A Conversation with Shawna Kay Rodenberg and Robert Gipe About Appalachian Memoir

Your Library is hosting an author talk with Appalachian writers Shawna Kay Rodenberg and Robert Gipe on Saturday, September 10 at 3 p.m. We’re partnering with our local independent bookstore, Atlas Books, for the event.

Authors Rodenberg and Gipe will discuss Rodenberg’s 2021 memoir Kin. After their conversation they will hold a Q&A session with the audience.

Atlas Books will be at the talk with the authors’ books for sale, and both Rodenberg and Gipe will sign purchased copies of their work. Ten percent of Atlas’s sales from this event will be donated to flood relief in Eastern Kentucky.

About Kin

Kin is Rodenberg’s debut memoir. It was nominated for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. The Washington Post deemed the book “essential reading”, and it appeared on Oprah Daily’s 2021 Summer Reading List.

Bloomsbury Publishing USA calls Kin a “heart stopping memoir of a wrenching Appalachian girlhood and a multilayered portrait of a misrepresented people.”

The book chronicles Rodenberg’s childhood in an off-the-grid End Times religious community in Minnesota and her family’s eventual return to their roots in Eastern Kentucky.

Kin is “above all about family—about the forgiveness and love within its bounds—and generations of Appalachians who have endured, harmed, and held each other through countless lifetimes of personal and regional tragedy.”

About Rodenberg and Gipe

Shawna Kay Rodenberg holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her reviews and essays have appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, and Elle. Rodenberg was awarded the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in 2016, and in 2017 she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. A registered nurse, mother of five, and grandmother of two, she lives on a hobby goat farm in southern Indiana.

Robert Gipe won the Weatherford Award for outstanding Appalachian novel for his first novel, Trampoline (2015). His other books include Weedeater (2018) and Pop (2021). In 2021, the trilogy won the Judy Gaines Young Book Award. From 1997-2018, Gipe directed the Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College Appalachian Program in Harlan. Gipe is founding producer of the Higher Ground community performance series. He has served as a script consultant for the Hulu series Dopesick and was a producer on the feature film The Evening Hour. Gipe resides in Harlan County, Kentucky. He grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Call JCPL’s Adult Services at (423) 434-4454 to learn more about the author talk on Saturday, September 10.

Click here to find other engaging programs for adults at your Library. Visit jcpl.org, call (423) 434-4450, or drop by 100 West Millard Street to use Johnson City Public Library. Like Johnson City Public Library on Facebook and Instagram to receive daily updates on Library collections, services, and programs.

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