New book by Western’s Ron Rash subject of national radio program

CULLOWHEE – “One Foot in Eden,” the award-winning debut novel by Western Carolina University’s Ron Rash, will be featured on “Radio Reader,” a program heard daily on more than 100 public radio stations across the country.

A nationally syndicated book-reading program, “Radio Reader” is a five-day-a-week, half-hour broadcast that brings about a dozen newly published books, in their entirety, to public radio listeners each year. Award-winning broadcaster Dick Estell, who also reads for Books-on-Tape Inc., narrates the show.

Rash, who teaches in the English department at Western, is the university’s John and Dorothy Parris Professor of Appalachian Cultural Studies.

Estell will begin reading Rash’s “One Foot in Eden” Dec. 10. The book tells the story of a sheriff in a small Southern Appalachian town who attempts to solve a murder mystery without a body or witnesses.

Critics have praised Rash, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet, as one of the most mature and distinctive voices in Southern literature. “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,” the Los Angeles Times said of Rash’s debut novel.

“One Foot in Eden” was named the Appalachian Writers Association’s Book of the Year and received Foreword Magazine’s Gold Medal for Best Literary Novel of 2002. Picador will publish the book in paperback in early December. Rash’s second novel, “Saints at the River,” is slated for publication in spring 2004.

Although no stations in North Carolina carry “Radio Reader,” it can be heard in adjoining states. For a list of stations, click on

Some stations broadcast the program on their Web sites, and a list of those stations can be found at After logging onto the site, under the link “program finder” select “program by name.” Under “listings by name,” select “R” for “Radio Reader.” Find “Radio Reader” and select “Official Link” for listing of stations.

As part of the “Radio Reader” broadcast, Picador will be giving away 50 copies of “One Foot in Eden” and “Saints at the River.” Details will be announced by Estell during the final reading of Rash’s book.

For information about Western’s programs in English, call (828) 227-7264.