MECC Foundation to Host 44th Annual John Fox, Jr. Literary Festival & Lonesome Pine Short-Story and Poetry Contests

Big Stone Gap, VA — The MECC Foundation, in partnership with the Lonesome Pine Regional Library and the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Project, is pleased to announce the 44th annual John Fox, Jr. Literary Festival, featuring a presentation by guest author Silas House, on Wednesday, March 4 at 10 a.m. in the Goodloe Center of Phillips-Taylor Hall. 

In coordination with the festival event, the MECC Foundation will host the 33rd Annual Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest and the 16th Annual Lonesome Pine Poetry Contest. The deadline for submitting entries is Thursday, February 20 at 4:30 p.m. Entry categories include adult, high school (grades 9 through 12), and middle school (grades 5 through 8) categories.  Contest rules are available on the MECC Foundation website at of the contest will be announced during the Literary Festival Event.

SilasSilas House is the New York Times-bestselling author of six novels, including his first, Clay’s Quilt (2001), now considered a foundational text in Appalachian literature, and his most recent, Southernmost (2018), which was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and won awards including the Weatherford Prize for Fiction.

House is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and a former commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered”.  His writing appears frequently in The New York Times and Salon and has been published in TimeEcotoneGarden and GunOxford American, and many other places.  House is a native of Eastern Kentucky and teaches at Berea College and in the Spalding School of Writing.

Books will be available to purchase and for author signing.  The John Fox, Jr. Festival will be followed by a reservation-only luncheon with the featured speaker at the John Fox, Jr. Museum in Big Stone Gap.  Tickets for the luncheon are $25 per person and reservations can be made by calling the MECC Foundation office at 276.523.7466.


For more information on the MECC Foundation, please visit our website at  

-MECC Foundation-