GREENVILLE, S.C.—Furman Department of English professor Laura Leigh Morris has written a new book of fiction about the daily lives of people in West Virginia.
Her book, Jaws of Life: Stories, is a collection of short stories published by Vandalia Press, the creative imprint of West Virginia University Press. The book will be released Thursday, March 1, and a launch event is set for March 1, 6-8 p.m. at Fiction Addiction in Greenville.
Morris’ first book, the collection portrays the diverse concerns the people of West Virginia face every day—poverty, mental illness, drug abuse, the loss of coal mines, and the rise of new extractive industries that exert their own toll. A summary by West Virginia University Press has this description: “In the hills of north central West Virginia, there lives a cast of characters who face all manner of problems—from the people who are incarcerated in West Virginia's prisons, to a woman who is learning how to lose her sight with grace, to another who sorely regrets selling her land to a fracking company.”
Among other reviews, Furman English professor and author Joni Tevis offers this: "'Look for something no one else sees,' says one character in this fine debut, in which the people of Brickton lose many things—loved ones, their tempers, a good night's sleep, five years of freedom—but never their power."
Morris, who joined the Furman faculty in 2015, teaches creative writing and literature. Before that, she spent three years as the National Endowment for the Arts/Bureau of Prisons Artist-in-Residence at Bryan Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas. She has previously published short fiction in Appalachian Heritage, The Louisville Review, Notre Dame Review and other journals. She is originally from north central West Virginia.