Growing up on Muddy Creek Mountain in southern Greenbrier County, Mesha Maren often spent her afternoons visiting neighbors. “Dulsey Baker was like a grandmother to me,” she remembers. “She was amazing at everything from making biscuits to telling stories to gardening. She was the coolest person I’d ever met.”
Mesha still lives on Muddy Creek Mountain in the summer and winter months. She teaches English at Duke University in the fall and spring months, in addition to writing novels.
Her first novel, Sugar Run, was inspired in-part by the Alderson Federal Prison Camp. Mesha taught inmates creative writing from 2015-2020. She’s in discussions with a production company now for her book to be adapted into a screenplay!
Since then, she has written the critically-acclaimed novel, Perpetual West, which was set along the US/Mexico border and allowed her to showcase a love of wrestling. Her newest novel is expected in the spring of 2024. It’s set in Greenbrier County and chronicles addiction in the midst of pregnancy.
All of Mesha’s work is remarkable in that it doesn’t romanticize hard times. Instead, it looks at life’s many little details with an empathy and understanding that makes perfect sense for a girl raised on Muddy Creek Mountain. (Stay tuned to RealWV for a full interview with Mesha coming very soon.)
For her rooted approach to teaching our nation’s brightest students, writing thoughtfully for the world to understand hard times, and doing so between the mountains of West Virginia and the halls of academia at Duke University, we proudly name Mesha Maren as the certified Real West Virginia of the Week.
If you’d like to nominate someone as The Real West Virginian of the Week, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.