Kentucky author Jason Howard has been appointed editor of the literary quarterly Appalachian Heritage at Berea College, announced Dr. Chris Green, director of the college’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center.
Howard is the award-winning author or editor of three acclaimed books and numerous short works of creative nonfiction. He brings more than 11 years of editing experience to the position, including at a national magazine,an online literary journal, an independent publishing house, a small business and an environmental nonprofit.
“Jason Howard knows, cherishes, and fights for Appalachia—its literature and music, its people and mountains,” says Green. “Jason is an excellent editor and writer who understands the contemporary literature in and out of the mountains. He knows how to run a magazine and plans to expand Appalachian Heritage’s reach on the web and in the world. I am excited he’s going to be guiding Appalachia’s most important literary magazine.”
Howard succeeds George Brosi, who announced his retirement earlier this fall following 11 successful years at the helm of Appalachian Heritage, broadening its scope and strengthening its reputation. The magazine, founded by Kentucky poet Albert Stewart in 1973, has had a storied history since its inception in Knott County, Kentucky.
Appalachian Heritage has published national and regional writers including Lee Smith, bell hooks, Wendell Berry, Silas House, Harriette Arnow, James Still, Jim Wayne Miller, Crystal Wilkinson, Maurice Manning, Pamela Duncan, Nikki Giovanni, Loyal Jones, George Ella Lyon, Ron Rash and Robert Morgan among many others. It also has dedicated issues to African-American Appalachian authors and members of the Eastern Band of Cherokees.
Among Howard’s works are “A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music” (2012), “Something’s Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal” (2009 with Silas House) and the environmental anthology “We All Live Downstream” (2009). His features, essays, reviews and commentary have been widely anthologized and have appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Sojourners, Equal Justice Magazine, Paste, The Louisville Review, Appalachian Heritage, in the international magazine Revolve, and on National Public Radio (NPR).
Through the years, Howard has established himself as one of the South’s finest music writers, interviewing musicians from a wide range of genres including Yoko Ono, Dwight Yoakam, Naomi Judd, Patty Griffin, Ricky Skaggs, Nappy Roots, Joan Osborne, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Jean Ritchie.
As former senior editor and writer for Equal Justice Magazine, Howard wrote investigative articles on subjects such as the efforts of Eastern Kentucky miners to receive black lung benefits, assisted adoption cases in Manhattan and an eminent domain case before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2009, he co-founded Still: The Journal, Appalachia’s first online literary magazine, with House and acclaimed poet Marianne Worthington, for which he served as creative nonfiction editor until this fall.
Howard was awarded the 2013 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the Kentucky Arts Council, and was a finalist for the 2013 Kentucky Literary Award and the 2011 Roosevelt-Ashe Society Outstanding Journalist in Conservation Award. From 2010 to 2012, he was a James Still Fellow at the University of Kentucky.
A southeastern Kentucky native, Howard holds a bachelor’s degree in political communication from The George Washington University and a master’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky. He will graduate with a master’s of fine arts degree in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts in January 2014.