Discover the World of Keowee Valley

Katherine Scott Crawford is an award-winning writer, newspaper and magazine columnist, and college English teacher. She’s the author of Keowee Valley, an historical adventure set in the Revolutionary-era Carolinas and in the Cherokee country. Her parenting/outdoor life columns have appeared in newspapers across the United States and abroad, including U.S.A. Today, The Greenville News (S.C.), the Asheville Citizen-Times (N.C.), The Detroit Free PressThe Herald (Scotland), and many more.

“A glorious debut from a gifted author.”
-Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Big Stone Gap and The Shoemaker’s Wife

Keowee Valley is a terrific first novel by Katherine Scott Crawford–a name that should be remembered.”
-Pat Conroy, bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad

“Katherine Scott Crawford is a fresh and valuable new voice in Southern Literature.” -Ron Rash, bestselling author of Serena and Saints at the River

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Enjoy the Keowee Valley Trailer

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Show & Share Wednesday: What I’m Reading, Listening to, & Watching Now

Hi, friends! I sure hope y’all are hanging in there.

Here we are, already in September, and our world has changed in ways not many of us (even those of us with very willing suspensions of disbelief) could have imagined. I don’t know about you, but I’m doing my best to stay open, and curious, and kind–and heaven help us, to remain hopeful. Some days I’m like a concave, curved line on one of those math graphs: sinking. Others, I manage an upswing. I figure: one foot in front of the other. (I know, I’m mixing metaphors. This is life in 2020.) 

Here are three things I’ve been into lately. They are a piece of writing, a podcast, and a TV show which has struck me in some way, whether by its beauty or agony, its hard truths or easy delights.

1. Jesmyn Ward’s recent essay in Vanity Fair: “On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic”

I don’t have the capacity to describe the power of Ward’s story, her courage and sheer mastery in the telling. You really have to read it for yourself. If you read one thing this week, read this.

HopeHist2. Hope Through History, a new podcast narrated by historian Jon Meacham. I’m a history buff, and right now, I need history more than ever–as a reminder of what is possible, and also what is imperative. The first episode discusses another challenging time in American history–the Great Depression–and how the people, and a president, rose to the occasion.

3. Sleep has not come easy since the Covid-19 pandemic really began back in March. I’ve tried everything: meditation, diurnal sleep sounds and music, no screens, legal CBD oil (which has been helpful in other ways; more on that later), Benadryl, and prayer. Nothing has worked well, except for listening to audio books as I fall asleep.

Books rarely put me to sleep when I read at night. In fact, reading at night is one of stilllife2my favorite daily habits–it’s something I do no matter the time I finally am able to climb into bed. But for some reason, when I listen to an audiobook, no matter the audiobook, I drift off. Lately, I’ve been rereading one of my favorite series of all time: Louise Penny’s novels set in the Canadian town of Three Pines, starring the cerebral, brave, and kind Chief Inspector Gamache. The novels are layered with themes, details, and startling craft (I’m in awe of Penny’s powers as a writer). Start with Still Life, the first in the series. I own many of Penny’s novels, so I’m listening via my Libby app through my county library. The audiobooks are narrated by the late, wonderful Ralph Cosham, who won an Audie Award for his narration of Penny’s series.

4. What to watch? I know there’s a complicated psychological reason why the more options we have, the more difficult it is to choose. But I waste precious time scrolling through the choices of what to watch on television (and arguing with my husband about who gets to pick) most nights. On a whim, I started watching Riverdale on Netflix. It made me remember being a teenager and then college student during the days of 90210, Dawson’s Creek, and Felicity. The Gothic-camp combo, plus the old Archie-Jughead comic inspirations, plus the late and lovely Luke Perry, plus the sheer ridiculous teen-angst-drama of it all, are a 100% escape from reality. And I’m in.



What are y’all reading, watching, and listening to these days? I’d love your suggestions!

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New favorite podcast: Hope Through History

HopeHistI am listening to the podcast HOPE THROUGH HISTORY on my walks, in order to remind myself of the America I love and which is worth fighting for, but more for the reminder that there have been and will continue to be presidents worthy of the title.

The first episode is about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and in it historian Jon Meacham quotes from one of my favorites of FDR‘s speeches: The commencement address at Oglethorpe University. The main reason it’s my favorite: Remember what 1932 was like in the United States of America? (If you don’t remember, egads: Look it up!)

FDR said the following, and so much more:

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all try something. … We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer. We need the courage of the young.

Listen, remember, take heart and hope, and for love of country, VOTE.




