Photo by Johnny Johns

Share This

Karen Salyer McElmurray

Karen Salyer McElmurray’s Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey was an AWP Award winner for creative nonfiction. Her novels are The Motel of the Stars (an Editor’s Pick by Oxford American), and Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven, winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. Her nonfiction work has been three times Notable in Best American Essays, several times a Pushcart nominee, and a recipient of the Annie Dillard Award for the Essay, the New Southerner Award, and the Orison Anthology Award for Creative Nonfiction. She has co-edited, with poet Adrian Blevins, an essay collection titled Walk till the Dogs Get Mean. Wanting Radiance, her newest novel, was released in April 2020 from University Press of Kentucky. An essay collection titled Voice Lessons is currently under contract with Iris Press. McElmurray teaches in the low-residency program at West Virginia Wesleyan College and as a part-time associate professor at Gettysburg College.

Ten Things I Can’t Do Without

  1. The color blue
  2. Johnny’s warm hands and his generous soul
  3. Cool spots on my summer morning walks
  4. Junebug, my Carolina dog
  5. Green tea’s bitter taste
  6. Fresh basil
  7. The sound of the ocean
  8. Saved messages from my father, who passed away in March
  9. Phone calls with dear ones
  10. Black-eyed Susans, and all the things beyond ten

Karen Salyer McElmurray's contributions: