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WVU Parkersburg instructor’s literary works celebrated during reading series

Parkersburg, W.Va. (August 27, 2020) – WVU Parkersburg Instructor of English Danielle Kelly recently headlined the first Little Kanawha Reading series event for Fall 2020. Kelly presented fictional readings from her novel-in-progress “Walk Me Down to Jordan” and a brand-new short story “Map Back to You.”

The Little Kanawha Reading Series showcases a diversity of literary forms and voices, acknowledging and enriching Appalachia’s cultural heritage and the communities around the Little Kanawha River.

“The pieces I chose for the reading embrace the theme of strong women,” Kelly said. “All the pieces deal with narrators that ruminate, express, and display hidden, oftentimes subtle strength of women, which is a common occurrence in women in Appalachian culture.”

“Walk Me Down to Jordan” details the family structure in an Appalachian community and how the family members navigate their individual lives and face larger impacts on the family unit. The story is told in a multiple narrative structure with four family members telling their story.

Another piece Kelly presented appeared in the Women of Appalachia Project’s fifth volume entitled “Women Speak” which can be purchased at mountainstatepress.org/shop/women-speak/.

Aside from fiction, Kelly has also written and published creative non-fiction. Her essay “What to Do on a Day Like This” details the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting events and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. The essay was originally published in the June 2016 issue of r.kv.r.y. quarterly literary journal and may be read at rkvryquarterly.com/what-to-do-on-a-day-like-this-by-danielle-kelly/.

“I enjoy writing because it allows for some flexibility and is all about letting the content dictate the form, so every piece is a process of discovery for the writer,” Kelly said. “I communicate the same philosophy with my students, that writing is messy and never truly complete, but we have to mine out the right ideas to find the gold amidst the dirt.”

Students, faculty, or staff interested in creative writing may contact danielle.kelly@wvup.edu. The WVU Parkersburg English Department re-established “The Poorhouse Rag,” the campus’ literary magazine, and looks to start a Creative Writing Club and offer creative writing classes to students.

To watch Kelly’s Little Kanawha Reading Series presentation, visit https://bit.ly/3kRU5vr.

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