Meredith Sue Willis's Out of the Mountains is a collection of thirteen short stories set in contemporary Appalachia. Firmly grounded in place, the stories voyage out into the conflicting cultural identities that native Appalachians experience as they balance mainstream and mountain identities.
Willis's stories explore the complex negotiations between longtime natives of the region and its newcomers and the rifts that develop within families over current issues such as mountaintop removal and homophobia. Always, however, the situations depicted in these stories are explored in the service of a deeper understanding of the people involved, and of the place. This is not the mythic version of Appalachia, but the Appalachia of the twenty-first century.
Meredith Sue Willis is the author of more than fifteen books, including novels for adults, novels for children, collections of short stories, nonfiction about the art of writing and her most recent Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel. She teaches novel writing at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies.