John Lang, professor emeritus of English at Emory & Henry College, was honored June 13 with the prestigious Lee Smith Award during the Lincoln Memorial University’s Mountain Heritage Literary Festival.
Lang, who coordinated the Emory & Henry College Literary Festival for 25 years, which celebrates each year a writer with strong ties to the Appalachian Region. Lang was honored as someone who has “gone above and beyond the call of duty in representing Appalachia.
For 20 years, Lang also edited The Iron Mountain Review, which publishes the proceedings of each festival. Among the many writers recognized during his tenure were Wilma Dykeman, Robert Morgan, Charles Wright, Sharyn McCrumb, Ron Rash, and Barbara Kingsolver.
Lang is the author of three books on Appalachian literature, including studies of Rash's work and Fred Chappell's.
Lang retired from Emory & Henry after teaching 29 years at the College. His career was highlighted by a long list of teaching awards and fellowships, including the prestigious Outstanding Faculty Award given by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, the DeFriece Award, the Finch Award for Faculty Excellence, and the James A. Davis Award, which is given by the E&H Alumni Association.
For 15 years, Lang also coordinated the Leidig Lectureship in Poetry, a two-day event during he spring semester which has featured such authors from beyond the South as U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, Naomi Shihab Nye, Linda Pastan, Andrew Hudgins, Mark Doty, Ellen Bryant Voiit and Martin Espada.
The Lincoln Memorial University's Mountain Heritage Literary Festival in Harrogate, Tennessee, an event now in its tenth year.