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King University News :: Author of "Serena" to Speak Sept. 11 during Appalachian Emphasis Week

“Serena,” directed by Susanne Bier, to hit theatres in October 2013 

New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash will speak at King University as part of the Buechner Institute’s Appalachian Emphasis Week.  One of Rash’s most famous works, “Serena” (Ecco, Aug. 2008), will make its screen debut in October.  During his visit to King, Rash will read from his work at 7 p.m. at King University’s Memorial Chapel on Sept. 11.  The event is co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

“We are looking forward to Ron Rash sharing his work,” said Dr. Shannon Harris, associate professor of History for King University. “His stories capture a searing portrait of poverty, brutality and exploitation in Appalachia and the systemic reasons for it, and he creates indelible images of the region’s rich culture and history.” 

Rash, currently a Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., has written 14 works, including 10 books of ?ction (?ve novels and ?ve books of short stories) and four volumes of poetry.  Several of his works have won major literary awards, including the O. Henry Prize (twice), the most prestigious award for short ?ction in the United States.  His latest work, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” is a collection of short stories.

Rash is a poet, short story writer, and novelist who has authored such prize-winning works as “The Cove,” “One Foot in Eden,” “Saints at the River,” and “The World Made Straight.” He has also published three collections of poems and four collections of stories, among them “Burning Bright,” which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and “Chemistry and Other Stories,” which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. 

“Rash’sStories and poems are often about the jarring collision of traditional, even Christian, values with emerging standards of corporate America,” said Dale Brown, director of the Buechner Institute at King.  “Rash writes forcefully about the vanishing of a Southern lifestyle and manages to do so without nostalgia or over-simplification.”

“Serena,” set in 1930s western North Carolina, has been adapted for film and will hit theatres this October.  The movie, directed by Susanne Bier, will include Hollywood talents Jennifer Lawrence as Serena Pemberton, and Bradley Cooper as George Pemberton. 

Another Rash novel adapted for film is his novel, “The World Made Straight” (Picador, March 2007), set in Madison County, N.C.  Due out later in 2013, the movie version will include actors Minka Kelly, Haley Joel Osment, and Noah Wyle. 

Ron Rash will read from his works of fiction and poetry at 7 p.m. at King University’s Memorial Chapel.  The events are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Dale Brown at 423.652.4156 or visit


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university.  Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available.  King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams.  For more information about King University, visit  King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability.  King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia.  For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.