Ron Rash

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Ron Rash
Born (1953-09-25) September 25, 1953 (age 63)
Chester, South Carolina, United States
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Education Bachelor of Arts
Masters of Arts
Alma mater Gardner-Webb University, Clemson University
Notable works Serena,
Burning Bright,
The Cove,
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Notable awards Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award
Spouse Ann Rash
Children 1 daughter, 1 son

Ron Rash (born September 25, 1953), an American poet, short story writer and novelist, is the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University.[1]

Early life[edit]

Rash was born on September 25, 1953 in Chester, South Carolina and grew up in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University and Clemson University from which he holds a B.A. and M.A. in English, respectively.[2] In 1994 he published his first book, a collection of short stories titled The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth. Since then, Rash has published three collections of poetry, three short story collections, and four novels, all to wide critical acclaim. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.


Rash's poems and stories have appeared in more than 100 magazines and journals. With each new book, Rash has confirmed his position as a central and significant Appalachian writer alongside well-established names like Fred Chappell, Lee Smith, and Robert Morgan.[3] Serena received enthusiastic reviews across and beyond the United States and was a 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist.

In addition to being a bestselling novelist, Rash has achieved international acclaim as a short story author,[4] winning the Frank O'Connor Award in 2010 for Burning Bright. [5] Recent work such as The Outlaws (Oxford American, Summer, 2013) demonstrates Rash's ability to create universal tragedies out of ordinary lives in southern Appalachia. Scholars have praised his ability to find the universal within the particulars of place, citing his writing's "universal appeal, lyrical grace, and narrative efficiency." [6]

List of works[edit]


  • Raising the Dead (2002)[10]
    • Deals with loss and displacement as a result of the flooding of Jocassee Valley, S.C.
  • Waking (2011)[11]

Short story collections[edit]

  • The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth and Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina (1994)[12]
  • Casualties (2000)[13]
  • Chemistry and Other Stories (2007)[14]
    • Thirteen short stories, eight of which were previously published in Casualties ("Chemistry," "Last Rite," "Not Waving But Drowning," "Overtime," "Cold Harbor", "Honesty", "Dangerous Love," "The Projectionist's Wife,"). Also includes the O. Henry Prize Winner "Speckled Trout" as well as "Pemberton's Bride," a story that gives a taste of Rash's forthcoming novel.
  • Burning Bright (2010)
  • Nothing Gold Can Stay (2013)
  • Something Rich and Strange (2014)


  • One Foot in Eden (2002)[15][16]
    • Fleshes out the characters and themes of Raising the Dead. It tells the story of a community displaced disguised as a murder mystery and imbued with Rash's poetic language.
  • Saints at the River (2004)[17][18]
    • About a South Carolina community torn over the issue of environmentalism.
  • The World Made Straight (2006)[19]
    • Both a coming-of-age story set in the 1970s Appalachia and a meditation on the role of the past in the present, in this case a Civil War massacre that has divided Madison County, N.C. ever since.
  • Serena (2008)[20]
    • The ambitious wife of a North Carolina timber baron, Serena, brings the spirit of Lady MacBeth to depression-era North Carolina.
  • The Cove (2012)
    • A family is afflicted with a series of grave misfortunes. Their lives, particularly Laurel’s, are interrupted at the arrival of a mute stranger who has been found after suffering a severe number of wasp stings.
  • Above the Waterfall (2015)
    • Set in contemporary Appalachia, about lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land.
  • The Risen (2016)[21]

Children's book[edit]

  • The Shark's Tooth (2001)

Magazine publications[edit]


  • 1987: General Electric Younger Writers Award
  • 1996: The Sherwood Anderson Prize
  • 2002: Novello Literary Award (One Foot in Eden)
  • 2002: ForeWord Magazine's Gold Medal in Literary Fiction (One Foot in Eden)
  • 2002: Appalachian Book of the Year (One Foot in Eden)
  • 2004: Fiction Book of the Year by the Southern Book Critics Circle (Saints at the River)
  • 2004: Fiction Book of the Year by the Southeastern Booksellers Association (Saints at the River)
  • 2004: Weatherford Award for Best Novel of 2004 (Saints at the River)
  • 2005: James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers
  • The Short story "Speckled Trout" was included in the 2005 O. Henry Prize Stories.[22] This story formed the basis for the first chapter of The World Made Straight.[23]
  • 2008: Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (Chemistry and Other Stories)
  • 2009: Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (Serena) [24]
  • 2010: Heasley Prize at Lyon College
  • 2010: Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award (Burning Bright)
  • 2010: Inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors
  • 2011: SIBA Book Award (Fiction) for Burning Bright
  • 2012: David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction for The Cove [25]

