Female Firsts: Celebrating Female Pioneers

Written by Rachel Crick, UPK Marketing Intern

March is Women’s History Month. It’s a time for celebrating the achievements and stories of women of our past—women whose achievements have been underappreciated for years. There’s no better way to observe Women’s History Month than to honor female pioneers throughout our history; women who have broken barriers to make important and lasting contributions to our world. Without further ado, here are five books from University Press of Kentucky featuring female “firsts” who inspire us, and whose legacies live on through the marks they made on the world.

1. A Simple Justice by Melanie Beals Goan

The nineteenth amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote, was passed in 1920. When you think of the suffragettes, the women who campaigned for women’s right to vote, the names Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton likely come to mind. A Simple Justice looks at the fight for women’s suffrage in the unique political and social landscape of Kentucky. As a border state, there were conflicting stakeholders surrounding racial equality, religion, and Southern identity that complicated the fight for the vote.

This book discusses prominent women who campaigned for women’s suffrage in Kentucky who worked together for decades trying to secure the vote for women. Featured heavily throughout are founding members of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association, also known as KERA, which campaigned for both the vote and for smaller legislative victories. While this progressive organization did a lot for women’s suffrage and gender equality in Kentucky, there were many women outside of the organization whose contributions were just as important. The hard work and personal sacrifices of these Kentucky women were key for earning Kentucky women equality—and the vote—and have certainly earned them the title of pioneers. Below are two of the many women featured in this fascinating book, along with some of their most important accomplishments. 

Josephine Henry, a founding member of KERA, was instrumental in the passage of the Married Woman’s Property Act of 1894. This Kentucky law gave married women the right to own property in their own name, rather than their husband’s, and was considered a key steppingstone in the fight for women’s equality.

Mary Ellen Britton was an activist and an educator who gave the first recorded suffrage speech in Kentucky at a teacher’s conference in Danville in 1887, a year before KERA was even formed. She was a teacher, a journalist, and she was also the first black female physician in Kentucky. Her remarks were published and her message was inclusive and intersectional. Her accomplishments are especially extraordinary considering the racial inequality of the time. You can read a transcript of her 1887 speech here.

2. A Doctor for Rural America by Barbara Barksdale Clowse

This biography explores the life and work of Frances Sage Bradley, another noteworthy woman whose important work in rural Appalachian communities made her a pioneer of public health reform. She was one of the first women to graduate from Cornell University Medical School, despite being a widow with four young children. She worked to improve infant and maternal mortality rates in rural communities. Her work was important in demonstrating the necessity of the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921, also known as the Maternity and Infancy Protection Act. This piece of legislation was the first federally funded social welfare program. Bradley was an impressive woman whose ideas were well ahead of her time. Her progressive ideals, writing, and field work significantly improved the standards for medicine in rural communities, and her ideas about the government’s responsibility to provide healthcare to its citizens are just as relevant today. 

3. Katherine Jackson French by Elizabeth DiSavino

Katherine Jackson French: The Forgotten Ballad Collector tells the story of a musical scholar and pioneer. French was only the second woman to earn a PhD from Colombia University. Her impressive collection of traditional Kentucky ballads, a feat which should have earned her recognition, was never published due to academic rivalries and gender prejudice. Her important (though underappreciated) research painted a complex portrait of Appalachia, one which was overshadowed by the same stereotypes we see today. Her work, had it been published, could have established Appalachia as a site for rich cultural and musical contributions. You can learn more about French’s ballad collection here.

4. Breaking Protocol by Philip Nash

Glass ceilings in American politics are still being shattered to this day. Just this year, the first female vice president was sworn in. Breaking Protocol: America’s First Female Ambassadors, 1933-1964, explores how the glass ceiling of American diplomacy was shattered with the appointments of the first six female diplomats. Women had previously been excluded from these appointments for a variety of sexist reasons. Once appointed, each of these women faced a high level of scrutiny in addition to the regular pressures that come with being an American diplomat. Ruth Bryan Owen, Florence “Daisy” Harriman, Perle Mesta, Eugenie Anderson, Clare Boothe Luce, and Frances Willis were the first six women to break the protocol of the US State Department by being appointed as ambassadors, but they went on to be extremely influential in US foreign relations. This book explores the lives, accomplishments, and challenges of these inspirational women.

5. Our Rightful Place by Terry Birdwhistell and Deirdre A. Scaggs

The fight for gender equality can be seen in every major institution of society, and higher education is no exception. At the University of Kentucky, the fight was led by several influential women, whose lives and contributions are discussed in Our Rightful Place: A History of Women at the University of Kentucky, 1880-1945. One of these women, Sarah Blanding, graduated from UK in 1923 at the age of 24, and was then appointed the university’s acting dean of women, becoming the youngest dean in the country. She later became a political science professor at the university before moving onto Cornell and becoming the first female dean there. She later became president of Vassar College. The book also highlights Sarah Bennett Holmes and Frances Jewell McVey, both of whom served as Dean of Women at UK and made numerous other contributions to the university throughout their lives.

