Susan Underwood

Susan Underwood

Bristol Native Publishes First Novel

August 18, 2022   |   6 pm @ Dos Gatos Coffee Bar

Susan O’Dell Underwood, originally from Bristol, Tennessee, has published her first novel, “Genesis Road,” from Madville Publishing. The novel tells the story of childhood friends Glenna and Carey—from the Newport, Tennessee, area. The two take a road trip across America, though plenty of complications and tragedies lead up to the journey. Aside from details of their cross-country trip, flashbacks weave together the story of the characters’ Appalachian childhoods.

“Genesis Road” is receiving attention throughout the Appalachian region. The novel received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, which is a rare honor, especially for a debut novel. Underwood has already given readings from the novel in a variety of venues, including Boone, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; and Knoxville, Tennessee. Underwood gives a public reading in Johnson City, Tennessee, Aug. 18 atDos Gatos Coffee Bar at6 p.m.She is available for readings at bookstores, libraries, schools, and other venues.

Underwood directs the creative writing program at Carson-Newman University, where she has also taught courses in poetry and Appalachian literature for more than 30 years. Besides two chapbooks of poetry, she has published one full-length collection, “The Book of Awe.” Her poems and stories appear in a wide variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Appalachian Journal, Alaska Quarterly Review, ETSU’s Now & Then, and Oxford American.

She has performed as a regularly scheduled reader on the radio show Tennessee Shines, broadcast from WDVX in Knoxville. She has also read excerpts of her writing at Farm and Fun Time on WBCM at The Birthplace of Country Music Museum. She and her husband, artist David Underwood, traveled extensively through the American West so that she could faithfully describe the landscape in “Genesis Road” — including national parks, small towns and urban areas. But Underwood’s most important goal was to capture the culture and lives of ordinary Appalachians.

“Genesis Road” is available for order directly from Madville Publishing:, and from other online outlets including Amazon. However, it’s also possible to order the novel online directly from independent bookstores across the country. Underwood’s website

Category: Literature