“The flood came at night, forcefully and quickly, destroying so many lives in its wake. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it will happen again and again.”—Carter Sickels
In late July 2022, a catastrophic flash flood claimed the lives of more than forty people and devastated homes and communities in Central Appalachia. The forty-fifth annual Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at Hindman Settlement School in eastern Kentucky was in progress when surging floodwater forced the participants and staff to rush to higher ground. The school lost classrooms, housing, and gathering areas, as well as valuable equipment, and irreplaceable artifacts such as historical books and documents, photographs, and handmade musical instruments from the school archives were damaged. As the floodwaters receded throughout the region, countless lives were forever changed.
In this visceral and powerful anthology, well-known and emerging Appalachian writers create an authentic space for processing and healing as they document and share the depth of the flood’s devastation. Through words and images, Troublesome Rising reveals the writers’ fears, desperation, sadness, and anger while detailing and examining the disaster’s causes, the need for solutions, and how flooding has historically impacted the Appalachian community and culture. In a shared, varied, and resounding voice, this compelling collection not only serves as a historical document and an in-depth investigation of the event, but also as a celebration of Appalachian strength, determination, and resilience.