The 40th anniversary of the annual Appalachian Writers’ Workshop is coming up this July, and if you’ve managed to catch any of our social media posts or our website updates, you can tell we’re excited! The longstanding history of celebrating our Appalachian heritage and literary legacy here in the mountains is not only a large part of our work at Hindman Settlement School, but it has meant a great deal to many aspiring and professional writers over the years- from the early days of our founders to today.
Each year, selected participants in the Writers’ Workshop rely upon the generosity of donors to provide scholarship funds. Larry and Lucy Rodman Newnam are donors who have found themselves called to contribute to our Writers’ Workshop Scholarship fund each year, starting in 2009. Their gifts have been in memory of Lucy’s mother, Lucy Furman Pratt Rodman, who was named for author of The Quare Women, Lucy Furman. Ms. Newnam’s grandparents were dear friends of Lucy Furman’s while they lived near and worked at the Settlement School, and honored her by naming their daughter after her. Lucy Furman Pratt Rodman continued that writing legacy by writing many short stories in her time, inspired by the beautiful hills of Eastern Kentucky she was raised in, and the Hindman Settlement School, where she attended school. She continued to visit home frequently throughout her life, even after moving to Frankfort, Kentucky after school and later attending business school in Louisville. Her writing and stories left an impact on Lucy Newnam’s entire family, and after Ms. Rodman’s death, Lucy and her husband knew that sharing her legacy with other aspiring writers who wanted to come to Hindman Settlement School would be how she would wish to be honored.
As much as we appreciate the generosity of folks like Larry and Lucy, the gratitude felt by those participants who have benefited from their contributions cannot be measured. A few years ago, one workshop scholarship recipient wrote, “If you are a writer/artist, you know the value of being able to attend a workshop like the one that happens by the forks of Troublesome each year. You understand the importance of the sense of community that quickly occurs between people who work in solitude much of the year meeting others who are working toward the same goals. You know that what happens at Hindman can only be described as magic… I’ve been lucky to attend this often- thanks to people like you who are willing to provide financial support to people who would otherwise only get to dream of attending… Indeed I feel as though I have found a home in Hindman. I hope to continue to be able to attend the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop for years to come. And one day I hope I will be able to give back to the community that has gifted me with so much.” The greatest part of looking back over this exchange was knowing that this year, another participant will benefit from this letter’s hope. The author was able to contribute to our Writers’ Workshop scholarship fund with the intention that the recipient will get as much out of the workshop as she has over the years. This is very much the magic that is the Forks of Troublesome Creek.
We love to see members of our growing community reap the rewards of our generous donors, our hardworking staff, and our dedicated supporters. Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Newnam and to our other scholarship contributors!