MECC Foundation to Host 48th Annual John Fox, Jr. Literary Festival Featuring the Origin Project with Barbara Kingsolver and Adriana Trigiani

Big Stone Gap, VA — The MECC Foundation is pleased to announce the 48th annual John Fox, Jr. Literary Festival. The event will feature authors Adriana Trigiani and Barbara Kingsolver, Wednesday, April 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. The festival is free and open to the public.

In coordination with the festival event, the MECC Foundation will host the 37th Annual Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest and the 20th Annual Lonesome Pine Poetry Contest. The deadline for submitting entries is Tuesday, April 2 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 and information about the festival is available on the MECC Foundation website at Winners of the contest will be announced during the Literary Festival Event. All winners will receive a cash prize.

The MECC Foundation will welcome students from the Origin Project, Trigiani’s in-school Virginia writing program, to participate in the festival. The Origin Project will unveil its 10th Anniversary Cookbook in memory of the project’s co-founder Nancy Bolmeier Fisher. The cookbook features recipes from the Origin Project’s participating students, teachers, guest authors and friends. Cookbooks will be available to purchase at the festival. All proceeds will benefit the Origin Project.

The 48th Annual John Fox, Jr. festival will have a featured discussion from both Trigiani and Kingsolver. Following the presentation, the MECC Foundation will feature a special luncheon with House at the John Fox Jr. home in Big Stone Gap beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tickets for the luncheon are $30 and can be ordered by calling the MECC Foundation office at 276-523-7466. Tickets are limited, so please reserve early for this event.

Adrienna's HeadshotAdriana Trigiani is The New York Times bestselling author of 20 books in fiction and nonfiction, including The Shoemaker’s Wife, The Good Left Undone, Don’t Sing at the Table, and Lucia, Lucia, and she is published in 38 languages around the world. She is host of the hit podcast, You Are What You Read, in conversation with the luminaries of our time about the books that built their souls. Adriana is an award-winning playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the major motion picture adaptation of her debut novel Big Stone Gap, adapted her novel Very Valentine for television and directed Then Came You. She wrote and directed the documentary film, Queens of the Big Time, winner of the Audience Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival and Audience award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The film was also featured at the London and Hong Kong International Film festivals. Trigiani grew up in the Big Stone Gap Virginia where she co-founded The Origin Project, an in-school writing program serving over 2,700 students in Appalachia. In 2023, she was knighted with the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia by President Sergio Mattarella of Italy. She is proud to serve on the New York State Council on the Arts and lives in New York City with her family.

Barbara KingsloverBarbara Kingsolver is a novelist, essayist, and poet. She is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Demon Copperhead, a contemporary re-telling of David Copperfield set in Appalachia at the onset of the opioid epidemic. In addition to Demon Copperhead, her bestselling works include The Lacuna, The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, the highest honor given by the U.S. government for service through the arts, as well as the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have been adopted into the core literature curriculum in high schools and colleges throughout the nation. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.

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