Y’all Means All collection

Edited by Z. Zane McNeill

Back blurb as written by Matthew Sparks:

“Y’all” is a celebration of the weird and wonderful aspects of a troubled region in all of their manifest glory! This collection is a thought-provoking hoot and a holler of “we’re queer and we’re here to stay, cause we’re every bit a piece of the landscape as the rocks and the trees” echoing through the hills of Appalachia and into the boardrooms of every media outlet and  opportunistic author seeking to define Appalachia from the outside for their own political agendas. Multidisciplinary and multi-genre, “Y’all” necessarily incorporates elements of critical theory, such as critical race theory and queer theory, while dealing with a multitude of methodologies, from quantitative analysis, to oral history and autoethnography.  

This collection eschews the contemporary trend of ˝reactive˛ or ˝responsive˛ writing in the genre of Appalachian studies, and alternatively, provides examples of how modern Appalachians are defining themselves on their own terms. As such, it also serves as a toolkit for other Appalachian readers to follow suit, and similarly challenge the labels, stereotypes and definitions often thrust upon them. While providing blunt commentary on the region’s past and present, the book’s soul is sustained by the resilience, ingenuity, and spirit exhibited by the authors; values which have historically characterized the Appalachian region, and are continuing to define its culture to the present.  

This work demonstrates above all else that Appalachia and its people are filled with a vitality and passion for their region which will slowly but surely effect long-lasting and positive changes in the region. If historically Appalachia has been treated as a ˝mirror˛ of the country, this book breaks that trend by allowing modern Appalachians to examine their own reflections and to share their insights in an honest, unfiltered manner with the world

Catching Dawn

A Search for a Dog and the Discovery of Family

by Melissa Armstrong, copyedited by Sparks and McNeill

Night delivers a litter of eight puppies in a poor neighborhood in Springfield, Tennessee the week before Melissa Armstrong first meets her. As a volunteer for a local nonprofit, Melissa has experience with strays and plans to rescue Night and her litter within days. But nothing goes as planned. For the next six months, Melissa and a ragtag cast of characters try to trap the mutt with nets, catchpoles, spring traps, cheeseburgers, hot dogs stuffed with Benadryl, and the dog’s crying puppies. They fail so many times that Melissa is on the brink of giving up. But when she learns about the brutal way the local police department controls the overpopulation problem in Night’s neighborhood, she reaffirms her promise to a dog. She vows to rescue her, no matter the consequences.

Catching Dawn is a beautifully written story of how Night became Dawn, and of the other dogs who have brought joy and heartbreak, moments of transcendence and despair, and unconditional love to the author’s life. Catching Dawn is also a vividly told and thoughtful reflection on the many highs and lows of caring for animals and humans in difficult circumstances; a gritty exposé of the consequences of animal overpopulation in the rural south; and the story of how a homeless dog helps a woman move through personal grief and upheaval to rediscover the meaning of family.



Adventures of a Farm Animal Protection Lawyer

by Peter Brandt, copyedited by Sparks and McNeill

A Humane Society lawyer uncovers the dirty dealings of America’s factory farms, and shows how we can reimagine farming and our relationship with animals to mitigate the effects of climate change. Peter Brandt, a litigator at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has been at the forefront of some of the toughest cases of animal abuse in the last ten years—including supervising a team of lawyers working to protect the interests of farm animals. In this revelatory and often surprisingly funny memoir-cum-manifesto, Brandt describes his growing awareness of the extent of the cruelty of animals in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (a.k.a. factory farms), and the manifold harms to human health, local communities, and the environment for those who live near them. He shows how it’s a world of enormous suffering, sustained by deliberate secrecy and misinformation, and reeking of corruption and lagoons full of ordure. Brandt details his realization of intensive animal farming’s further costs to wild creatures and their habitats, as well as clean water and clean air, and demonstrates how curbing animal agriculture is one of the few ways to make an immediate positive difference to climate change.

Arissa Media Group

Arissa Media Group is one of the only presses dedicated to publishing the work of those that have been and are  incarcerated in prisons, jails, border detention facilities, juvenile detention facilities, and mental hospitals for prisoners. We are currently partnering with them to expand upon their publications and maintain a swiftly moving pipeline.


Appalachian Futures: Black, Native & Queer Voices

A book series from University of Kentucky Press that gives voice to Black, Native, Latinx, Asian, Queer, and other nonwhite or ignored identities within the Appalachian region.