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Small wonders

IMG_2321One of the small wonders of the pandemic–which resulted in us choosing virtual school for our daughters, ages 11 and 7–has been turning our dining room into a schoolroom. Because we were basically using it as storage (it’s a dark, inner room in a 1940s house), this has been a big change.

It opened the doors of my favorite piece of furniture in the house: a 1700s, Shaker-style corner cabinet, crafted andIMG_2322 built near the North Carolina – Virginia border. The milk paint, the rubbed spot in the door where 300 years of Americans have placed their hands, the fact it was a gift from my beloved in-laws, make it incredibly special to me.

It’s stuffed full of the things once too fragile to leave in the crash-into vicinity of young kids and a puppy–wedding gifts, crystal, china, and more–so I’ve some curating to do. There are so many good stories in that wood.

IMG_2332 IMG_2323

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What I’m reading now: House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild

houseoftrelawneyI admit, I reached for this book because of its pretty, impish cover, which reminded me of my favorite adult coloring books. And the fact that I’ll read anything about a house.

Wow, was there more. Here’s my brief take:

Hannah Rothschild’s House of Trelawney is wild, richly funny, beautifully rendered. It is dialogue-intense, breathlessly smart. When it scathes, even, its satire is accompanied by full-hearted affection for this wonderful, awful, meticulously-drawn band of characters. This is a place-based book, and I was seeped in it from the first page. Trelawney is a house like no other. It’s the most unique story I’ve read in years.

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Keowee Valley only 99 cents now through July 31st

keowee graphic (2)Looking for a historical adventure to dive into this summer? Set in the gorgeous, wild, and dangerous Carolina backcountry in the years leading up to the American Revolution? Starring an audacious woman bound and determined to pilot her own life, no matter what it looks like?

My first novel, Keowee Valley, is on sale now until July 31 for only $0.99 (via Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google & Apple).

It’s a bit ego-crushing to call your novel a “debut” when it was published almost 8 years ago and you’ve not published a second novel yet. But this is mine. Happily, Adriana Trigiani called Keowee Valley “stunning,” “evocative,” and “beautiful.” Pat Conroy said mine was “a name that should be remembered,” Tommy Hays said the novel was “sensual,” “gripping, magically embodied,” and Ron Rash said I was “a fresh and valuable new voice in Southern literature.” These are the things I cling to, as a writer and creative, in these creativity-stymied times when all I’m doing is holding my family together by a thread (also when my 7 year-old screams that I don’t understand her as she speeds away on the bike I bought her).

If you’ve not read Keowee Valley after all these years, I hope you’ll take a 99-cent chance on it now, or mention it to your friends. I’m pretty proud to say readers of all genders and stripes have enjoyed the story, and I’m glad folks still read it. If your book club wants to pick it up, let me know. I’m a great Zoom date.

You can purchase Keowee Valley for only 99 cents through July 31 at the following sites:



Barnes & Noble



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Summer reading recommendation: “The Summer Set” by Aimee Agresti

thesummersetI picked up The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti (Graydon House Books, 2020) on a whim, not knowing a thing about the author. The gorgeous cover–all summer night and twinkle lights–and the copy on the back cover, promising a cast of unique characters at a summer Shakespeare theater in the Berkshires, led to the grab.

And I loved it. I needed it. It’s smart, funny, and full of heart. One of the book’s stars, 39 year-old former big-time Hollywood actress Charlie Savoy, leapt off the page: full of verve and authenticity, talking the way I always want my female characters to talk. She is wonderfully, blisteringly HERSELF … no apologies. 

My thanks to Agresti, for reminding this former theater kid (who let her insecurities take her from the stage far too soon) about the community, magic, and romp of the playhouse. About the earthy, unending delights of the Bard. And about the timeless, lovely kick you get when you believe in yourself.

Bookish friends, put The Summer Set on your summer reading lists!

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“But bears it out even to the edge of doom”: or, Happy 16th Anniversary to Us

Taken on our honeymoon in Costa Rica, 2004.

Taken on our honeymoon in Costa Rica, 2004.

The first half of the title of this post is from William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116.” Feels apropro for these wild and woolly times … and for marriage in general.

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary.

16 years of marriage.
2 children.
2 dogs.
2 houses.
2 towns.
3 graduate degrees.
Too many jobs to count.
My 20s, his 30s.
My 30s, his 40s.
Our 40s and 50s.
Innumerable friendships.
3,521 hikes.
Camp High Rocks, Folly Beach, Clemson, Greenville, Charleston, Costa Rica, Brevard, Scotland, DC, Vermont.
Miles of road trip talks.
Damn good music.
Infinite laughter.
Every day arguing.
Every day dreaming.
Endless do-overs.
Always together.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.

