Authors@Alden: A Conversation with Robert Gipe – OHIO University Libraries

Authors@Alden: A Conversation with Robert Gipe

Robert Gipe, author, playwright, and professor of humanities at the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. (Image courtesy of Ohio University Press)
Robert Gipe, author, playwright, and professor of humanities at the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. (Image courtesy of Ohio University Press)

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, Ohio University Libraries will welcome Robert Gipe, author, playwright, and professor of humanities at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, to discuss his book titled, “Trampoline,” in the 1951 Lounge, on the fourth floor of Alden Library, from 3:00-4:00 p.m.

“I am always excited about coming to Athens,” said Gipe. “It is one of Ohio’s jewels. It will also be good to be in the hometown of my publisher and maybe see some of my friends from there.”

“Trampoline” presents the coming-of-age story of 15-year old Dawn Jewell, an outspoken girl who must cope with family issues, while helping her grandmother to challenge coal-mining practices in rural Kentucky. The tone and mood of the characters is communicated through Gipe’s original drawings, which accompany the text throughout the book.

Dr. Rachel Terman, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Ohio University, uses Gipe’s book in her course “Sociology of Appalachia.” During the event, she will interview Gipe, and the interview will be followed by an audience Q&A session.

“Trampoline” received the Weatherford Award at the 39th Appalachian Studies Association Annual Conference in 2015. (Image courtesy of Ohio University Press)
“Trampoline” received the Weatherford Award at the 39th Appalachian Studies Association Annual Conference in 2015. (Image courtesy of Ohio University Press)

In March 2015, “Trampoline” was published by the Ohio University Press, and was acclaimed by critics such as Michael Ray Taylor, who authored the article titled, “Robert Gipe’s illustrated novel ‘Trampoline’ new American classic,” for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Taylor wrote:

“In Gipe’s hands, Jewell’s voice is musical and honest, her language and syntax brooking no nonsense and yet capturing the beauty and nuance of mountain life that others around her miss. ‘Trampoline’ is a new American masterpiece.”

In 2015, “Trampoline” was the recipient of the Weatherford Award in fiction. This honor, which is collaboratively bestowed by the Appalachian Studies Association and Berea College, is given to works that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.”

Robert Gipe, a North Carolina native, received his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University, and a master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

After graduating, Gipe began a career as the marketing and educational services director for Appalshop, where he worked with public school teachers in the planning and execution of arts and education projects.

Today, Gipe also serves as the Appalachian program director at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, and has held this position since 1997. He is also the college’s faculty coordinator for the Crawdad Student Arts Festivals—a series of events highlighting dancing, music, art, writing, and many other forms of creative expression.

In addition, Gipe is one of the producers of “Higher Ground,” a series of community-based musical dramas that are inspired by oral histories and local topics.

Please join the Libraries for an enlightening afternoon with Robert Gipe. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

A live webcast of the event will be available here.