Ron Rash

A long-revered presence in the landscape of American letters, Ron Rash has been called “one of the great American authors at work today” (Janet Maslin, The New York Times). A two-time PEN/Faulkner finalist, two-time O. Henry Short Story Prize winner, and Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award winner, Rash burst onto the national scene with his 2008 New York Times bestseller Serena, which earned him comparisons to “John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy” (The New Yorker). His work evokes the beauty and brutality of the land, the relentless tension between past and present, and the unquenchable human desire to be a little bit better than circumstances would seem to allow (to paraphrase Faulkner).

Now, the virtuosic novelist, poet, and storywriter offers a collection of ten searing stories with IN THE VALLEY. In these stories, Rash spins a haunting allegory of the times we live in—rampant capitalism, the pillaging of the natural world, the opioid crisis, and more—and yet within this world he illuminates acts of extraordinary decency and heroism. Two of the stories have already been singled out for accolades: “Baptism” was chosen by Roxane Gay for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories 2018 and “Neighbors” was selected by Jonathan Lethem for The Best American Mystery Stories 2019. And in revisiting Serena Pemberton, the villainess who propelled Serena to national acclaim, Rash updates his bestselling parable of greed run amok as his deliciously vindictive heroine returns to the North Carolina wilderness she left scarred and desecrated to make one final effort to kill the child that threatens all she has accomplished.

Ron Rash is the author of the PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestselling novel Serena, in addition to the critically acclaimed novels The Risen, Above the Waterfall, The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, Nothing Gold Can Stay, a New York Times bestseller, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize and winner of the 2019 Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature, he is the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University and lives in Clemson, SC.

Presented with Prairie Lights Books