WCU’s Ron Rash wins SIBA award for best fiction with “Serena”

Ron Rash, the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture at Western Carolina University, is winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance book award in the category of fiction for his novel “Serena.”

Ron Rash

Ron Rash

Rash’s “Serena” has been a critical success since its 2008 release and has catapulted the South Carolina-born author to the forefront of the literary world.

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is a regional organization that represents more than 300 independent bookstores and storeowners throughout the Southeast.

“Serena” is set in pre-Depression-era Appalachia, and tells the story of a timber baron and his ruthless wife who come to the North Carolina mountains to seek their fortune.

In addition to his SIBA award, “Serena” made Rash (shown above) a finalist for the 2009 Pen/Faulkner Award, was called “one of the best books of the year” by Publishers Weekly, and was Amazon’s No. 7 most sought-after book in 2008.

Critics have praised Rash’s ability to majestically convey the North Carolina backcountry, which is a trademark of his work. The Columbia, S.C., newspaper, The State, praised Rash for his ability to “capture the speech and landscape of the Carolinas with an elegant precision” when commenting on his 2006 novel “The World Made Straight.”

Rash is no stranger to critical acclaim. His 2002 novel “One Foot in Eden” won the Appalachian Writers Association’s Book of the Year award and received a gold medal from ForeWords Magazine for best literary novel.

In April, Rash was a featured speaker at Western Carolina’s Spring Literary Festival. He continues to host readings of his work across the country.