Appalachian Writers on their Favorite Bookstores

Appalachian Writers on their Favorite Bookstores

With its wealth of talented writers, it is not surprising that Appalachia is home to some amazing bookstores as well. We asked a few Appalachian authors about their favorite bookstores in the region.

Jeremy B. Jones won the 2014 Appalachian Book of the Year in nonfiction with his book Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland, and his essays have appeared in several literary magazines. He is from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University.

Favorite Bookstore: The Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville, NC

“The Fountainhead is an amazingly curated bookstore occupying a portion of a nearly 100-year-old building on the main street of my hometown in the mountains of NC. When writer friends pass through Hendersonville, they’re always taken aback by the wide-reaching literary selection of this little bookstore in my little town. The booksellers are smart, generous, and well-read. Close seconds: Malaprop’s (Asheville, NC), City Lights (Sylva, NC), and Prairie Lights (Iowa City, IA).”

Amy Greene is the author of two novels: Long Man (2014) and the New York Times bestseller, Bloodroot (2010). She is from the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Favorite Bookstore: Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

“My favorite bookstore is Union Avenue Books of Knoxville, TN. The owner, Flossie McNabb is warm and welcoming and, most of all, she knows and loves books. She has a staff of passionate readers, too. And it’s a beautiful store. I’m always proud to see my books on Union Ave’s shelves.”

Savannah Sipple was published in the Winter 2015 issue of Appalachian Heritage with her two poems, “To Even Be Different to Begin With Tears at Your Skin” and “The Mountain Man Searches for Signs of Change.” Her work has appeared in several other literary journals, and she is from Beattyville, Kentucky.

Favorite Bookstores: The Morris Book Shop and Wild Fig Books and Coffee, Lexington, KY

“My two favorite shops to haunt are both locally-owned, independent booksellers. I love The Morris Bookshop for a lot of reasons, the most important of which is its poetry section–it’s the most diverse in the city! The staff there is great, and they’re all really friendly. The other Lexington bookshop I love is Wild Fig Books & Coffee. Their inventory is highly curated and it keeps growing every day. They’re bringing in a diverse range of writers and speakers, but they’re also striving to host events that are relevant to Lexington and the surrounding physical community in the North Limestone neighborhood. Their salon series has dedicated one Sunday a month to discussions relevant to the LGBTQ community, and they are working to encourage the kids on Eddie Street and surrounding streets. Wild Fig is working to nurture Lexington in a way that is entirely unique from anything else.”

Caroline Hughes is a Student Associate at Appalachian Heritage. She will receive her degree in English with a Writing Concentration and minor in Music from Berea College in May 2016. In the past three years, she has traveled to Ireland, England, and Scotland on study abroad trips, and completed an internship at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, Kentucky. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school, continue writing, and travel the world.

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Crystal Wilkinson at 3:13 pm

    We are so grateful to Savannah Sipple and all the ways she’s promoted our bookstore Wild Fig Books and Coffee. We love that she’s a fan of ours and we LOVE her for her hard work and dedicated to all that we do! Independent bookstores thrive on word of mouth.

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