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LUNCH WITH BOOKS: 40 Patchtown: A Novel (Appalachian Writing Series) with Damian Dressick

August 17, 2021
12:00pm - 1:00pm

Calendar Event Photo

Pennsylvania coal miners' strike of 1922 was both prolonged and brutal, especially in the coal patch towns surrounding Windber. Inspired by the violence and heroism of the strike, Damian Dressick spent months researching the rhythms of early coal town life. Immersing himself in coal heritage materials and interviewing retired miners and their wives, he brings us the story of Chet Pistakowski, a teen miner forced to provide for his family during one of the most brutal labor struggles in American history.

In addition to being in-person in the Library auditorium, this program will be available to watch live on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the OCPL website's LWB Livestream page Log into your Facebook or YouTube account during the program to leave questions for Damian in the comments box. He will answer them during the live broadcast. 

Tuesday | July 17, 2021 at noon
LWB LIVESTREAM: 40 Patchtown: A Novel (Appalachian Writing Series) with Damian Dressick


PRESENTER BIO: Born and raised Pennsylvania’s coal country, Damian Dressick is the author of the novel 40 Patchtown (Bottom Dog Press: Appalachian Writing Series) and the story collection Fables of the Deconstruction (CLASH Books). His creative work has appeared in more than fifty literary journals and anthologies, including W.W. Norton’s New Micro, Still: The Journal, Post Road, New Orleans Review, Cutbank, failbetter.com, Smokelong Quarterly, and New World Writing. A Blue Mountain Residency Fellow, Dressick is the winner of the Harriette Arnow Award and the Jesse Stuart Prize. He is vice-president of the Writers Association of Northern Appalachia and co-hosts WANA: LIVE! a virtual reading series that brings some of the best Appalachian writers to world and edits the journal Appalachian Lit. For more, check out www.damiandressick.com.


FEATURED BOOK: 40 Patchtown by Damian Dressick (Bottom Dog Press: Appalachian Writing Series, January 22, 2020) [ Reserve a copy from the Library  |  buy online from bookshop.org to help support local bookstores

Book CoverPennsylvania coal miners' strike of 1922 was both prolonged and brutal, especially in the coal patch towns surrounding Windber. Inspired by the violence and heroism of the strike, Damian Dressick spent months researching the rhythms of early coal town life. Immersing himself in coal heritage materials and interviewing retired miners and their wives, he brings us the story of Chet Pistakowski, a teen miner forced to provide for his family during one of the most brutal labor struggles in American history.

REVIEW: Deftly paced, gritty and poised, pitch perfect in its voice and historical rendering, Damian Dressick's debut novel 40 Patchtown accelerates from its opening pages with desperate energy. Set against the comfortless backdrop of the brutal 1922 coal miners' strike of Windber, Pennsylvania, the novel follows fatherless fourteen-year-old Chet Pistakowski as he struggles to support his mother and siblings in a setting dictated by violence, poverty, and manipulation. Told in lean, convincing, and clear-eyed prose, this historical and evocative coming-of-age story reveals a young man torn between family and morality, desperation and desire, circumstances and escape. — James Charlesworth, author of The Patricide of George Bernard Hill


About the Writers Association of Northern Appalachia (WANA):

Writers Association of Northern Appalachia

The mission of the Writers Association of Northern Appalachia is to support writers from, living in, or writing about the greater northern Appalachian region by providing opportunities to share work and expertise, publish written work, and develop relationships with editors, publishers, literary scholars, readers, and fellow writers. WANA provides opportunities for the region’s writers to build a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community.

WANA's 2021 annual writers conference will be held September 10-12 at Oglebay Park and Conference Center. The conference will include more than 25 presentations on the art, craft, and business of writing, two keynote speakers, live music, two on-site writing competitions, and more. Registration is $95 per person.

To learn more about the organization or 2021 conference, visit their website at https://writersassociationofnorthernappalachia.org/


Lunch With Books Livestream starts at noon on Facebook and YouTube.

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"Lunch With Books" is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. These lunchtime programs feature authors, poets, musicians, historians, and more every Tuesday at noon. Bring lunch (to your computer), feed your brain!


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