Sharyn McCrumb

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Sharyn McCrumb
Sharyn McCrumb circa 1997.jpg
Sharyn McCrumb
Born Sharyn Elaine Arwood
Wilmington, North Carolina
Citizenship United States
Education Master's degree
Alma mater University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Virginia Tech
Notable works Ballad series
Elizabeth MacPherson series
Notable awards Numerous

Sharyn McCrumb (born February 26, 1948)[1] is an American writer whose books celebrate the history and folklore of Appalachia. McCrumb is the winner of numerous literary awards, and the author of the Elizabeth McPherson series, the Ballad series, and the St. Dale series.

Early life[edit]

Sharyn McCrumb was born Sharyn Elaine Arwood on February 26, 1948, in Wilmington, North Carolina.[2]


McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer, perhaps best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, including the New York Times best sellers The Ballad of Frankie Silver and She Walks These Hills, and for St. Dale, winner of a Library of Virginia Award and featured at the National Festival of the Book. The Devil Amongst the Lawyers (2010) deals with the regional stereotyping of rural areas by national journalists. The Ballad of Tom Dooley (2011) tells the true story behind the celebrated folk song. In 2008 McCrumb was named a Virginia Woman of History for Achievement in Literature. Educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a master's degree in English from Virginia Tech, McCrumb was the first writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee. In 2005 she was honored as the Writer of the Year at Emory & Henry College.

Her novels, studied in universities throughout the world, have been translated into eleven languages, including French, German, Dutch, Japanese, Arabic, and Italian. She has lectured on her work at Oxford University, the University of Bonn-Germany, and at the Smithsonian Institution. McCrumb has also taught a writers workshop in Paris and served as writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee and at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York.[3]

In 2008 McCrumb was honored as one of the Library of Virginia's "Virginia Women in History" for her career.[4]


McCrumb is the author of The Ballad Novels, a series set in the Appalachian Mountains. These books weave together the legends, geography and contemporary issues of Appalachia, and each centers on an event from North Carolina history.[5][6]

Ballad series[edit]

St. Dale novels[edit]

In 2005, NASCAR racing fan McCrumb wrote St. Dale.[7] Her inspiration for the novel came from her study of medieval literature at Virginia Tech and her desire to update Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. It was Dale Earnhardt who became the saint of her tale, complete with the Dale Earnhardt Pilgrimage of fans.[8]

Elizabeth MacPherson novels[edit]

Jay Omega novels[edit]

These are satirical novels set in the world of science fiction conventions and fandom.

Short stories collections[edit]

  • McCrumb, Sharyn (1985). Our Separate Days.  (Co-author: Mona Walton Helper)
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (1997). Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Other Stories. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-41493-4. 


Winners are in bold

Awarding body Year Award issued Work
Agatha Award[9] 1995 Best Novel If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him
1994 Best Novel She Walks These Hills
1992 Best Novel The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
Best Short-story "Happiness is a Dead Poet"
1989 Best Short-story "A Wee Doch and Doris"
1988 Best Novel Paying the Piper
Anthony Award[10] 1995 Best Novel She Walks These Hills
Best Short-story "The Monster of Glamis"
1991 Best Novel If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O
Best Short-story "The Luncheon"
"Remains to be Seen"
1990 Best Short-story "A Wee Doch and Doris"
1989 Best Paperback Original Paying the Piper
1988 Best Paperback Original Bimbos of the Death Sun
Edgar Award[11] 1988 Best Paperback Original Bimbos of the Death Sun
Macavity Award[12] 1995 Best Novel She Walks These Hills
1991 Best Novel If Ever I Return Pretty Peggy-O
Nero Award[13] 1995 Best Novel She Walks These Hills


  1. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Gale Biography In Context. Web. May 13, 2011.
  2. ^ Williams, Wilda (November 15, 2004). "Q&A: Sharyn McCrumb". Library Journal. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ Critical Study of Sharyn McCrumb's Novels. Holloway, Kimberly, ed. From a Race of Story Tellers: Critical Essays on The Ballad Novels of Sharyn McCrumb. Atlanta: Mercer University Press, 2003.
  4. ^ "Virginia Women in History: Sharyn McCrumb (1948-)". Library of Virginia. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb". Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb | Authors | Macmillan". December 4, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb gives the 3rd degree to NASCAR". The Roanoke Times. January 30, 2005. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Malice Domestic Convention - Bethesda, MD". August 23, 1988. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Awards Nominees". October 2, 2003. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Best Paperback Original Mystery Novel Edgar Award Winners and Nominees - Complete Lists". Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Mystery Readers International's Macavity Awards". Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Wolfe Pack Nero Award Recipients chronologically". December 12, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 

External links[edit]