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King Professor Brandon Story Awarded Fellowships by Appalachian College Association

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 26, 2016 – Brandon Story, assistant professor of English at King University, was recently awarded two fellowships by the Appalachian College Association (ACA). The 2015-16 Faculty Fellowships Program awardees were announced by the ACA on Dec. 22, 2015. The fellowships named in honor of Jean Ritchie, Wilma Dykeman Stokely, and John B. Stephenson are awarded annually and provide from $3,000 to $30,000 for pre- or post-doctoral study.

“I have had the pleasure of observing Brandon in the classroom a few times, and he is such a dynamic instructor; he has a quick wit and does not shy away from challenging his students to articulate their ideas and impressions of assigned readings,” says Han Chuan Ong, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at King University. “He is most deserving of the ACA awards. I am sure his doctoral journey will only enhance his abilities as a scholar and teacher.”

“This award is just terrific,” says Story. “I received two fellowships, one for spring 2016 and one for fall 2016, of $15,000 each for a total of $30,000. This will allow me to take a full-year sabbatical in 2016 and devote a year to the completion of my dissertation for my Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee.”

Story’s dissertation focuses on “Modernism in Appalachian Literature,” in which he looks at both Appalachian literature from the period of Modernism, which was roughly from the 1890s through the 1940s, as well as literature written following that period. “Both were experimental in the way Modernist literature was experimental. So, the question is – is this still Modernism that is happening in Appalachia? The second thing I am looking at is that so much Appalachian literature deals with Modernization in Appalachia, like the coming of the TVA, mechanized coal production, and mass media that both allowed for Appalachian people to be stereotyped but also allowed for their music to get out to the rest of the world.”

Several authors are given particular attention by Story including Thomas Wolfe, James Agee, James Still, and a local author from Johnson City, Tenn., Jo Carson.

A native of Michigan, Story’s family roots are in Southern Appalachia. “While I was working on my master’s degree at ETSU, I began playing a lot of old-time music, which is really the way I got into Appalachian studies. My grandfather was a Baptist preacher who always had banjos and guitars in his worship services, so even when he was in Michigan, he maintained this sort of Southern mountain culture.”

Story adds, “I feel like [Appalachian studies] is conversation I can add something to, because a lot of literature and conversations have been worn out. So many have written about Faulkner or even Fitzgerald or Hemmingway, but [Appalachia] is an area in which there is still something to say; I feel there is something I can add to that.”


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-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 sports. 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 on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.