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Writer, Teacher, Editor

The Sound of Holding Your Breath 

“Sypolt writes with sober love and unselfconscious respect from the insides of people and a place too many writers—too many Americans—touch only from the outside.  Often in books about Appalachia, I recognize almost no one.  Here I recognize everyone.  An impressive debut.”  -Ann Pancake, author of Strange As This Weather Has Been

“These bold stories of individuals in conflict and love, rooted deep in their families and communities, echo those of Sherwood Anderson, Carson McCullers, and Breece Pancake. At the same time, Sypolt depicts contemporary Appalachia like no one else. This is a rich and astonishing debut.”  -Laura Long, author of Out of Peel Tree and coeditor of Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia

“ I have long been a fan of Natalie Sypolt's work and I am so glad that there is now a collection of her stories I can give to others.   This is writing of the highest order, with a sense of place so vivid we can smell the lake water and feel the breeze as it comes up to greet us on the front porch where we're peeling potatoes alongside characters so real they threaten to walk off the page and into our lives. Every sentence sings and every story haunts the reader in all of the best ways. The Sound of Holding Your Breath is a bold and important debut that announces a major new voice. It's also the best story collection I've read in a long while.”  -Silas House, author of Clay’s Quilt and Southernmost

"Natalie Sypolt has written gorgeous stories about a much maligned region and a people that are too often viewed from the interstate, behind a camera, and on the screen. If these viewers were too slow down and open the pages of a book like this one, they would discover lives not so different from their own, and they would find a people hewn by place, tied to one another, defined by hope and rage and heart. This is an important by an important writer."


- Wiley Cash, author of The Last Ballad

News & Events

News & Events


Writers Conference at Shepherd University

Visiting Writer, Tennessee Technical Institute


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September 18-20

Appalachian Heritage Writer in Residency Events with Crystal Wilkinson


Master Class

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Visiting Writer, Westmoreland County Community College


My book was chosen as the one book at WCCC. Every student will be reading it in his or her English class! It's so exciting!

Visit to Jill Sunday's Class, Waynesburg University


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National Convention for Teachers of English (NCTE), Baltimore


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Presenting on a panel with Wiley Cash, Robert Gipe, and Crystal Wilkinson (moderated by Jessica Salfia and Karla Hilliard). Can I really be on this panel? Pinch me. 

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Natalie Sypolt lives and writes in West Virginia. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Appalachian Heritage, Still: The Journal, Switchback, r.kv.r.y., Ardor Literary Magazine, Superstition Review, Paste, Willow Springs Review, and The Kenyon Review Online, among other fine journals.  Natalie is the winner of the Glimmer Train New Writers Contest, the Betty Gabehart Prize, the West Virginia Fiction Award, and the Still fiction contest.  She is also an active book reviewer whose work has appeared in Los Angeles Review, Bookslut, Fjords Review, Paste, Shenandoah, Harpur Palate, and Mid American Review.  Additionally, Natalie serves as a literary editor for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, participates in Women of Appalachia (a juried reading series), and is currently the Vice President of the Appalachian Studies Association. Natalie currently works as an Associate Professor of English at Pierpont Community & Technical College. She lives with some hound dogs and cats.



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