Born in eastern Tennessee and raised in southwestern Virginia, Lonormi Manuel has called Kentucky home for over thirty years. Her writing, both fiction and nonfiction, addresses universal themes in Appalachian settings. A passionate historian, genealogist, and student of the labor movement, Lonormi finds inspiration for her fiction in old newspapers, oral histories, and the stories of the working class. She writes not only about, but for the Appalachian people, and seeks to refute or redefine the “hillbilly” label through her work.
Her short fiction has appeared in Still: The Journal, Wraparound South, Barely South Journal, and Change Seven Magazine. Her short story, “An Unmarked Grave,” received the 2017 Short Fiction Prize from Still: The Journal. Her narrative essay, "An Exultation for Appalachia" was awarded First Prize in the Appalachian Narratives for Our Time competition sponsored by the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center of Berea College, and was published by The Roanoke Review.
Lonormi will receive her MFA from Southern New Hampshire University in early 2021. Her current project is a novel based on oral history and set in the coal camps of southern West Virginia during the 1920s and 1930s.