silas House has been awarded the 2023 Southern Book Prize in Fiction for his novel, Lark Ascending.

House was chosen for the Duggins Prize, the largest award for an LGBT writer in the nation, and in 2020 he was chosen as the Appalachian of the Year in a nationwide poll and given the Artist Award by Governor Andy Beshear as part of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts. House serves as the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College, on the fiction faculty at the Naslund-Mann School of Creative Writing at Spalding University in Louisville, and as a series editor for Fireside Industries at the University Press of Kentucky.  He is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and Spalding University. House, a native of Whitley County and Laurel County, Kentucky, now lives in Lexington.

Silas's Featured Titles

Lark Ascending

Algonquin Books |

As fires devastate most of the United States, Lark and his family secure a place on a refugee boat headed to Ireland, the last country not yet overrun by extremists and rumored to be accepting American refugees. But Lark is the only one to survive the trip, and once ashore, he doesn’t find the safe haven he’d hoped for. As he runs for his life, Lark finds an abandoned dog who becomes his closest companion, and then a woman in search of her lost son. Together they form a makeshift family and attempt to reach Glendalough, a place they believe will offer protection. But can any community provide the safety that they seek?

For readers of novels such as Station Eleven, The Dog Stars, and Migrations, Lark Ascending is a moving and unforgettable story of friendship, family, and healing.


Algonquin Books |

In this stunning novel about judgment, courage, heartbreak, and change, author Silas House wrestles with the limits of belief and the infinite ways to love.

In the aftermath of a flood that washes away much of a small Tennessee town, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men. In doing so, he starts to see his life anew—and risks losing everything: his wife, locked into her religious prejudices; his congregation, which shuns Asher after he delivers a passionate sermon in defense of tolerance; and his young son, Justin, caught in the middle of what turns into a bitter custody battle.

With no way out but ahead, Asher takes Justin and flees to Key West, where he hopes to find his brother, Luke, whom he’d turned against years ago after Luke came out. And it is there, at the southernmost point of the country, that Asher and Justin discover a new way of thinking about the world, and a new way of understanding love.

Southernmost is a tender and affecting book, a meditation on love and its consequences.

Clay’s Quilt

Blair |

Clay Sizemore loves his home in Free Creek, but he longs for more. Since the death of his mother when he was four, he has felt the absence of family. His father left, and he has no siblings. But finally, through the love of others, he is able to create a place of his own.

Eli The Good

Candlewick |

For ten-year-old Eli Book, the summer of 1976 is the one that threatened to tear his family apart. There is his distant mother; his traumatized Vietnam vet dad; his wild sister; his former war protester aunt; and his tough yet troubled best friend, Edie, the only person with whom he can be himself. As tempers flare and his father’s nightmares rage, Eli cannot escape the current of conflict. From Silas House comes a tender look at the complexities of childhood and the realities of war — a novel filled with nostalgic detail and a powerful sense of place.

The Coal Tattoo

Algonquin Books |

Two sisters can’t stand to live together, but can’t bear to be apart. One worships the flashy world of Nashville, the other is a devout Pentecostal. One falls into the lap of any man, the other is afraid to even date. One gets pregnant in a flash, the other desperately wants to have child.

This is what’s at the heart of Silas House’s third, masterful novel, which tells the story of Easter and Anneth, tragically left parentles as children, who must raise themselves and each other in their small coal-mining town. Easter is deeply religious, keeps a good home, believes in tradition, and is intent on rearing her wild younger sister properly. Anneth is untamable, full of passion, determined to live hard and fast. It’s only a matter of time before their predilections split their paths and nearly undo their bond. How these two women learn to overcome their past, sacrifice deeply for each other, and live together again in the only place that matters is the story of The Coal Tattoo.

Silas House’s work has been described as compelling, seamless, breathtaking, heartbreaking, eloquent, stunningly beautiful, and exquisite. In The Coal Tattoo, he raises the bar once again.


LGBTQ Identity


Environmental Issues


Rural Identity


Working Class Issues/Poverty


Music Journalism


Appalachian Issues


Education/First Generation College Graduates


The Changing South/The New South


Intersectionality (Queer/Christian/Working Class)


EX-vangelical: Retaining Faith After Fundamentalist Trauma

Silas House’s Upcoming Events

On the Porch (podcast) with Silas House

Teaching Resources

Honors, Awards & Recognition

2023 Southern Book Prize
Duggins  Prize
SIBA Bestseller
Booklist Editor’s Choice
A Salon favorite book of the year
A Garden and Gun’s selection for Best Southern Books of 2022,
Indie Next List Top 10
New York Times Bestseller
Andrew Carnegie Medal Finalist
Appalachian Book of the Year

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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