Peggy Poe Stern, Mountain Author: Ever so common, ever so uncommon


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For Carol Murdock's review, February 18, 2010, of

Heaven-high and Hell-deep and Above All


The Writers Porch





Excerpt from

Page 12A, Mitchell News-Journal, April 25, 2007


Mountain Stories

Local Author Peggy Poe Stern writes novels about Appalachian culture


In addition to farming, surveying, and raising six children, Peggy Poe Stern also finds time to raise small dogs, and care for all kinds of orphaned animals. These two young deer seem to appreciate the attention.


Nathan Hall

News-Journal Staff

Peggy Poe Stern is all mountain, and proud of it.

Her heritage shows from head to toe - in her tough, work-worn hands, and in the easy, flowing cadence of her mountain voice.

If the best writers write about what they know, then Stern is already miles down the right road.

She married at 17, is a mother of six children (al­though she said her husband wanted an even dozen), a tobacco farmer, an assistant land surveyor, a traveling Christmas tree seller.

She loves living things, young children, small ani­mals, things that give life.

Only when her children were grown did she find time to write, and soon after bought the equipment to pub­lish her own books.

Now with 10 books and novels to her credit, she is becoming a favorite author for people who like to read authentic stories about life in Appalachia.

Stern was raised in a re­mote mountain hollow in Ashe County, and has spent pretty much every day of her life absorbed in some kind of farm work.

Her first-hand knowledge of country life, its ties to the changing seasons, the subtle shifts of the earth and heav­ens are evident in her writ­ing.

"Heaven High", was her first book, a vivid description of life as she saw it growing up in rural North Carolina.

Even though it was not that long ago, she said the life she knew is gone.

"Mountain heritage is disappearing," she said. "And I wanted to show the people how it was at that time."

Her novel, "Wild Thing" tells the story of a cast-off or­phan who struggles to survive in a harsh and unforgiving wilderness.

Others like, "Heaven High", "Mountain Splendor", and "The Hills of Home" show the author's love for the people and mountains of western North Carolina.

And even though the books reveal much about the au­thor's life, Stern said her goal has always been to pass along a glimpse of life as it once was for all people living in this part of the world.

"First off, I wanted to en­tertain," she said. "Second, I wanted to give people some information - a little some­thing to learn."

Stern has the knack for storytelling, and she has paid attention to the events of her time - especially things that happen in the mountains.

And even though the times, and people, are changing -Stern takes the good with the bad.

"I hate for our culture to go," she said.

"But I see so many improve­ments. You just live with what you've got."


Peggy Poe Stern has written ten books about Appalachian life, drawing from her childhood in rural Ashe County. She now lives in Foscoe.  

<end of news article>

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