Cathy Pleska

Cathy Pleska

Educational Background
MFA, Creative Nonfiction, Goucher College, 2004
MA, Humanities, Marshall University, 1998
BA English, Professional Writing, West Virginia State University, 1994

Interests and Specializations
Creative Nonfiction, Creative Writing, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Publishing, Editing.

Cat Pleska is an author, editor, storyteller, oral historian, amateur photographer, and publisher. Her memoir, Riding on Comets, was published by West Virginia University Press, 2015. Most recently, she contributed the chapter “Citizen Response: On Leaving and Staying” in I’m Afraid of That Water: a Collaborative Ethnography of a West Virginia Water Crisis, WVUP, 2020. Prior to the publication of this book, she was one of several oral historians gathering personal stories from those affected by the 2014 chemical leak into the Elk River. She edited the anthologies Fearless: Women’s Journeys to Self-Empowerment (2019) and Voices on Unity: Coming Together, Falling Apart (2017) for Mountain State Press. Her essays and memoir pieces have been published in Still: the Journal, Change Seven Magazine, Heartwood Magazine, Artworks, and Brevity Blog, among others. Her memoir pieces have been accepted to Woman of Appalachia Reading Series, 2018 and 2019. Forthcoming in 2021, a short story “A Killing Time” won second place and will be featured in Appalachian Fiction Anthology, published by Shepherd University.

She is the president and chief editor of Mountain State Press, Inc., a 42-year-old nonprofit, traditional literary press. In her capacity as chief editor, she has edited 15 books for publication.

Her courses include: Expository Writing for Research, Appalachian Cultures and Themes, Memoir, Appalachian Memoirs, all for the Graduate Humanities Program, Marshall. She taught full time in the Master of Liberal Studies Program at Arizona State University from 2016-2019, where she offered such courses as Social Issues, Memoir and Personal Essay, Applied Project (capstone), Food Writing, American Identity, among others. Currently she teaches Intermediate Creative Nonfiction, Writing for Nonprofits, Introduction to Creative Writing, as well as conducting an internship for Marshall’s English Department majors. Cat often teaches writing in the community, statewide, and regionally. A West Virginia native, 7th generation, she resides in Scott Depot with her husband, six cats, and one elderly dog.

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Marshall University
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