The Author of Award-Winning Novel “Southernmost” Speaks to Spring Mills High School Students


Riley Betterelli, Author

By: Riley Betterelli

Silas House, the author of the award-winning novel “Southernmost”, answered student’s questions at Spring Mills High School about the novel on September 17th, through Zoom in the auditorium.

Two SMHS students ask Silas House a question.


The meeting was for students who take or have taken AP language, AP literature, and Honors 11 that read “Southernmost” during the summer. Mrs. Salfia, an English teacher at Spring Mills High School, states “I think any time you can connect with a living writer that’s an important moment, and I think it gives the students an opportunity to talk to somebody–who you know not a teacher– but someone whose livelihood is crafting language and it provides a different lens for students. Especially when students are trying to figure out how to make their own writing beautiful and special.”

Silas House was born in 1971, in the state of Kentucky. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and got his Master of Fine Arts in a creative writing degree at Spalding University. Many of his books have won awards, including “Southernmost” which has won multiple awards. During the zoom call, Silas House discussed his enthusiasm over his 8th book that is in the works. This book plans on being published and released next year.

House published the novel “Southernmost” in 2018. “Southernmost” follows the story of a priest from the south that tries to understand how homosexuality falls in Christianity. The priest welcomes two gay men into his home once a flood leaves the two men homeless. The priest’s wife and church don’t agree with his decision. During the zoom meeting, Silas House stated that there is a “Southernmost” movie in the works.

Salfia said “There are a lot of different conversations you can have about that book. There are conversations you can have about moral dilemmas, ethical decisions, the LGBTQ community, and how they’re viewed in rural spaces versus more urban spaces. There are a lot of regional conversations you can have. The book centers around a community in Tennessee, but the action takes place in Key West, Florida.” Salfia said when the English teachers were debating on the summer reading it always came back to Southernmost.

Spring Mills High School students take a picture with Silas House over a Zoom Call.

Silas House said during the meeting the best way to be an author and get started is to read, take writing lessons, and go to readings. The best way you can learn is in the presence of a writer. At the end of the zoom call, Silas House said that the students had better questions than some adults. Thank you so much Silas House for visiting Spring Mills High School.