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Newfound cover
June 2004
by Jim Wayne Miller

In this coming-of-age novel, we see young Robert Wells’ world gradually widening as he grows from boy to young man and begins to experience life outside his small farming community. The story is recognizably author Jim Wayne Miller’s own. Born in the hills of western North Carolina, he, too, discovered a passion for learning and went off to Kentucky’s Berea College to pursue it. Miller went on to a doctorate at Vanderbilt and a distinguished 33-year teaching career at Western Kentucky University. He became an erudite scholar of German literature, a world traveler, and an honored poet. But he always remained firmly grounded in Appalachia and was a friend, mentor, and inspiration to generations of the region’s writers. As a scholar, Miller wrote essays and other works examining Appalachia from the perspective of a social historian, documenting its culture and taking a clear-eyed look at its challenges. Newfound and its sequel, His First, Best Country, his only novels, were both written in his 50s and approach the same subjects from a more personal point of view, paying tribute to the place and the family and neighbors who shaped the author’s own experience of the world.

Viewer’s response—Martha Bennett Stiles on “played hob with” and on Jim Wayne Miller

Card catalog entry from the Library of Congress

Blurbs from the book cover

Publisher: Gnomon Press, P.O. Box 475, Frankfort, KY 40602-0475 information page

Barnes and Noble information page

Jim Wayne Miller
Photo: Guy Mendes

Jim Wayne Miller

Appalachian Literature: At Home in This World—an essay by Jim Wayne Miller

Daring To Look in the Well—a conversation between Jim Wayne Miller and James Still

In The Thistle and the Brier, Richard Blaustein speculates on why Miller referred to himself as “the Brier.”

Western Kentucky University, where Miller taught German as well as summer writing workshops for 33 years, holds an annual Jim Wayne Miller Celebration of Writing each fall during Homecoming festivities.

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