The Hills Remember: The Complete Short Stories of James Still
James Still remains one of the most beloved and important writers in Appalachian literature. Best known for his acclaimed novel River of Earth (1940), the Alabama native and adopted Kentuckian left an enduring legacy of novels, stories, and poems during his nearly seventy year career.
The Hills Remember: The Complete Short Stories of James Still honors the late writer by collecting all of Still’s short stories, including his stories from On Troublesome Creek (1941), Pattern of a Man and Other Stories (1976), and The Run for the Elbertas (1980), as well as twelve prose pieces originally published as short stories and later incorporated into River of Earth. Also included are several lesser-known stories and ten never-before-published stories. Recognized as a significant writer of short fiction in his day—many of his stories initially appeared in The Atlantic and The Saturday Evening Post and were included in The O. Henry Memorial Award Stories and The Best American Short Stories collections—Still’s short stories, while often overshadowed in recent years by his novels and poetry, are among his most enduring literary works. Editor Ted Olson offers a reassessment of Still’s short fiction within the contexts of the author’s body of work and within Appalachian and American literature. Compiling all of James Still’s compelling and varied short stories into one volume, The Hills Remember is a testament to a master writer.
James Still (1906–2001) was the author of numerous works of fiction and poetry, including River of Earth; From the Mountain, From the Valley: New and Collected Poems; and Chinaberry.
Ted Olson is professor of Appalachian Studies and English at East Tennessee State University. He is the editor of From the Mountain, From the Valley, the editor of two scholarly books exploring James Still’s work, the coeditor of The Bristol Sessions: Writings about the Big Bang of Country Music, and the author of Blue Ridge Folklife and Breathing in Darkness: Poems.
James Still is better known as a novelist and poet, but as this volume
confirms, he was an excellent short story writer as well. Bravo to Ted
Olson and University Press of Kentucky for this valuable addition to James
Still's legacy. -- Ron Rash, author of Serena
This collection of all the short stories of James Still, in chronological order, reveal the development of his craft during Still's years of keen observation of the character, values, and sly humor of his eastern Kentucky neighbors, as well as his accurate ear for their dialect, not presenting it exactly, but weaving it into a rare art form, and with his insight to render a vivid portrait and intonation of the people of this particular place, mainly during the years of the Great Depression. These stories affirm Still’s art as a master story teller. -- Loyal Jones, former director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College and author of Appalachian Values
James Still chopped a path through the literary landscape that Appalachian writers continue to follow. He gave the land and culture a vivid life on the page, using language of such quality that it set a standard for all the writers from the hills. Mr. Still is more than the master. He is our grandfather, our great-grandfather, our godfather—the revered elder of the tribe of Appalachian writers. Here is a sentence he wrote: 'We went on, not stopping or speaking until we saw our hill standing apart from all the others.' These words readily describe James Still’s work. If each published book is viewed as a hill in the geography of literature, his stories will forever stand apart from all the others. -- Chris Offutt -- Author of Kentucky Straight
In his stories drawn from local life and speech in the Kentucky mountains, James Still finds timeless beauty and universal meaning. -- Gurney Norman -- former Kentucky poet laureate and author of Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories
In a long-ago conversation James Still said to me, 'You must read Daudet—he can pierce your heart in a single line.' I nodded, thinking I could name another writer who had such skill, remembering the haunting lilt and ache of his poems and how each chapter of River of Earth left me breathless, struck by the power of simple lines that went straight to the heart without a trace of sentimentality. Later, when Still read 'The Nest' to one of my writing classes at Carson-Newman College, I had the profound pleasure of watching the mesmerizing effect of his words transform that class into a community of listeners united by a shared, unforgettable experience. And that’s what this collection of James Still’s stories can do for a new generation of readers—lead them into an awareness of the range and depth of human experience through an artistry of language. This collection reaffirms what so many of us have known for years—James Still is a master of the short story, his work a national treasure. -- Jeff Daniel Marion, author of The Hills Remember
See a Glossary of Terms used in Still's work and explore more about James Still at
While the reason behind creating a complete anthology of James Still's short stories might be to forever cement his reputation as the grand old man of Appalachian literature, I hope The Hills Remember reaches farther . . .hopefully people will discover that James Still is a great Appalachian writer, a great Southern writer, and most importantly, a great American writer. -- BiblioBuffet
Bravo to Ted Olson and the University Press of Kentucky for this valuable addition to James Still's legacy. -- Ron Rash -- author of One Foot in Eden: A Novel
This collection of all the short stories of James Still reveals the development of Still's craft during his years of keen observation of the character, values, and sly humor of his eastern Kentucky neighbors...to render a vivid portrait and intonation of the people of this place. -- Loyal Jones -- former director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College and author of Appalachian Values
A must read for anyone who is 'from here' or that has embraced the Appalachian mountain region as their own. We will learn more about ourselves than we knew and will be the better for having done so. -- Smoky Mountain News
Still's stories are among the best written by an American author. They are powerful, compact, and enriched by striking resonant language. -- Ashland Daily Independent
In his distinctive style--simple, compact and powerful--Still relays the rich textures of the fabric of Appalachian life. -- Chevy Chaser
Still has a gift for choosing the right word or phrase to convey the isolation and alienation of generations of eastern Kentucky folk. -- Bowling Green Daily News
The Hills Remember honors the late writer with the first comprehensive collection of his short fiction. -- Floyd County Times
Indeed, Olson's collection of Still's work is complete, but it is so much more than that--it is a tribute to one of Kentucky's finest writing minds, and in particular a showcase for how the "Dean of Appalachian Literature" arrived at a level to which so many aspire. -- Becky L. Meadows -- H-Net Kentucky -- St. Catharine College
In this landmark book, Ted Olson favorably compares Still's short fiction to the work of Poe, Hawthorne, Hemingway, Welty, and Cheever. Presenting all of Still's compelling and varied short stories in one volume, The Hills Remember is a testament to a master writer. This book is required reading for anyone who is 'from here' or who has embraced the Appalachian mountain regions. -- Thomas Crowe -- Now & Then
With The Hills Remember, his voice will continue to resonate as clea and as pure as a dipperful of cold mountain water on a hot day. -- Tina LoTufo -- The Knoxville News-Sentinel
The hills do remember James Still, and so should readers everywhere. -- Appalachian Journal
[. . .] Still’s style and narrative quality should warrant him a place among the great Southern storytellers. -- Georgia Library Quarterly