West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman has been elected to the Wheeling Hall of Fame in the category of music and fine arts.
The Hall of Fame board announced that Harshman and four others will be inducted during a banquet at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling on Saturday, April 20. Doors will be open for the general public at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased from Hall of Fame board members.
The past 12 months have been a banner year for the Wheeling resident who was named poet laureate by West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin last May. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Bethany College, his alma mater, on March 7. During the Wheeling Arts Fest last July, Mayor Andy McKenzie honored Harshman with the inaugural Harshman Distinguished Arts Award. He delivered the Hughes Lecture at West Liberty University on Oct. 3.
Harshman is the state's seventh poet laureate and the first from the Northern Panhandle. He has published three chapbooks of poetry and a recent full-length collection, "Green-Silver and Silent," spanning 30 years of work. His poems have appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies.
He is also an award-winning author of 11 nationally recognized children's books. He is a lecturer, workshop leader and professional storyteller.
Harshman received a poetry fellowship (2000) and a fellowship in children's literature (2008) from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. In 1994, he earned a fellowship from the University of Minnesota to research Scandinavian myth and folklore.
The writer has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has won a Literal Latte Journal award for his prose poems. Other honors include a 1995 Smithsonian Notable Book for Children prize (for "The Storm") and a Parent's Choice Award. He was named the 1995 West Virginia English Teacher of the Year. His prose poem, "In the Company of Heaven," won a Newport Review flash fiction contest.
A native of Indiana, Harshman has lived most of his adult life in the Northern Panhandle. He has said that his three decades in West Virginia are "a singular blessing" to his writer's life. After residing in Marshall County for many years, he and his wife, Cheryl Ryan Harshman, and their daughter, Sarah, moved to Wheeling in 2001.
Before turning his attention to writing full-time, Harshman taught in Marshall County elementary schools from 1986 to 1997. He continues to visit schools throughout West Virginia and in other states as a visiting author and workshop leader.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies from Bethany College in 1973, a master's degree in religion and the arts from Yale University Divinity School in 1975 and a master's degree in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1978.