The Last Mountain Dancer
This gonzo-style metamemoir follows Chuck Kinder on a wild tour of the back roads of his home state of West Virginia, where he encounters Mountain State legends like Sid Hatfield, Dagmar, Robert C. Byrd, the Mothman, Chuck Yeager, Soupy Sales, Don Knotts, and Jesco White, the “Dancing Outlaw.”
Chuck Kinder is the author of four novels—Snakehunter, The Silver Ghost, Honeymooners, and Last Mountain Dancer—and three collections of poetry—Imagination Motel, All That Yellow, and Hot Jewels.
Kinder was born and raised in West Virginia. He received a BA and MA in English from West Virginia University, where he wrote the first creative writing thesis in school history, which evolved into his first novel, Snakehunter. He later caught a Greyhound and headed west to join friends living in San Francisco.
In 1971 Kinder was awarded the Edith Mirrielees Writing Fellowship to Stanford University, followed by the Jones Lectureship in Fiction Writing. He has been a writer-in-residence at the University of California, Davis, and at the University of Alabama, and he is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and Yaddo’s Dorothy and Granville Hicks Fellowship.
At Stanford, Kinder became close friends with fellow students Raymond Carver, Scott Turow, and Larry McMurtry. His relationship with Carver inspired Honeymooners. His struggle to complete this book inspired the character Grady Tripp in Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys.
As a professor of creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh for more than three decades, Kinder served as the director of the creative writing program and helped foster the careers of Michael Chabon, Earl H. McDaniel, Chuck Rosenthal, Gretchen Moran Laskas, and Keely Bowers.
He now lives in Key Largo, Florida, with Diane Cecily, his wife of over forty years.