March 31st: Taylor Books (Charleston, West Virginia)
For the second leg of my “12 Rounds in Lo’s Gym” book tour, I found myself back in the capital of my home state of West Virginia for a reading and signing at Taylor Books, a literary landmark and must-visit destination for those traveling through the mountain state.This event was particularly special to me because, for the first time, I was able to read the story of Lo’s Gym with actual members of Lo’s Gym Boxing Club in attendance. It was great catching up with former West Virginia amateur boxer Myria Gumm and 2-time Silver Glove Lightweight Champion Dustin Wood. The stories of both fighters are profiled in my book.
April 3rd: Marshall University (Huntington, West Virginia)
It was a blessing to be back at my undergraduate alma mater of Marshall University. For this event, I gave a guest lecture in an Appalachian Literature course, took part in a book signing at the Marshall University Bookstore, and gave a reading that was open to both the public and the Marshall University community. Ironically, I had the opportunity to meet the grandson of Marvin Gothard, the late Webster County football coach who served as a mentor to my father. Those who have read the book know that Marvin Gothard’s legacy is a key component to the story of Lo’s Gym Boxing Club.
April 4th: Ohio University (Athens, Ohio)
The following day I was back at “Harvard on the Hocking,” my graduate school alma mater of Ohio University. This reading was special to me for a number of reasons. First, I really enjoyed meeting the new Ohio University graduate students and hearing about their work. Second, there were so many of my graduate school professors in attendance. “12 Rounds in Lo’s Gym” originally began as a 20 page short story in a creative writing seminar taught by Ohio University professor Dinty W. Moore. It was great seeing Dinty, as well as my dissertation director Mara Holt. Also, a special thank you goes out to the good folks at Little Professor Book Center (located on Court Street, Athens, Ohio) for setting up shop to provide books for the event.
April 6th: Appalachian Studies Association (Cincinnati, Ohio)
This was my first time presenting at the Appalachian Studies Association and it was profound and inspiring experience. I had the pleasure of meeting superstar Appalachian scholar/activist Elizabeth Catte (if you haven’t read “What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia,” please do) and presented on the same panel as her partner Josh Howard. Josh is doing brilliant historical work on sports in Appalachia. It was a blessing to be in the presence so many passionate Appalachian writers, scholars, musicians, and activists. I plan on returning to ASA for as long as they’ll have me. And, I was already back in New York when J.D. Vance hit the stage that weekend so I didn’t get the chance to turn my back on him as did so many of my ASA colleagues in protest.
April 14: City Books (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
This was my first time visiting City Books, an independent bookstore located on Galveston Avenue in Pittsburgh. The crowd was a mix of local literary folks and members of the Steel City branch of my family tree. Arlan Hess, the owner of the store, is also the host of Shelf Life, a television show about Pittsburgh authors and topics relevant to life in Pennsylvania and life in the tri-state region. I’ll be recording a segment for Arlan’s show later this summer. I can’t wait to visit City Books again.
Lo’s Gym in the Media
The Fight City: “12 Rounds in Lo’s Gym” was reviwed by Rafael Garcia of “The Fight City,” a Montreal-based website with a literary edge. To read the review, click HERE
ESPN Radio: I had the pleasure of kicking it with Lavack & Goz from ESPN 104.5 The Team. To listen to the interview, click HERE
To order a copy of “12 Rounds in Lo’s Gym: Boxing and Manhood in Appalachia,” click HERE