Bryan Donnell

Silas House

Fiction, Stage, Journalism

Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including his most recent, Lark Ascending, which was a Booklist Editors' Choice and is the winner of the 2023 Southern Book Prize and the 2023 Nautilus Book Award. Four of his plays have been produced. He is also the author of the 2009 book of creative nonfiction Something's Rising (with co-author Jason Kyle Howard). 

His writing has appeared recently in The Washington Post, The AtlanticTimeGarden & GunThe New York TimesOxford AmericanEcotoneTri-Quarterly, and many more of the country's leading publications. House is a former commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered" and is the executive producer and one of the subjects of the documentary Hillbilly, winner of the LA Film Festival's Documentary Prize and the Foreign Press Association's Media Award. His 2018 novel Southernmost is currently in pre-production as a feature film. 

As a music journalist, House has worked with Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Lucinda Williams, Tyler Childers, S.G. Goodman, Lee Ann Womack, Kris Kristofferson, Señora May, and many other musicians. 

He is the member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the recipient of three honorary degrees, and has been given such honors as an E. B. White Award, the Storylines Prize from the New York Public Library/NAV Foundation, the Lee Smith Award, the Caritas Medal, the Hobson Medal, and many others. In 2022 he was the recipient of the Duggins Prize, the largest award for an LGBTQ writer in the nation. The same year he was named Appalachian of the Year in a nationwide poll. In 2023 he was inducted as the Poet Laureate of Kentucky for 2023-2025.

House teaches at Berea College, where he is the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair, and at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Creative Writing. A native of Eastern Kentucky, he now lives in Lexington, Kentucky. ​

Festival Years: 2004, 2024