Emily’s writing and media work have been published by NPR, Southern Cultures, Lucky Peach, Ecotone Magazine, 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, she wrote and published the pie blog Nothing in the House, a finalist in The Kitchn's 2014 Best Baking & Sweets Homie Awards.
Emily is a co-editor of 55 Strong: Inside The West Virginia Teachers' Strike from BELT Publishing, and wrote the foreword to the new edition of Patrick Gainer's Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills from West Virginia University Press. Her chapter, “‘The Reason We Make These Deep Fat-Fried Treats,:’ In Conversation with the Rosettes of Helvetia, West Virginia,” is included in the new collection, The Food We Eat, The Stories We Tell: Contemporary Appalachian Tables, out November 2019 from Ohio University Press. She is currently at work on a book based on her folklife fieldwork in West Virginia, under contract with Ohio University Press.
Her published work and research interests focus on folklife and cultural heritage; food—specifically traditional and regional foodways, food history, immigrant food narratives, and women's work; traditional and experimental music; feminism and domestic space; and personal and place-based creative non-fiction.
Emily’s writing and editorial experience is supported by a B.A. in English and French (University of Michigan, 2005) and M.A. in folklore (University of North Carolina, 2011), as well as years teaching creative writing and literature with the University of Michigan New England Literature Program.
Emily received her folklore training at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (M.A. 2011) and is currently the state folklorist and founding director of the West Virginia Folklife Program, based at the West Virginia Humanities Council.
Read more about the West Virginia Folklife Program on blog blog and home page.
She has over ten years of experience working with cultural heritage institutions including Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Sandy Spring Museum/Maryland Traditions, the National Council for Traditional Arts, the North Carolina Folklore Society, and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Emily was a 2018 recipient of the Gerald E. and Corrine L. Parsons Fund Award and a 2016 recipient of the Henry Reed Fund Award Recipient, both from the American Folklife Center from the Library of Congress. She was a 2014-2015 Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives Fellow for her research on Magoffin County, Kentucky banjo player Nora E. Carpenter.
From 2005-2016, Hilliard published the pie blog Nothing in the House. In addition to original and adapted recipes and photography, the accompanying writing used pie as a lens to explore other topics including folklore and traditional culture, history, regionalism, music, and feminism.
Nothing in the House has been featured on Design*Sponge, Food + Wine, Food52, Gourmet, and the Washington Post Express, among others. It was a 2014 Kitchn Homie Award finalist for Best Baking Blog.
While proficient in both cooking and baking in a variety of styles, Hilliard specializes in creative development of original baked good recipes and adaptation an updates of traditional and vintage recipes.