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Local author publishes memoir in verse

Lena Cantrell McNicholas has done it again. Not only has she won awards for her writings, she has created her own memoir.

Patchwork: Pieces of Appalachia has just hit the shelves and is laced with short stories, poems, songs and essays about her childhood and her friends and family.

All of the stories and poems in the book were written at different times and were meant to stand alone.

“There was never an idea for a book. One day, I had all of the works spread out, and I didn’t know if I should toss them or what. Then I began to rearrange them and realized this is a book. This is something that is different, and it is a type of memoir,” McNicholas said.

McNicholas has been writing on and off for about 20 years. Running a bed and breakfast and taking part in a music society was a main priority.

“Sometimes these ideas would pop in my mind, and I would just have to get them down,” she said.

Thinking about her mother and childhood were obvious inspiration for her works.

“Talking with my mother about my childhood would always spark a story to write about, which is how all of these came about,” McNicholas said.

McNicholas was not the only writer in the famil. Her mother, she said, was a closeted writer. It was not until McNicholas was in college and cleaning out her attic that she came across a couple poems written by her mother.

“First Violets,” which is in Patchwork, is one written by her mother.

The award-winning writer is working on another book that will be coming out sometime next year. In the nearer future, she is going to readings for her new book and trying to get it out there.

The book is available for sale by the author herself or in small book stores in Charlottesville.

Story by Jenny Hypes. Jenny can be reached at