Humor in Appalachian Lit: A Reading from Bernadette Peters Hates Me - True Tales from a Delusional Man

My reading will entertain, educate, and engage the ASA membership in attendance by presenting the face of a middle-aged gay man, who after living away from Appalachia for years, was forced to return to his hometown in southeastern Kentucky to help his extended family.

The importance of humor is often overlooked in literature, but it provides a needed balance to many stories that would be too heavy without a levity break. This allows the reader a chance to decompress before delving deeper into the tale. The genre of humor has deep roots in Appalachian Literature. Folktales and legends have relied on humor to convey very serious messages and lessons for hundreds of years. Some of Appalachia’s most revered writers have used humor a great deal in their work, including Loyal Jones, Gurney Norman, and Wendell Berry.

As an emerging LGTBQ Appalachian writer, I use this genre to speak about universal truths in a way that is not intimidating or threatening. My reading will help promote dialogue, education, and creative expression related to Appalachia among a diverse and inclusive membership. The reading will also be open to any questions people have about using humor in writing. Plus, we will have quite a few laughs along the way.