M. Lynne Squires

ASHLAND A writer from the region won the annual Pearl S. Buck Writing for Social Change award.

M. Lynne Squires of Scott Depot won the award, given by West Virginia Writers Inc., this spring, the time when the group normally has its annual writer’s conference; because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was canceled and awards were presented via Zoom on June 13.

“I was thrilled to win the award this year,” Squires said. “Last year my entry placed second, so I was delighted to receive the first-place award this year.”

Squires won the award for her short story titled “Buford’s Barn,” about an elderly widower living alone successfully, even as his son and daughter-in-law try to persuade him to leave his home for an assisted living facility.

“He rejects their ideas while acknowledging the time will come eventually,” Squires said. “Meanwhile, he defends his right to live his life in his way. Buford’s story illustrates getting old does not equal the inability to thrive and live a productive life.”

Squires also is a finalist in the West Virginia Fiction Competition sponsored by the West Virginia Center for the Book. Her current project is a series of short stories about a woman in an asylum in the 1950s who undergoes shock therapy for depression.

Her first book, her memoir titled  “Letters to my Son — Reflections of Urban Appalachia at Mid-Century,” presents a different perspective on urban Appalachians. Her work has appeared in anthologies and journals, including the 2018 Anthology of Appalachian Writers. Her blog, The View From My Cup, occasionally hosts guest writers.

Squires also writes columns for Charleston Home and Living magazine. She represents the Literary Arts on the West Virginia Tamarack Artisan Board. She is a past treasurer and newsletter editor for West Virginia Writers, Inc., and a former reviewer on the WV Book Team for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, where she reviewed books by West Virginia authors.

The Pearl S. Buck Writing for Social Change award honors submissions on the theme of encouraging positive change in culture and society. The category is sponsored by the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation in Hillsboro, W.Va., and is inspired by Buck’s tradition of writing with the intent of bringing about social change. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for her novel “The Good Earth.” In 1938, she became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She championed many causes including women’s rights, minority rights, and the adoption of mixed-race children.

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