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7/9 - Storytelling in Queer Appalachia

Union Ave Books and Choice Health Network Harm Reduction welcome the editors (Hillery Glasby, Sherrie Gradin, & Rachel Ryerson) and contributors (delfin bautista, Adam Denney, & Kim Gunter) to present the collection STORYTELLING IN QUEER APPALACHIA: IMAGINING AND WRITING THE UNSPEAKABLE OTHER. This free virtual event takes place on  July 9TH @ 7pm on Zoom, send an RSVP to to attend. Please include the the title of the book STORYTELLING IN QUEER APPALACHIA in the subject line. We will send the zoom link the day of the event. 

Purchase the book here:

To learn more about how Choice Health Network Harm Reduction provides compassionate care to empower, promote and inspire wellness, visit

This is a part of an ongoing series & partnership "APPALACHIAN STORYTELLING AS HARM REDUCTION"

Harm reduction is a social justice philosophy that is about meeting people where they are at and reducing the negative consequences of policies and cultural constructs as well as individual actions. While this philosophy was created by and for people who use drugs, it is applicable to broader social issues and populations who face discrimination. Storytelling through fiction and non-fiction creates spaces in which to reduce harms, especially those associated with stigma and antipathy. We see the immediate need of harm reduction and storytelling in Appalachia, and so we have brought together many writers, scholars, and activists working to meet people where they are in this region.


In one of the first collections of scholarship at the intersection of LGBTQ studies and Appalachian studies, voices from the region’s valleys, hollers, mountains, and campuses blend personal stories with scholarly and creative examinations of living and surviving as queers in Appalachia. The essayists collected in Storytelling in Queer Appalachia are academics, social workers, riot grrrl activists, teachers, students, practitioners, scholars of divinity, and boundary crossers, all imagining how to make legible the unspeakable other of Appalachian queerness.
Focusing especially on disciplinary approaches from rhetoric and composition, the volume explores sexual identities in rural places, community and individual meaning-making among the Appalachian diaspora, the storytelling infrastructure of queer Appalachia, and the role of the metronormative in discourses of difference. Storytelling in Queer Appalachia affirms queer people, fights for queer visibility over queer erasure, seeks intersectional understanding, and imagines radically embodied queer selves through social media.


Hillery Glasby is an assistant professor in Michigan State University’s writing, rhetoric, and American cultures department and a faculty fellow for MSU’s Center for Gender in Global Context. She teaches writing courses focused on rhetoric and culture, sexual literacy, environmental sustainability, women’s studies, and LGBTQ studies. Her research interests include LGBTQ and feminist movements; digital, DIY, and queer rhetorics; and writing center and writing program administration. She adores cats, coffee, street art, 1940s music, and the Grateful Dead.
Sherrie Gradin is professor of English and director of the Ohio University Appalachian Writing Project. Her research interests include rural queer identities, composition theory, trauma, affect theory, and feminist studies. Her life is enriched by many dogs, a cat, and her younger queer colleagues who consistently remind her why we gotta stick together.

Rachael Ryerson is a lecturer at Ohio University and director of their composition program. Her research interests include (queer/ing) writing pedagogies, multimodal composing practices and processes, and comics rhetoric and composition, especially their relationship to sexuality and gender. Her most recent scholarship considers queer, multimodal rhetoric in queer comics. In her free time, she thinks about teaching writing, drinks copious amounts of coffee, reads and writes about comics, and experiments with vegan cooking and baking.

delfin bautista is an activist scholar of faith who explores the intersections of religion, queer theory, activism, resiliency, and intersectionality. delfin has a master’s in divinity from Yale University and a master’s of social work from the University of Pennsylvania. delfin is coauthor of “Religion and Spirituality” in Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (Oxford University Press, 2014) and a contributor to Believe Out Loud, Young Adult Catholics, and La Lucha, Mi Pulpito. delfin’s eclectic background includes trauma therapy, chaplaincy, case management, advocacy, child welfare, and adjunct professorship. (delfin does not capitalize their name and uses they/them pronouns.)

Adam Denney (he, him)  is an interdisciplinary scholar, author, and creative strategist whose work is centered around critical place-making, storytelling, affect, performance, and aesthetics. Adam holds a MA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Cincinnati and is currently completing his MFA in Design Thinking at Radford University. 

Kimberly Gunter is an associate professor of English and director of Core Writing at Fairfield University. Her research interests include queerness and intersectionality as they inform the teaching of writing, writing program administration, public rhetorics, and rhetorical agency. She lives in the wilds of Connecticut with two septuagenarian parents, a long-suffering partner, and a three-legged dog named Levon. Both she and the dog regularly threaten to pack their harpoons and start walking toward the state line.

Event Date: 
Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 7:00pm
517 Union Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37902
Storytelling in Queer Appalachia: Imagining and Writing the Unspeakable Other Cover Image
By Hillery Glasby (Editor), Sherrie Gradin (Editor), Rachael Ryerson (Editor)
ISBN: 9781949199482
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: West Virginia University Press - May 11th, 2020

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