Rob Merritt, Bluefield College (editor-in-chief, nonfiction editor); Cy Dillon, Ferrum College (fiction editor); Mark Roberts, Virginia Intermont College (poetry editor); and Joe Champagne, Virginia Intermont College (photography editor, webmaster) released the first issue in the autumn of 2001. It included remarks by Dr. Carol Boggess (Mars Hill College) made earlier that year at the funeral of the ninety-five-year-old writer James Still. "Don't expect to find stereotyped characters in my fiction," Still had said, and Nantahala takes its motto—"Transcend Appalachian Stereotypes"—from him. It manifests this mission through work ranging from Thomas Rain Crowe's international subject matter to Jon Hounshell's use of modern design techniques to resee history.
In 2003 the journal won the Appalachian Studies Association's e-Appalachia Award. The association noted that "the site is an excellent model of how the web can channel and facilitate collaboration in the region." It maintained that "the content of the site is top-notch and diverse … The site does not limit itself to any narrow definition of who an Appalachian artist is and what he or she does." The association concluded, "In the hands of Joe Champagne, the web designer, html itself is a form of artistic expression."
Nantahala takes advantage of its online format to allow viewers to examine photographers' portfolios, and to see and hear artists in their own words. Supported by a grant from the Appalachian College Association and the Mellon Foundation, Nantahala is hosted on the web servers of Virginia Intermont College. Back issues are housed in the e-journal archives at Virginia Tech.
2000 - Nantahala, an online journal featuring writing and photography by artists associated with Appalachia, is founded.
2001 - The first issue of Nantahala is released.
2003 - Nantahala wins the Appalachian Studies Association's e-Appalachia Award.
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First published: July 16, 2008 | Last modified: December 4, 2008