Originally from Romney, WV, Ann Pancake is an American fiction writer with a focus on Appalachian stories. Her writings address themes of poverty, social class, and rural American societies. She currently resides in Arthurdale and teaches creative writing at West Virginia University.
In a West Virginia town, people live with the constant threat of a black flood that could wash out their world without notice. The latest coal boom is upon them and mountaintop removal mining is turning the mountains to dust and wastewater. Workers struggle with layoffs, families fight to stay together, and children seek escape from the blasted moonscape craters. This is the world of Ann Pancake’s lyrical and passionate debut novel, based on interviews and real events, which explodes into a harrowing – yet life-affirming – conclusion.