Northern Panhandle Writers Garner Honors

West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman of Wheeling, fellow Wheeling resident Sean Duffy and Weirton native Anna Egan Smucker are among the poets, essayists and fiction writers who have work published in the 2018 volume of “Anthology of Appalachian Writers.”

The 10th volume of Shepherd University’s anthology series honors novelist Wiley Cash, a former member of the English faculty of Bethany College. Cash, who wrote his celebrated first novel while teaching at Bethany, has had two other acclaimed novels published since returning to his native North Carolina.

The anthology series, published by Shepherd University and the West Virginia Center for the Book, features poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction of writers in the region and across the nation. Officials said this year’s volume “features an array of Pushcart writers, several Weatherford Award winners and the work of two state poet laureates.”

Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, Appalachian studies coordinator at Shepherd University and managing editor of this volume, called the book “one of our best anthologies ever.”

Cash, who served as editorial adviser for the anthology, was the 2017 Appalachian Heritage writer-in-residence at Shepherd. His first novel, “A Land More Kind Than Home,” was the state Common Read selection by the West Virginia Center for the Book.

This volume of the anthology series contains original and previously unpublished work by Cash, as well as an interview and essay on his writing.

Literary editors for the anthology include Brianna Maguire, David O. Hoffman and Natalie Sypolt.

The new book can be purchased at Four Seasons Books, the Shepherd University book store, Tamarack and others outlets.


Former Paden City resident J. Ford Huffman, a book reviewer for the Military Times, has won a national award for commentary.

Huffman has been recognized in the Military Reporters & Editors association’s annual defense journalism award competition. The contest covered work produced in 2017 in several categories.

The sponsoring association has been called “the pre-eminent organization for U.S. media professionals specializing in national security.”

In announcing the awards, the competition’s judges stated, “J. Ford Huffman of the Military Times is one of the few regular sources of helpful commentary about contemporary military-related fiction and nonfiction, and his reviews in 2017 exemplified that. His more than 300 reviews over the years include his annual must-read lists that provide a great service to all of those interested in the military.”

He and the other winners of this year’s competition will be recognized at the association’s annual conference at the Navy League of the United States headquarters in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 26.

Huffman is a former designer and copy editor for the Wheeling News-Register. Later, he worked for many years as a designer for USA Today and other Gannett publications. Since leaving the Gannett corporation, he has served as a freelance designer and consultant for newspapers in the United States and in India.

Also a gifted artist, Huffman has had his work featured in exhibitions in Washington, D.C. In addition, he has designed theatrical sets for productions at Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre in Wheeling and for other projects. Early in his career, he did design work for Bethany College Theatre.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer.net.


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