Rilla Askew

by Shane Brown


Rilla Askew was born in the San Bois Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma, a place she’s noted for its harshness and beauty—both qualities that cling to her prose like campfire smoke on an old jacket.

She also cites Oklahoma’s rich language, a mixture of Southern vernacular and the King James Version of the Bible, as inspiration for her own narratives. Her novels, often set in Oklahoma, explore politics, history, and culture, and have won multiple awards. These days, she and her husband, Paul, divide their time between Oklahoma and the Catskill Mountains.

Read “Near McAlester,” from This Land, Vol. 5, Issue 15, wherein Askew muses on the complicated, violent, and precious history of the place closest to her heart. 

Originally published in This Land, Vol. 5, Issue 16, August 15, 2014.