BRISTOL, Tenn., Sept. 1, 2022 — As part of its 2022-23 speaker series, “Hunger and Gladness,” King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) is welcoming award-winning author and West Virginia native Jessie van Eerden.
She is the author of the portrait essay collection “The Long Weeping” and three novels – “Glorybound,” “My Radio Radio,” and “Call It Horses,” which won the 2019 Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction.
Her work has appeared in Best American Spiritual Writing, Oxford American, Image, New England Review, and other magazines and anthologies. She has been awarded the Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction, the Milton Fellowship, and a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellowship. She holds an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Iowa; she teaches creative writing at Hollins University and serves as nonfiction editor for Orison Books.
“I feel honored to be included among this year’s roster of speakers. I’ve been a professor for many years, but I’m still taken aback when I’m invited to offer my thoughts on a topic,” van Eerden said. “The process of preparing a talk stretches and humbles me; it helps me pay deeper attention to the world and those around me as I think through what I would like to say, what might be worth saying.”
She will offer two presentations on Monday, Sept. 12. At 9:15 a.m. she will present, “A Calling to Write,” at Memorial Chapel on the campus of King University in Bristol, Tennessee. She will then present “A Calling to the Midrashic Imagination,” at 7 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 760 Cumberland Street, Bristol, Virginia. Both presentations are free and open to the public.
“Appalachian fiction often gets labeled with categorizations like ‘gritty’ or ‘heartfelt’ or most troublingly, ‘authentic,’” said Brandon Story, Ph.D., assistant professor of English at King. “Jessie comes from and writes about Appalachia, and her writing breathes new life and possibilities into the essence of the word. She thinks deeply about where we find God, how we know God, and how the light of God shines in the darkness, with the darkness not overcoming it.”
More information on upcoming IFC speakers will soon be available at www.king.edu.