Author: Neema Avashia
Title: Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place
Publication Info: Morgantown : West Virginia University Press, 2022.
Neema Avashia is a Boston teacher who I know through her activism and her Twitter account. In this short collection of essay-length memoirs she reflects on growing up in West Virginia and her present day life in India. Her family emigrated to India as part of a small but significant group of Indian ex-pats who worked in West Virginia’s chemical industry. Avashia describes the warm memories of white West Virginians and how the Appalachian and Indian cultural traditions became commingled in her childhood. This is contrasted with how those same white West Virginians who helped her family on arrival support the MAGA ideology that discriminates against immigrants and LGBTQ people. Nevertheless, Avashia fully embraces her West Virginia identity and heritage and makes the case that even if people like her are only a small portion of West Virginia’s population that they are nevertheless fully West Virginian.