The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Women

Stories of Landscape and Community in the Mountain South

Edited by Kami Ahrens

288 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 68 halftones, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7003-4
    Published: March 2023
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7002-7
    Published: March 2023
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7004-1
    Published: January 2023
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6178-8
    Published: January 2023

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In 1966 in Rabun County, Georgia, a group of high school English students created theFoxfire magazine, a literary journal that celebrated Appalachian stories, peoples, and culture. The publication was filled with poetry and prose from local students and authors and featured interviews with community members. These oral histories quickly became the focal point of the magazine and, eventually, the material that generated the multivolume Foxfire book series.

Now, pulled from the vast Foxfire archive comes the first volume in the series focused specifically on the lives of Appalachian women. These remarkable narratives illuminate a diverse regional culture held together by the threads that are woven between women and place, and through generations. Told sometimes with humor, sometimes with sadness, but always with a gripping rawness and honesty, the stories recount women’s lived experiences from the 1960s to the present. The interviews cover work, family, and community, illuminating Cherokee, Black, and white women’s experiences; changes in Appalachian culture; and the importance of relationships in daily life. Reading each interview in this book is almost like joining these women on their porches and in their homes as they take us on a journey through their lives. Taken together, the stories speak against regional stereotypes and offer instead a sampling of the many expressions of these women’s strength.

About the Author

Kami Ahrens is curator and director of education at the Foxfire Museum.
For more information about Kami Ahrens, visit the Author Page.


“Captivating, resisting nostalgia with its authentic, honest, and sometimes contradictory experiences from women all over the region.”—Garden and Gun

“Anyone interested in Appalachia and the people who lived and continue to live there will find this book to be a great starting point.”—Georgia Library Quarterly

“Every interview subject is a unique individual, and the stories are informative and nuanced. . . . [T]he women’s voices share tales again and again of a tight-knit community that worked organically as a collectivist society rather than the individualist society of contemporary America.”—Chapter 16

"These complex, powerful narratives expand our perspectives on this region and the women who live there, particularly offering counternarratives to those who romanticize Appalachia or otherwise misrepresent mountain residents."—Sandra L. Ballard, Appalachian State University

"Kami Ahrens has selected a rich collection of powerful and compelling oral histories that reminds us of Foxfire’s extraordinary and enduring legacy." –Brent D. Glass, director emeritus, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

"Foxfire publications have long been essential to understanding Appalachia and folk traditions. This new, expertly edited book offers selections that are incisive and diverse, presenting timeless voices and amplifying their resonance in present times." –Rose McLarney, author of Forage and editor of A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia