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Arnoult wins Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing

Arnoult-E-(1).jpgDarnell Arnoult of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, is the 2017 recipient of the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Achievement in Appalachian Writing.

The 22nd individual to receive the award, she joins such illustrious writers from the region as James Still, Donald Ray Pollock, Crystal Wilkinson, George Ella Lyon and Scott McClanahan.

Arnoult will be honored in a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. at CoffeeTree Books. She also will read from her work.

A question-and-answer session with Arnoult will take place on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 12:30 p.m. in 206 Bert Combs Building. Both events are free and open to the public.

Arnoult is the writer in residence at Lincoln Memorial University. Her latest book, a collection of poems titled "Galaxie Wagon," earned her the Chaffin Award. She has published two other books: another poetry collection, "What Travels With Us," and a novel, "Sufficient Grace." Shorter works have appeared in such publications as Southwest Review, Now and Then, Southern Exposure, and Appalachian Heritage. She also been awarded the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature, SIBA Poetry Book of the Year Award, Mary Frances Hobson Medal for Arts and Letters, and in 2007 was named Tennessee Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Writers Alliance.

The Chaffin jury (MSU creative writing faculty members Carmen Edington, Chris Holbrook, Alex Taylor and Dr. Tom Williams) received more than 100 submissions for the 2017 prize.

What separated Arnoult’s work from the considerable accomplishments of other nominees was her ability to, according to Edington, “capture the natural beauty of the region without sentimentality, and treat her characters with dignity, wit and warmth.”

Administered through MSU’s Department of English, the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing gives students the opportunity to interact with a published author writing from the region. The award, which includes a cash prize of $1,000, recognizes outstanding Appalachian writers in poetry, fiction and nonfiction.

The award is supported by the Buckner and Sally S. Hinkle Endowment for Humanities, Morehead State Public Radio, MSU’s Department of English and Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Additional information is available by calling Williams, English chair, at 606-783-9448.