Skip to main content

Ann Pancake

Honorary Doctorate of Letters

Ann Pancake grew up in Summersville and Romney, West Virginia and graduated from WVU with a Bachelor of Arts in English. After teaching English in Japan, American Samoa and Thailand, she earned a Masters degree in English from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate in English Literature from the University of Washington.

Pancake is—publicly and fervently—a West Virginia writer. She is the author of two story collections set in West Virginia: “Given Ground,” winner of the Bakeless Prize, and “Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley,” a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Her novel “Strange as This Weather Has Been” features a southern West Virginia family struggling with a mountaintop removal mine. It was named one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of the year, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, won the 2007 Weatherford Prize and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award. “Strange as This Weather Has Been” is now cited and taught as a key piece of literature about Appalachian coal country.

In all genres, Pancake writes eloquently about her home state, often expressing in just a few lines of prose all the complex feelings that so many West Virginians (native and adopted alike) have about the state and region. Her work has also been honored with a Whiting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Pushcart Prize and writing fellowships from the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington. In 2016, Pancake was the first recipient of the Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and the Community Fellowship. 

Pancake has taught creative writing for Pacific Lutheran University’s MFA Program, at the University of Hawaii and at Penn State Behrend, among others. She is thrilled to be returning to West Virginia this fall to serve as Writer-in-Residence at in the WVU Humanities Center.