Stephenson Center for Appalachia to host writer Kevin Keck on February 12

January 30, 2015

While Thomas Wolfe is famous for both writing and in some ways proving, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” a contemporary Appalachian author disputes the point. Kevin Keck, an adjunct instructor of rhetoric at Lees-McRae, will present a program, “Born Again: My Return to Appalachia,” that explores returning to his mountain roots at Lees-McRae College. His presentation will take place on Thursday, February 12 at 7 p.m. in Evans Auditorium in the first of this semester’s Stephenson Center for Appalachia Lecture Series. This program is free and open to the public.

Keck, who was born and raised in Banner Elk where his father taught at Lees-McRae, returned this past summer to the area that has always lingered in his memory and imagination.  His roots run deep at the college. His parents are both alumni; they met and married here.  Kevin grew up on the campus, living in faculty housing and enjoying the college community. This past summer he returned to live in the mountains and teach at Lees-McRae.

He graduated from Syracuse University with an MFA in creative writing, and has published widely: two books of poetry, a collection of personal essays, Oedipus Wrecked, and the memoir, Are You There, God? It’s Me. Kevin., among others. Keck now has a work in progress that explores his return to Banner Elk and Lees-McRae. 

“The subject of my book is returning by a mystical and fortuitous route to the place where I spent formative days of my youth,” said Keck, discussing his work. “It is a mystical coming of age story, both as a youngster and a man entering middle age.”

He will read from his work in progress and discuss his writing career and his return home.

“We are pleased to have Kevin back at Lees-McRae as a teacher, and look forward to his sharing his creative work with us,” said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. “We invite everyone to come out for what promises to be an entertaining and enlightening evening.”

The Stephenson Lecture Series is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Megan Hall, director of communications, at 828.898.8729 or

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Kevin Keck, adjunct instructor of rhetoric at Lees-McRae