Sharyn McCrumb

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Sharyn McCrumb
Sharyn McCrumb
Sharyn McCrumb
BornSharyn Elaine Arwood
(1948-02-26) February 26, 1948 (age 73)
Wilmington, North Carolina
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationMaster's degree
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Virginia Tech
Notable worksBallad series
Elizabeth MacPherson series
Notable awardsSee list

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 mystery 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 a 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] She is also the author of the Elizabeth MacPherson mystery series, though her career has evolved beyond genre fiction.[7]

Ballad series[edit]

  • McCrumb, Sharyn (1990). If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O. Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-19104-1.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (1992). The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. Scribner. ISBN 0-684-19407-4.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (1994). She Walks These Hills. Scribner's. ISBN 0-684-19556-9.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (1996). The Rosewood Casket. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-94011-1.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (1998). The Ballad of Frankie Silver. Dutton. ISBN 978-0-340-71714-1.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (2001). The Songcatcher. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-94488-5.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (2003). Ghost Riders. Dutton Adult. ISBN 0-525-94718-3.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (2010). The Devil Amongst the Lawyers. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-0-312-55816-1.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (2011). The Ballad of Tom Dooley: A Novel (Appalachian Ballad). Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-0-312-55817-8.
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (2013). King's Mountain. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-1-250-011404
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (2014). Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past. Abingdon Press. ISBN 9781426754210
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (2016). Prayers the Devil Answers. Atria Books. ISBN 9781476772813
  • McCrumb, Sharyn (2017). The Unquiet Grave. Atria Books. ISBN 9781476772875

St. Dale novels[edit]

In 2005, NASCAR racing fan McCrumb wrote St. Dale.[8] 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.[9]

Elizabeth MacPherson novels[edit]

Jay Omega novels[edit]

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

Short story 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
National Daughters of the American Revolution[10] 2017 Woman of the Arts Award
West Virginia Library Association[11] 2017 Literary Merit Award
Clarksville Arts and Heritage Development Council[12] 2015 Patricia Winn Award for Southern Fiction King's Mountain
Chowan University[13] 2014 Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Southern Literature
Library of Virginia[14][15] 2008 Virginia Woman in History Award
2006 People's Choice Award for Fiction St. Dale
Appalachian Writers Association[16][17][18][19] 2006 Book of the Year St. Dale
2005 Best Novel St. Dale
1992 Best Novel The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
1985 Best Novel Lovely in Her Bones
Audio Publishers Association[20] 2004 Best Recorded Book Ghost Riders
East Tennessee State University[21] 2003 Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature Ghost Riders
Flora MacDonald Award[21] 1999 Achievement in the Arts by a Woman of Scots Heritage
Shepard University and the WV Heritage Council[22] 1999 Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award
Berea College[23] 1998 Plattner Award for Best Appalachian Short Story Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Morehead State University [24] 1998 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing
Appalachian Writers Association[21] 1997 Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature
Agatha Award[25] 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[26] 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[27] 1988 Best Paperback Original Bimbos of the Death Sun
Sherwood Anderson Short Story Award[28] 1984 Best Short Story "Precious Jewel"
Macavity Award[29] 1995 Best Novel She Walks These Hills
1991 Best Novel If Ever I Return Pretty Peggy-O
Nero Award[30] 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. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012. 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 March 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb". Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  6. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb | Authors | Macmillan". December 4, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  7. ^ 1969-, Blakesley, Elizabeth (2007). Great women mystery writers (2nd ed.). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313334283. OCLC 191847059.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  9. ^ "Sharyn McCrumb gives the 3rd degree to NASCAR". The Roanoke Times. January 30, 2005. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  10. ^ "Annual Virginia DAR Meeting | New Castle Record". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "West Virginia Library Association". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  12. ^ "New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb to receive Patricia Winn Award for Southern Fiction at Clarksville Writers Conference banquet June 4th - Clarksville, TN Online". Clarksville, TN Online. May 22, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "Hobson Lecture & Prize". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  14. ^ "Finalists and Winners of the Library of Virginia Annual Literary Awards". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  15. ^ "Virginia Women in History 2008 Honoree Information". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  16. ^ "News of the Appalachian Literary Arts". Appalachian Heritage. 34 (4): 7. January 8, 2014. doi:10.1353/aph.2006.0122. ISSN 1940-5081.
  17. ^ Fiore, Charles. "Spring Conference 2009 (Greensboro)". Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  18. ^ "Virginia Women in History 2008 Honoree Information". Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  19. ^ "King University: Bestselling Author Sharyn McCrumb to Speak Oct. 7 at King University During QEP Week". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  20. ^ "2004 Audie Awards® - APA". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c The rose & the briar : death, love and liberty in the American ballad. Wilentz, Sean., Marcus, Greil. (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. 2005. ISBN 9780393059540. OCLC 55744543.CS1 maint: others (link)
  22. ^ "The Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award". Appalink. 28 (2): 3. Spring 2005 – via Marshall Digital Scholar.
  23. ^ Miller, Danny (January 8, 2014). "The 1997 Denny C. Plattner Appalachian Heritage Awards". Appalachian Heritage. 26 (1): 5. doi:10.1353/aph.1998.0040. ISSN 1940-5081. S2CID 150775389.
  24. ^ "Morehead State University :: Chaffin Award". Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  25. ^ "Malice Domestic Convention - Bethesda, MD". August 23, 1988. Archived from the original on April 12, 2010. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  26. ^ "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Awards Nominees". October 2, 2003. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  27. ^ "Best Paperback Original Mystery Novel Edgar Award Winners and Nominees - Complete Lists". Archived from the original on December 20, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  28. ^ Modlin, Charles E.; Campbell, Hilbert H., eds. (1987). Stories From Sherwood Anderson Country; Contest Winners 1976-1986 (First ed.). Sherwood Anderson Association.
  29. ^ "Mystery Readers International's Macavity Awards". Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  30. ^ "Wolfe Pack Nero Award Recipients chronologically". December 12, 2011. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2012.

External links[edit]