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Voice Lessons


Tug your voice up from the water, a friend told Karen Salyer McElmurray. Let it swell to bursting, a wicked and beautiful bloom. Here, the writer heeds that friend’s advice. In luminous prose, McElmurray’s voice rises up and carries with it the echoes and textures of the people and places she’s known—the murmurs of odd-turned women, the creak of old floorboards, the ringing of temple bells. More than anything, these lyrical essays bear witness to the necessity and transcendence of language itself—its extraordinary resplendence, balm and light.


—Sonja Livingston, author of Ghostbread

Wanting Radiance


Reading Wanting Radiance is like inhabiting the best country music song you've ever heard--the high lonesome, heartbroken, wanting and not having sort of song--with the added feature of a tough, smart guide who sees deep and who can say, "I ached with lonely and I wanted to be alone and I wanted nothing at all to do with my own self."  And that's not the only brilliant sentence in this memorable novel.  I loved reading it.

Josephine Humphries, Rich in Love

"Provocative, electric, occasionally heart-rending, occasionally hilarious, but always thoughtful and essential.”

~Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire

"Just the kind of story a shaman might have used, once upon a time, to unite the tribes again." 


~Adam Elenbaas, Reality Sandwich

The Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature

The Lit Life 2008 Novel of the Year

"A moving meditation on loss and memory and the rendering of truth and story."


~The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction

National Book Critics Circle Notable Book

Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing

"Powerful and haunting . . . a gutsy and innovative addition to regional literature."


~Appalachian Heritage

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