Appalachian writers group honors former Kentuckian

Helen Matthews Lewis has won the 2012 Appalachian Writers Association’s nonfiction book of the year award for Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia. Lewis has served as director of the Berea College Appalachian Center, the Appalachian History Film Project at Appalshop in Whitesburg, and the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tenn. She now lives in Morganton, Ga.

Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia, published in 2012 by the Lexington-based University Press of Kentucky, gathered Lewis’ most prominent writings to highlight the contributions she has made to the field of Appalachian studies. The book, edited by Patricia Beavers and Judith Jennings, provides an overview of social movements in Appalachia through Lewis’ eyes.

Lewis has spent much of her life promoting Appalachian studies and social justice, particularly through extensive writing including 10 monographs and close to 50 book chapters, articles and reports. She is co-author of Mountain Sisters: From Convent to Community in Appalachia and Colonialism in Modern America: The Appalachian Case.

“Through her efforts, a vast body of scholarly material on the region has been produced during her lifetime,” a University Press news release said.

The award was presented at a banquet Oct. 18 at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City .