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Talking Appalachia with Bob Edwards

by Beth Newberry

When Graham Shelby, writer and radio journalist, interviewed radio legend  and Kentucky-native Bob Edwards for Kentucky Public Radio about his memoir, A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio, and the two ventured into a conversation about regionalism, identity and stereotypes as well. “[Appalachia’s] the throw away zone of America,” says Edwards. “It’s owned by out-of-state interests, mostly energy companies and other corporate interests, who take from eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.” Listen to the radio segment.

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App Lingo

ex-App: An ex-Appalachian (in abbreviated form, ex-App) is a person temporarily or permanently residing outside of Appalachia, the region of their upbringing, heritage or heart. Example: Bob’s an ex-App, he lives here in Seattle now, but hails from Southwest Virginia and is totally back home proud.

Urban Appalachian: An Appalachian living in one of the region’s cities or a city on the region’s fringes.

Urba-lachia: What happens when you say urban Appalachia real fast.

Urban Appalachia: Who, Where and What is it?!

By Niki King

Say the word “Appalachian” and many images come to mind.  A city skyline may not be among them. And maybe that’s our own fault. Our cities haven’t been a hot topic in the Appalachian Studies community and there are few representations of our regional urbanity in art, media and literature.
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Between the Bricks and the Sticks

by Beth Newberry

It’s 1982.

I am five years old.

I stand with my dad and a neighbor, both their faces beyond my sight line, their words floating down in the barely-cool air of dusk. My dad tells our neighbor that we are going soon on a trip to Virginia to visit family. My father describes the small, mountain towns he and my mother are from, and the neighbor looks at me and says, “Oh, but you’re a city girl.” Read more

A City of Small-Town People: Jenny Barton Chadourne Calls Knoxville Home

By Beth Newberry

Appalachians living beyond the hills and who are trying to return to the region often search for a new hometown that combines the best of “back home” and the cities they are leaving behind. For many returning Appalachians, the search often includes finding a new city or town that has urban amenities, as well as close proximity to family (but not too close), the visual beauty of the Appalachia, and close-connectedness of the culture and  job opportunities. An impossible combination? Maybe not as unimaginable as many ex-Apps or outsiders might think. Read more

A Conversation with Urban Appalachian Scholar Phillip J. Obermiller

by Niki King

Look up “urban Appalachian” and you’re sure to find the Urban Appalachian Council, which has worked since 1974 to “promote a decent quality of life for Appalachian people of Greater Cincinnati” through direct services and advocacy.  They’ve also created an astounding body of research, that taken together, traces the experience of Appalachians in Cincinnati and other Mid-western cities over the last 40 years. This fall, The HillVille caught up with Phil Obermiller, a longstanding member of the Council’s Research Committee who has written extensively on the subject, to find out what’s new. Read more

You Can’t Go Home Again

By L.S. McKee

On many levels, Kingsport, Tennessee is home. I grew up here, my parents were born down the road in Bristol, and generations before lived in the hills of Southwest Virginia. On other levels—the willful, self-inscribed ones—it isn’t. I’ve always bragged on its beauty, its music, its people, and in the same breath swore it was a place where I would never live again. What it could give, I assumed, had already been given. Read more

It’s Almost Time: The HillVille Debuts Monday!

By Niki King

That’s right, friends and dear readers, it’s less than a week away. We are in a state of frenzy putting the final pieces together for our first edition launch. Read more