(Knott County, 1914-2009) “At a point in life when most people slow down, Verna Mae Slone found her voice”, wrote Tom Eblen of the Lexington Herald Leader. Verna Mae Slone was a great source of pride to the people of Appalachia and Eastern Kentucky particularly the community of Pippa Passes. Concerned over the many lies, half-truths and stereotypes that were written about mountain people of Kentucky, and eager to preserve a dignified historical account of the family to leave her children and grandchildren, Verna Mae, after raising five sons began to put her thoughts on paper. She never graduated from high school but went on to author six books, the most popular being her first, What My Heart Wants To Tell at age 65. Her accounts of life in the mountains shattered many of the myths about the culture in Appalachia and were so widely received she became known internationally. Verna Mae received fan mail from people all over the world but the one letter that meant the most to her was from a leper colony on an island off the coast of Africa. They said her book, second to the Bible, gave them a reason to live. “It told”, they wrote,” how you could survive under any circumstances”. Verna Mae authored five other books including the novel Rennie’s Way and a book about Appalachian Language called How We Talked. Thousands of people over the years who had read her books traveled from all over the world to sit at the feet of Verna Mae and listen to her expound on the virtues and values of the people from the hills and her pride in being Appalachian. In 1993 her portrait became the centerpiece of photographer Barbara Beirne’s exhibit Women of Appalachia at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Fifteen of the 1800 quilts she made decorate the walls of the historic Hindman Settlement School. She once compared quilts to life, stating,” when we are born we are given a bundle of scraps; the way we put them together is up to us.” Known as the Grandma Moses of the Mountains, she is widely known for her works of art, and her extraordinary writings that brought honor and pride to the people of the mountains of Kentucky. What My Heart Wants To Tell is in its eighth publication in libraries here and in Europe.