New York Times Bestseller list[edit]

  • Serena was listed as #34 for Hardcover Fiction in the November 2, 2008 issue of The New York Times Book Review.[26]
  • The Cove was listed as #16 for Hardcover Fiction in the April 29, 2012 issue of The New York Times Book Review and remained on the list as #29, #22, and #31 for the three subsequent weeks.[27]
  • Nothing Gold Can Stay was listed as #28 for Hardcover Fiction in the March 10, 2013 issue of The New York Times Book Review.[28]


  1. ^ "SERENA by Ron Rash" (Press release). Literary Agency Marly Rusoff & Associates, Inc. March 11, 2008. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Critically Acclaimed writer Ron Rash Named WCU's Parris Professor" (Press release). Western Carolina University. September 11, 2003. 
  4. ^ Review of Burning Bright', The Independent (UK), August 21, 2011 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lang, John (2013), Understanding Ron Rash, University of South Carolina Press 
  7. ^ Rash, Ron (1998). Eureka Mill. Columbia, SC: Bench Press. ISBN 0-930769-14-7. 
  8. ^ Rash, Ron (September 2001). Eureka Mill (Paperback). Spartanburg, SC: Hub City Writers Project. p. 64 pp. ISBN 1-891885-20-0. 
  9. ^ Rash, Ron (2000). Among the Believers (Paperback). Oak Ridge, TN: Iris Press. ISBN 0-916078-50-7. 
  10. ^ Rash, Ron (2002). Raising the Dead (Paperback). Oak Ridge, TN: Iris Press. ISBN 0-916078-54-X. 
  11. ^ Rash, Ron (2011). Waking (Hardback). Spartanburg, SC: Hub City Press. ISBN 978-1-891885-82-2. 
  12. ^ Rash, Ron (1994). The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth and Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina. Columbia, SC: Bench Press. ISBN 0-930769-11-2. 
  13. ^ Rash, Ron (2000). Casualties. Beaufort, SC: Bench Press. ISBN 0-930769-14-7. 
  14. ^ Rash, Ron (2007). Chemistry and Other Stories. New York, NY: Picador. ISBN 0-312-42508-2. 
  15. ^ Rash, Ron (2002). One Foot in Eden (Hardcover). Charlotte, NC: Novello Festival Press. pp. 240 pp. ISBN 0-9708972-5-1. 
  16. ^ Rash, Ron (2004). One Foot in Eden (Trade paperback). New York: Picador. pp. 240 pp. ISBN 0-312-42305-5. 
  17. ^ Rash, Ron (2004). Saints at the River (Hardcover) (1st ed.). New York: Henry Holt. pp. 288 pp. ISBN 0-8050-7487-2. 
  18. ^ Rash, Ron (2005). Saints at the River (Trade paperback). New York: Picador. pp. 256 pp. ISBN 0-312-42491-4. 
  19. ^ Rash, Ron (April 2006). The World Made Straight (Hardcover) (1st ed.). New York: Henry Holt. pp. 304 pp. ISBN 0-8050-7866-5. 
  20. ^ Rash, Ron (October 2008). Serena (Hardcover) (1st ed.). New York: Ecco Press. pp. 371 pp. ISBN 978-0-06-147085-1. 
  21. ^ Rash, Ron (2016). The Risen. HarperCollins. 
  22. ^ "Past Winners List". The O. Henry Prize Stories. Retrieved 2006-05-02. 
  23. ^ "Author Spotlight: Ron Rash". The O. Henry Prize Stories. Retrieved 2006-05-02. 
  24. ^ "Past Winners List". PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  25. ^ "Past Winners List". David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^

External links[edit]