STORIED INSTITUTION: For over fifty years, the Foxfire Fund has collected the stories, crafts, and customs that define life in the Appalachian Mountains. The organization, which was recently featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” has just received a major grant from the NEH to expand and improve its mission of preserving a culture that is rapidly vanishing, and a new director has been appointed, with an eye to introducing Foxfire to new readers.
SERIES SALES: We have sold over a million copies of the fifteen Foxfire books in print with Anchor, all of which see frequent reprintings. In 2011, we launched the Foxfire Americana Library, an e-only series grouped by subject (i.e., cooking, moonshining, folk remedies, and more) designed to help expand Foxfire’s reach and discoverability. To date, the series has sold more than 22,000 copies.
INTEREST IN APPALACHIA: As evidenced by the breakout success of J.D. Vance’s #1 New York Times best-selling Hillbilly Elegy and Ronni Lundy’s James Beard Foundation Award-winning cookbook Victuals, interest in Appalachia and its culture is at an all-time high. Foxfire has a strong presence throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic. Its tradition of transcribing oral history and highlighting its region’s citizens is similar to what Humans of New York has done for its urban population.
THE FUTURE OF FOXFIRE: New director TJ Smith is a lifelong Foxfire fan and a huge asset for publicity. He is committed to broadening the organization’s reach and attracting new readers to the books.
ONLINE PRESENCE: Foxfire has just redesigned and relaunched its website, and elevated its social media presence. Under a new director, the organization is enthusiastically pursuing outreach and profile-building opportunities.
ILLUSTRATIONS: Our book will contain over a hundred black-and-white photos that bring the stories to life and give faces to the many voices interviewed within.
“Say Foxfire! and we’re there. A new volume in the classic series of Appalachian storytelling, outdoors tips, and collected wisdom, this paperback original expands the usual Foxfire stomping grounds of the north Georgia mountains to the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kentucky.” —Garden & Gun Magazine
“You get pulled in…. Light-hearted proof that some of the old idiosyncratic spirit [of Appalachia] remains…. To this day, I feel sure that if I found myself alone in the mountains with nothing but a hatchet, a dutch oven and a copy of The Foxfire Book, I’d have a pretty good chance to survive…. [Travels with Foxfire] is still about making things…. The vignettes…coalesce around an idea best put forth by Jane Taylor, a native of Gainesville, Ga., in the chapter titled ‘How to Turn Junk Into Art.’ ‘I was very serious most of my life,’ she says. ‘Very serious. I was brought up that way. You don’t play. I was good at what I did, but I never really enjoyed it.’ She found a way to live her own life by her own rules, eventually learning to weld, in love with ‘gorgeous iron, broken, sad, beautiful.’” —Max Watman, The Wall Street Journal
“A welcome rekindling of the Foxfire franchise of books on Southern folkways. Journalist Hudgins and former Foxfire student Phillips continue the fine tradition of publishing collections of oral history around Southern Appalachian cultural mores…. In keeping with Foxfire tradition, there’s a little bit of everything in this collection…. A lively model of modern folklore and a must for fans of the original series.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Anyone with an interest in Americana, history, or nature will appreciate these poignant and enjoyable stories of shared knowledge and traditions.” —Publishers Weekly
“An engrossing shout-out to the distinct and varied culture of Southern Appalachia…. Phil Hudgins and Jessica Phillips attempts to characterize the area in a colorful collection of over 30 essays…. The authors traveled throughout Southern Appalachia pocketing tales…. They also spoke with medicine women, game wardens, folk singers and more.” —Augusta Chronicle
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