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Denise Giardina, Author, Papers

Collection Number: A&M 3740

Scope and Contents

Papers of Appalachian author Denise Giardina, whose 1987 novel Storming Heaven received the W. D. Weatherford Award, and 1992 novel The Unquiet Earth received the American Book Award and the Lillian Smith Book Award for fiction. The collection includes research notebooks and draft manuscripts of her historical novels Good King Harry, Storming Heaven, The Unquiet Earth, Saints and Villains, and Emily's Ghost.

The collection also includes five 5 1/4 in. floppy computer disks containing electronic files and Giardina's notes, drafts for an unfinished and unpublished work of nonfiction entitled "The State of Appalachia", and a draft of a play about Senator Robert C. Byrd entitled "Robert and Ted".

Additional material partains to her personal and professional life, covering topics including her childhood an Italian heritage, her travels, and her campaign for Governor of West Virginia in 2000.

Series include:
Series 1. Floppy Disks (undated), box 1
Series 2. Good King Harry (1984, undated), boxes 1-2
Series 3. Storming Heaven (undated), boxes 2-4
Series 4. The Unquiet Earth (undated), boxes 4-5
Series 5. Saints and Villains and Fallam's Secret (undated), box 5
Series 6. Emily's Ghost (2006-2009, undated), box 6
Series 7. Miscellaneous Manuscripts (2002-2013, undated), boxes 6-7
Addendum of 2014/06/30, Animals (undated), box 7
Addendum of 2016/12/15, Correspondence, Photographs, and Other Material (ca. 1950-2008), boxes 8-10
Addendum of 2017/10/19, Photographs and Other Material (ca. 1900-2016), box 11
Addendum of 2018/02/23, Saints and Villains and Other Material (ca. 1979-1999, undated), box 12


  • Creation: ca. 1900-2016


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Researchers may access born digital materials by requesting to view the materials in person by appointment or remotely by contacting the West Virginia & Regional History Center reference department at

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.

Biographical / Historical

Denise Giardina (1951- ) was born in Bluefield, West Virginia and spent her childhood in a McDowell County coal mining camp named Black Wolf. Giardina's father and other members of her family were employed by the coal company. The mine closed when Giardina was thirteen, and her family was forced to move to Charleston in search of work.

Giardina pursued higher education at West Virginia Wesleyan College, graduating 1973 with a Bachelor's degree in History. She continued on to do graduate work at Marshall University. Giardina considered ordination in the Episcopal Church and pursued a Masters in Divinity at the Virginia Theological Seminary of Alexandria, Virginia, which she received in 1979. Giardina decided to write rather than to be ordained, publishing her first historical novel, "Good King Harry", in 1984.

Giardina's next two novels, "Storming Heaven" (1987) and "The Unquiet Earth" (1992) draw on the author's childhood experiences growing up in a coal camp and on the history of the West Virginia coalfields. Giardina has published several other novels on historical subjects. She currently teaches at West Virginia State University and serves as an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church.


3.0 Linear Feet (3 ft. (7 document cases, 2 1/2 in. each); (3 document cases, 5 in. each); (1 notecard box, 3 in.); (1 flat storage box, 1 1/2 in.))

0.002 Gigabytes (55 files, formats include .txt, .doc, .docx, and .po)

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

Denise Giardina, Author, Papers, ca. 1900-2016
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
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Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US