Western’s Ron Rash honored by Southern Book Critics Circle

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University English professor Ron Rash is the recipient of yet another literary honor as the Southern Book Critic Circle recently announced it will present its fiction award to Rash for his novel “Saints at the River.”

The Southern Book Critics Circle is composed of book editors and reviewers at newspapers and magazines across the South. The group will present its awards as part of the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 8.

Ron Rash

Ron Rash

Rash, who holds the Parris Distinguished Professorship of Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western, is recipient of a prestigious O. Henry Prize for short fiction for 2005 for his story “Speckle Trout.”

Earlier this summer, the Southeast Booksellers Association recognized “Saints at the River” as the best Southern novel of 2005, part of the organization’s seventh annual SEBA Book Awards. Rash also is winner of this year’s Weatherford Award for Fiction presented by the Appalachian Studies Association and Berea College, and the 2005 Thomas and Lillie B. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing, presented by Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Rash is author of two critically acclaimed novels based in the Appalachians – his debut novel “One Foot in Eden,” which was Western’s freshman summer reading selection for 2004, and “Saints at the River.” “One Foot in Eden ” won the 2003 Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award and Foreword Magazine’s Gold Medal for Best Literary Novel of 2002. The Fellowship of Southern Writers presented Rash the James Still Award for Writing of the Appalachian South in November 2004.