Hear from "Another Appalachia" author Neema Avashia at Rural Assembly Everywhere

Join us for this dynamic conversation between Neema Avashia, author of “Another Appalachia: Coming up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place” and writer Skyler Baker-Jordan at Rural Assembly Everywhere May 10th and 11th. 

Another Appalachia: Growing up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place examines both the roots and the resonance of Avashia’s identity as a queer, desi, Appalachian woman, while encouraging readers to envision more complex versions of both Appalachia and the nation as a whole.

With lyric and narrative explorations of foodways, religion, sports, standards of beauty, social media, gun culture, and more, Another Appalachia mixes nostalgia and humor, sadness and sweetness, personal reflection and universal questions.

“I was born and raised in the Kanawha Valley to Indian immigrant parents who moved to Appalachia in the early 70s so my father could work in the chemical industry,” Avashia writes on her website. “I was lucky enough to grow up on a street with loving neighbors, and to have an extended network of aunties and uncles who became family over the course of our years together. Since leaving West Virginia, I’ve struggled to reconcile my nostalgia for the place where I grew up with the troubling realities of unemployment and addiction that confront the state today. In particular, I often find myself grappling with how those realities have led many West Virginians, including some who are like family to me, to vote for politicians who vocally denounce the existence of people like me.”

Skylar Baker-Jordan recently reviewed the book for the Daily Yonder. As a gay Appalachian writer himself, the connections he draws to Avashia’s story will make this a dynamic and memorable conversation.

In the review, Baker-Jordan writes that an “inherited, out-of-place identity” informs the essays in Avashia’s book:  “Another Appalachia reads as Avashia’s attempt to meld the various labels – Indian and American; Appalachian and Bostonian; gender non-conforming gay woman and daughter of both conservative Hindu parents and the Bible Belt – she so frequently finds conflicting with one another. She mostly succeeds, in turns causing the reader to laugh out loud or sit in a poignant silence as they reflect on the profundity of her words.” 

Register now for this conversation and more at Rural Assembly Everywhere May 10th and 11th. 

Rural Assembly Everywhere is a virtual festival for rural advocates and the rural-curious, listeners and leaders, neighbors and admirers. We’ll enjoy two days of programming, featuring artists and poets, civic leaders, and experts. Save your free spot now!  

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