West Virginian author to read from memoir at the Folklife Center

Thursday, October 03, 2019

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center will host author Katherine Manley as part of The Women’s Lyceum: A Celebration of Appalachian Women. The public is invited to attend this free event on October 15 at 7 p.m., as Ms. Manley reads from her memoir, “Don’t Tell ‘em You’re Cold: A Memoir of Poverty and Resilience.”

Manley summarizes her work as an uplifting story of survival from abject poverty, set in the hills and coal camps of southern West Virginia. She speaks of the extreme challenges and struggles with ingenuity and traditional Appalachian stoicism that she faced alongside her family. 

Beyond the poverty, other obstacles compounded Katherine’s life: a severely disabled father and a mother who struggled with the day-to-day survival. On a cool October morning, she left in a taxi and never returned, leaving 14-year-old Katherine to take care of her father and raise her siblings in her mother’s stead. Katherine defies the odds and makes her story one of triumph, encouraging others to never give up.

Katherine Manley lives in southern West Virginia and has been an educator for Logan County Schools for over 35 years. She earned degrees from Marshall University and West Virginia State, and is a National Board-Certified Teacher. She has received numerous awards and recognition, both for teaching and writing, including placement as a semi-finalist for her memoir in William Faulkner’s Writing Competition.

The Folklife Center is dedicated to the identification, preservation, and perpetuation of our region’s rich cultural heritage. It houses academic minors in folklore and museum studies. For questions, please contact Dr. Francene Kirk at 304-367-4170 or Francene.Kirk@fairmontstate.edu.