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Lunch With Books Welcomes Author Denise Giardina

WHEELING — The Ohio County Public Library’s next weekly Lunch With Books program will feature a conversation with legendary West Virginia writer Denise Giardina as part of the Reuther-Pollack Labor Heritage Week.

The program takes place at noon on Tuesday at the library.

The group will discuss “Storming Heaven” (a novel of Blair Mountain) and other works with Giardina, whose novels have won the American Book Award, the Lillian Smith Award for fiction and the Boston Book Review fiction prize.

Her roots run deep in the coal mines of Appalachia and stories about coal miners, companies and unions are at the center of two of her books. Her words may be fiction, but they describe the true experiences of underground coal mining in West Virginia.

Giardina grew up in a West Virginia coal mining camp called Black Wolf. Many family members worked underground, though her mother was a nurse and her father a bookkeeper for a coal company. They moved to Charleston when the mining camp closed. She graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1973, later earning a master’s in Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Though she is currently a deacon in the Episcopal Church, and teaches at West Virginia State University, Giardina has spent much of her career writing. As well as being a writer, Giardina has been an activist for environmental justice since the 1970s. Her pride in her Appalachian background informs her writing and helps drive her fight to protect the mountains and people she loves. 

For more information, visit www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/denise-giardin.

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