Emily Hilliard. Photo by Justin T. Gellerson

Emily Hilliard

Folklorist, Writer, Media Producer

Emily Hilliard is the West Virginia state folklorist and founder of the West Virginia Folklife Program based at the West Virginia Humanities Council.  She holds an M.A. in folklore from the University of North Carolina, and a B.A. in English and French from the University of Michigan.

For the past ten years she has worked with cultural heritage and traditional arts institutions including Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the North Carolina Folklore Society, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and Maryland Traditions. She is a 2018 recipient of the Gerald E. and Corrine L. Parsons Fund Award and 2016 recipient of the Henry Reed Fund Award, both from the American Folklife Center.

Hilliard is a co-editor of 55 Strong: Inside The West Virginia Teachers' Strike, forthcoming from BELT Publishing and wrote the introduction to the new edition of Patrick Gainer's Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills from WVU Press. Her writing and media work has been published elsewhere by NPR, Southern Cultures, Lucky PeachEcotone, The Bitter Southerner, The Southern Foodways Alliance's James Beard award-winning quarterly Gravy, and the James Beard award-nominated Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, among others. From 2005-2016, Hilliard wrote and published the pie blog Nothing in the House, a finalist in The Kitchn's 2014 Best Baking & Sweets Homie Awards.

Hilliard has been a faculty member of the University of Michigan's New England Literature Program, and currently teaches in Marshall University's Graduate Humanities Program.

Her research and writing interests include traditional foodways and vernacular music, women's domestic creativity, and the intersections between traditional, experimental, and radical culture. 

She is also a musician and a co-founder of the intersectional feminist record label SPINSTER.

Get in touch | emilyhilliard@gmail.com