RITA SIMS QUILLEN

Author of 'Hiding Ezra,' 'Her Secret Dream: New and Selected Poems', 'Something Solid to Anchor To' and 'The Mad Farmer's Wife'

Rita Quillen’s novel Hiding Ezra is forthcoming in 2014 from Little Creek Books; it was a finalist in the 2005 DANA Awards competition, and a chapter of the novel is included in the new scholarly study of Appalachian dialect just published by the University of Kentucky Press entitled Talking Appalachian.

One of six finalists for the 2012-14 Poet Laureate of Virginia, her poetry received a Pushcart nomination as well as a Best of the Net nomination in 2012. Her most recent collection Her Secret Dream, new and selected poems, is from Wind Press in Kentucky and was named the Outstanding Poetry Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association in 2008.  Previous works are poetry collections October Dusk and Counting The Sums, as well as a book of essays Looking for Native Ground: Contemporary Appalachian Poetry.

 She lives and farms on Early Autumn Farm in Scott County, Virginia.

Hiding Ezra reminds me of Charles Frazier’s ‘Cold Mountain,’ as a deserter from World War I struggles for two years to evade arrest and to survive in the rugged mountains of southwest Virginia. Only such a widely respected poet as Rita Quillen would have written prose that so powerfully evokes the savage splendor of these mountains. I devoured this book without a break, driven to discover the fate of Ezra, a genial young man caught up in the conflicting demands of patriotism, family loyalty, and first love. Anyone who loves Appalachia, or just good fiction, will want to read this fine novel.
— LISA ALTHER, author of 'Kinflicks,' 'Blood Feud-The Hatfields and McCoys.'
Rita Sims Quillen has written a poet’s novel, in which the beauty of the prose heightens the drama of the narrative, and deepens our love for the characters at the heart of the story. ‘Hiding Ezra’ brings a time and place to life in such vivid depiction that it is easy to forget we are reading fiction, and not hearing a tale told directly from a wise and gifted friend. The way the characters speak captures the nuances of a true native tongue, makes their tale of the World War I and its consequences unforgettable. The subtle authenticity of Appalachian speech in ‘Hiding Ezra’ deserves comparison with the fiction of Robert Morgan and Lee Smith; in other words, with only the best.
— JESSE GRAVES, author of 'Tennessee Landscape With the Blighted Pines'
“Hiding Ezra is that rare literary page-turner, the kind of book that is so action packed we want to keep flying through, but so lovingly written that we want to savor the language. Quillen provides not only action and lyricism but also a deep emotional understanding of the complexities of war, loyalty and family in a novel populated by a vivid sense of place and endearing characters we will not soon forget.”
— -Silas House, author of 'Clay's Quilt', 'Eli the Good' & 'Coal Tattoo'
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