February 24-27, 2016
Thursday Opening Plenary Session Speaker
Silas House is the author of five novels: Clay’s Quilt (2001), A Parchment of Leaves (2003), The Coal Tattoo (2004), Eli the Good (2009), Same Sun Here (co-authored with Neela Vaswani, 2012); three plays, The Hurting Part (2005), Long Time Travelling (2009), This Is My Heart For You (2012); and Something’s Rising (2009), a creative nonfiction book about social protest co-authored with Jason Howard. House was selected to edit the posthumous manuscript of acclaimed writer James Still, Chinaberry (2011). He has recently finished his novel Little Fire, which will be published in 2014.
House serves as the NEH Chair of Appalachian Literature at Berea College and on the fiction faculty at Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. House is a former commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered" and a former contributing editor for No Depression magazine, where he has done long features on such artists as Lucinda Williams, Nickel Creek, and many others. He is also one of Nashville’s most in-demand press kit writers, having written the press kit bios for such artists as Kris Kristofferson, Kathy Mattea, Leann Womack, and others. A former writer-in-residence at Lincoln Memorial University, he is the creator of the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival.
House is the winner of the E. B. White Award, the Audie Award (best narration), the Nautilus Award, a two-time finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Novel of the Year, the Appalachian Writer of the Year, recipient of the Lee Smith Award, the Hobson Medal for Literature, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Chaffin Prize for Literature, the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, The Parents' Choice Award, and many other honors. For his environmental activism House received the Helen Lewis Community Service Award in 2008 from the Appalachian Studies Association. In 2010, he was awarded the Intellectual Freedom Award from the Kentucky Council of English Teachers.
House’s work can be found in The New York Times, Newsday, Oxford American, Bayou, The Southeast Review, The Louisville Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Wind, Night Train, and others, as well as in the anthologies The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume 3, New Stories From the South 2004: The Year’s Best, Christmas in the South,
House was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky. He is the father of two daughters and has three dogs: Rufus, Holly, and Pepper. He divides his time between London and Berea, Kentucky.
Friday Annual Luncheon Speaker
Arthur Golden is the author of the bestselling novel Memoirs of a Geisha (1997). Seventeen years after its release, this gracefully written book remains a modern classic. Golden is a member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family (owners of the New York Times). His mother, Ruth Holmberg, is a daughter of long-time Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger and granddaughter of Times owner and publisher Adolph Ochs.
Golden was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, grew up on Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and attended Lookout Mountain Elementary School in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. He spent his middle and high school years at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, graduating in 1974. He attended Harvard University and received a degree in art history, specializing in Japanese art. In 1980, he earned an M.A. in Japanese history at Columbia University, where he also learned Mandarin Chinese. After a summer at Peking University in Beijing, China, he worked in Tokyo. When he returned to the United States, he earned an M.A. in English at Boston University. He currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. He has a son and a daughter.
After its release in 1997, Memoirs of a Geisha spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list. It has sold more than four million copies in English and has been translated into thirty-two languages around the world. Memoirs of a Geisha was written over a 6-year period during which Golden rewrote the entire novel three times, changing the point of view before finally settling on the first person viewpoint of Sayuri. Interviews with a number of geisha, including Mineko Iwasaki, provided background information about the world of the geisha. In 2005, Memoirs of a Geisha was made into a feature film, directed by Rob Marshall, garnering three Academy Awards.
Golden is currently writing his second novel, which traces the life of a young European immigrant's journey to America in the 1800's. He reports that his long-awaited sophomore effort will be released in the months preceding his appearance at TYCA-SE 2016.
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