Sporty Creek is a series of short stories set in the Kentucky hills. Narrated by a young cousin of the narrator of James Still’s classic novel River of Earth, the book tells the story of one family during the Great Depression. With work in the coal mines sporadic, they move from place to place, trying to earn a living the best way they can.
James Still (1906-2001), was born on Double Creek in Alabama, one of 10 children. For most of his life he lived in a log house between Dead Mare Branch and Wolfpen Creek in Knott County, Kentucky. He enjoyed a long relationship with Hindman Settlement School where he first began work as a librarian and lived in his later years.
His early books – a book of poems, Hounds on the Mountain (1937); his celebrated novel River of Earth (1940); and a collection of stories, On Troublesome Creek (1941) – were all published by The Viking Press. It was not until 35 years later, after Pattern of a Man was first published, that there was revival of interest in his work. Other books include a novel Sporty Creek; the collection of stories The Run for the Elbertas; The Wolfpen Notebooks; and a number of books for children: The Wolfpen Rusties; Way Down Yonder on Troublesome Creek; Jack and the Wonder Beans; and An Appalachian Mother Goose. His two later major collections of poems are The Wolfpen Poems and From the Mountain, From the Valley.