MECC Foundation to host literary festival, short story and poetry contests

Silas House will be the featured speaker at the 44th annual John Fox, Jr. Literary Festival March 4 at Mountain Empire Community College

BIG STONE GAP — The MECC Foundation, in partnership with the Lonesome Pine Regional Library and the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Project, will host the 44th annual John Fox Jr. Literary Festival.

Guest author Silas House will be the featured speaker Wednesday, March 4, at 10 a.m. in the Goodloe Center of Phillips-Taylor Hall.

Along with the festival, the foundation will host the 33rd annual Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest and the 16th annual Lonesome Pine Poetry Contest. The deadline for submitting entries is Thursday, Feb. 20, at 4:30 p.m. Entry categories include adult, high school (grades 9-12), and middle school (grades 5-8) categories. Contest rules are available on the MECC Foundation website at Winners of the contest will be announced during the Literary Festival Event.

House is the New York Times-bestselling author of six novels, including his first, 2001’s “Clay's Quilt,” now considered a foundational text in Appalachian literature, and 2018’s “Southernmost,” which was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and won awards including the Weatherford Prize for Fiction.

House is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and a former commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered." His writing appears frequently in The New York Times and Salon and has been published in Time, Ecotone, Garden and Gun, Oxford American and many other places. House is a native of Eastern Kentucky and teaches at Berea College and in the Spalding School of Writing.

Books will be available to purchase and for author signing. The festival will be followed by a reservation-only luncheon with House at the John Fox Jr. Museum in Big Stone Gap. Tickets for the luncheon are $25 per person and reservations can be made by calling the foundation office at (276) 523-7466.

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