The life and literary contribution of Wilma Dykeman will be the topic at a special celebration on the Berea College campus on Friday, June 7, 2013. The first woman trustee of Berea College, Wilma Dykeman was also the author of more than 20 non-fiction books and three widely acclaimed novels. She is the featured author of the Spring 2013 issue of Appalachian Heritage magazine which is hosting the event. It will begin with a reception and refreshments at 7:30 p.m. followed at 8 p.m. by presentations by Wilma Dykeman’s son, Jim Stokely, and Viki Dasher Rouse, the guest editor of this issue. It will be held at the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center Gallery, 205 North Main Street in Berea, Kentucky.
Wilma Dykeman (1920-2006) was born and died in Asheville, North Carolina, but spent most of her adult life in Newport, Tennessee. She joined the Berea College board of trustees in 1969 and served until 1998 when the college bestowed upon her their President’s Medallion. She was an honorary trustee for the rest of her life. Throughout the 1980’s and beyond, she taught summer workshops for teachers and writers at Berea College’s Appalachian Center. She served as State Historian of Tennessee from 1981 until 2002 and taught an Appalachian studies course at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for 21 years.
Dykeman’s son, Jim Stokely, co-authored “Highland Homeland: The People of the Great Smokies” with his mother and co-edited “An Encyclopedia of East Tennessee” with Jeff D. Johnson. Stokely served as the sole editor of “An Appalachian Studies Teacher’s Manual.” He lives in Weaverville, North Carolina, and does consulting work in human resources after a career in that field. For this issue, Stokely contributed pieces highlighting his mother and her roles, as well as a biographical look at his father.
Viki Dasher Rouse is the guest editor of the Spring 2013 issue of Appalachian Heritage. Her doctoral dissertation topic was Wilma Dykeman, and the focus of the 2012 Mildred Haun Conference, which she directs, was Wilma Dykeman. That conference, now in its fourth year, is an annual event at Walters State College in Morristown, Tennessee, where Rouse is an associate professor of English.
Appalachian Heritage is a literary quarterly devoted exclusively to the literature and art of Southern Appalachia. Each issue focuses on the work of one author from the region but also includes poetry, stories, photographs, art and other essays that pertain to the region. Appalachian Heritage was founded in 1973 and has been published by Berea College since 1985.