P.S. The traditional present for the 16th wedding anniversary is wax. Who knew?

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Essay: Motherhood is an Act of Infinite Optimism

Happy Mother’s Day, y’all!

Here’s a gift from me to you: a link to the Mother’s Day newspaper column I wrote for Gannett in 2017. I hope it makes you laugh.

Motherhood is “an act of infinite optimism”

My eternal thanks and love to my mother, and to the mothers who have mothered me so well over many years.


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What I’m reading now: Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl

Hi, readerly folks.

I’m an Instagram convert, and occasionally I talk there about the books I’m reading. Usually it’s a lovefest, because I just can’t stand NOT to share the stories which change me. Margaret Renkl’s debut book of essays, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss (Milkweed Editions, 2019) is just that kind of book.

Here’s my MBR (mini book review, because you have to be pithy on Insta), via my Instagram account:

LateMigrationsI always read several books at a time. Usually I’m all up in a novel (or two, depending on style or genre), a history or biography, a book of essays, and a book of poems … plus the articles I tend to consume daily. Earning two graduate degrees in books was hard, but the amount of reading required was catnip to me–even with babies and small children in the mix. Honestly, it may be my only superpower.

But this book: Margaret Renkl’s book of essays, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, made me put everything else away. This is a debut book from Renkl, who’s a native Alabaman and an opinion writer for The New York Times. It’s more than a modern Walden, more than a bit of a suburban Southern girl’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, more than a book of mothers and daughters, grief and constancy. And yet … different. None of these comparisons quite do it justice. Because, of course, it’s a book for everyone and anyone longing for the mystery, wonder, and salve that is the natural world. Missing it, perhaps, without knowing.

I only make comparisons to try to connect. But Late Migrations spoke to me on many levels, including being a writer. It’s the kind of book which makes me physically want to write–stirs me to move, to put pen to paper, to jot notes into my phone. (That’s not the norm, even for a word addict.)

I checked this book out of the library, but I’m also going to buy it–for myself, and for my loved ones. Late Migrations is that kind of book.

P.S. This book is a family thing. The chapter illustrations by Billy Renkl are just plain gorgeous.



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Happy Birthday, Will Shakespeare … whoever you are

WillSMy apologies, dear friends and readers, for being so absent. I was not the most frequent of communicators before Covid-19 sent all our lives into a tailspin, and now, well … we all know what now is.

My creative life has been stolen from me like a thief in the night. Snatched away like a tablecloth by a magician. Drowned under a sea of maternal and spousal and householdal (yep, made that one up) obligations.

Speaking of DRAMA, it’s William Shakespeare’s birthday. Or, at least, when historians and scholars think his birthday was. Or her birthday. Really, the theories about Shakespeare’s origins are endless. They are as fascinating and as full of infinite potential as Shakespeare’s unparalleled imagination. Frankly, when it comes to Shakespeare’s biology, I just don’t give a damn.

In honor of Will’s birthday, here are photos of some of my treasures: twoADBFA501-DA34-4219-9E92-B94886AA63C9 volumes of The Dramatic Works and Poems of William Shakespeare, edited by Samuel Weller Singer and Charles Symmons, published in 1839 by Harper & Brothers; and, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 4th edition, edited by David Bevington and published in 1997 by Longman. The former I used through a career as an undergraduate English major at Clemson University, during pursuit of my MA in English at the College of Charleston and The Citadel, and whilst earning my MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts–a span of 17 years. My handwriting has changed quite a bit, my penchant for writing in books only exacerbated.

If you’re anything like me, books are part of what’s getting you through this time of physical distancing and quarantine. Every night and day my prayers contain a variety of different thanks, but always include these: for the health of family and friends, our mountain home, coffee, and books.

I hope you all are well, safe, and smart. If you want to keep in touch, the best place to find me is on Instagram, where I post almost daily (and not so wordily). Everything else has gone to the dogs. BD747450-8E65-4B43-8DC2-238E46AA637D 67457D1B-48F1-487F-AB06-EBC8E64C6192 4268D9AC-74C1-4635-86F3-41C16077FD70 94CBCC86-54A9-451B-B0BE-F68F89FA63DA 07CA2C27-61EF-4614-828F-888345A03536 2CC78A8D-1970-40A1-8F9E-433AC561ADD9


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