Silas House to deliver Transylvania convocation keynote, receive honorary degree

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Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Renowned Kentucky author Silas House will give the keynote address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during Transylvania University’s Academic Convocation on Friday.

House, who wrote the national best-selling novel, “A Parchment of Leaves,” will help the campus kick off the academic year at the 3:30 p.m. ceremony in Haggin Auditorium. A book signing and reception will follow.

“The Academic Convocation is a very special occasion at Transylvania,” said Laura Bryan, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university. “This ceremony marks the celebration of a new academic year and gives us an opportunity to focus and reflect on the journey before us. We come together as a community to invigorate our mission and values of a liberal education. Silas House exemplifies our values as an writer, teacher and activist.”

House is a champion of the Appalachian region he calls home. In addition to writing five novels, with a sixth to be released this year, he is an environmental activist, columnist and music journalist. His fiction highlights the natural world, working class characters and the plight of rural living.

A National Book Award Finalist, House also has written three plays and a collection of oral histories he co-authored with Jason Howard. His many recognitions include the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, E.B. White Award, Nautilus Award, Appalachian Writer of the Year, Chaffin Prize for Literature, Appalachian Book of the Year, Parents’ Choice Award, Lee Smith Award and Hobson Medal for Literature.

House is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and hosts a WUKY program, “Hillbilly Solid,” which features music, literature and interviews with artists and activists making a difference in Appalachia.

Additionally, House has upheld the mission of liberal arts education as NEH Chair in Appalachian Studies and assistant professor of Appalachian studies at Berea College.

After his convocation address Friday, Transylvania will present its University Awards to students. These include the Transylvania Scholarship, which recognizes academic success and contributions to the school, and the Dean’s Purchase Award for outstanding artwork in the Morlan Gallery’s Juried Student Exhibition.