Sarah Blanding

We hope you enjoyed learning about these inspirational women, and that you’ll pick up copies of the books which honor them at your favorite bookstore or at kentuckypress.com!

A Gift for Every Giver!

Written by Darian Bianco, University Press of Kentucky Marketing Intern

No matter what reason you’re using – whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a general love for your friends and family – in the month of December, gift-giving season kicks into high-gear! Personally, I love browsing around for just the right gift, the one that is perfect for each and every person on my list. As a bookworm, I prefer doling out novels that I think my loved ones would enjoy. Sometimes, it’s easy. Mom and Nana read romances, Dad only reads nonfiction (usually about war or crime) and Papa likes westerns.

But what if you don’t have the time to go hunting down that one exemplary book? I dare you to Google “Westerns” – you’ll be browsing for days, trying to determine exactly which western is the one you’re looking for. Never fear! Your University Press of Kentucky gift guide is here! Sit back with some hot cocoa, grab a blanket, and peruse these titles offered in our Holiday Sale. Every title included here ranges from 50-75% off, plus free shipping via USPS Media Mail! You’re sure to find the perfect book to snuggle with among this list of treasures, and these are great options for someone on a book-buying budget who doesn’t want to break the bank!

  1. What to Get your Basketball-Obsessed Dad?

Basketball and Philosophy: Thinking Outside the Paint, edited by Jerry L. Walls and Gregory Bassham, foreword by Dick Vitale

We take our sports seriously in these parts, and it could be argued that some of Kentucky’s most serious fans are basketball fans. Picture this: your father, sitting in his recliner, remote clutched in hand, hollering at the TV because that was clearly a foul, is the ref blind? Quite the clear picture, isn’t it? Maybe, you could quiet him down and make him happy with this book. Basketball and Philosophy sounds heavy, but at the end of the day, this book is not just about the sport, but about the values and ethics that you learn not only by playing on a basketball team, but also loving and committing to the sport. In Basketball and Philosophy, a Dream Team of twenty-six basketball fans, most of whom also happen to be philosophers, prove that basketball is the thinking person’s sport. They look at what happens when the Tao meets the hardwood as they explore the teamwork, patience, selflessness, and balanced and harmonious action that make up the art of playing basketball.

Praise: “The simple American game played with ball and net has prompted some deep thinking among its players, coaches, and fans… and this remarkably profound and wide-ranging collection of essays exposes readers to some of the best of that thinking.” — Booklist

2. What to Get your Music-Loving Mom?

A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music, by Jason Howard, foreword by Rodney Crowell

There aren’t too many states that are known for a particular brand of music, but as the Bluegrass state, we can proudly stake our claim to Bluegrass music. We’re also well-known for music that comes out of the Appalachian region, some of the most soulful and heartfelt music in the country. If your Mom is anything like my Mom, she loves music, to the point where she will try and sing along to something even if she doesn’t know the words. If you catch your Mom cleaning or cooking, I’d bet that she has some tunes on in the background, not only to keep her energized, but to give her something to dance around to. In that case, A Few Honest Words is the perfect book for her to read when she finally kicks back with her feet up to relax. A Few Honest Words explores how Kentucky’s landscape, culture, and traditions have influenced notable contemporary musicians. Featuring intimate interviews with household names (Naomi Judd, Joan Osborne, and Dwight Yoakam), emerging artists, and local musicians, author Jason Howard’s rich and detailed profiles reveal the importance of the state and the Appalachian region to the creation and performance of music in America.

Praise: “A thoughtful and important book. It’s tremendously satisfying that specific areas of the South are receiving their due attention. Kentucky has given so much to the landscape of American music.” — Rosanne Cash

3. What to Get your Foodie Best Friend?

Eating as I Go: Scenes from America and Abroad, by Doris Friedensohn

What’s the #1 thing that friends like to do when they go out together? You’ve got it – eat! How better to enjoy someone’s company than with a tasty meal and pleasant conversation? However, you’ve got to keep the menu fresh, right? Sure, you and your bestie can have some tried and true restaurants you always come back to, but maybe you need ideas of new places to go, new foods to try, fresh memories to make! In that case, Eating as I Go will not only give you and your best friend ideas about strange and enticing meals the world over, it will warm hearts and make you laugh. If you get your bestie Eating as I Go, maybe you can finally spring for that trip abroad to the Mediterranean or the Middle East – once it’s safe to travel, of course! Doris Friedensohn’s wry dramas of the dining room, restaurant, market, and kitchen ripple with tensions – political, religious, psychological, and spiritual. Eating as I Go is one woman’s distinctive mélange of memoir, traveler’s tale, and cultural commentary.

Praise: “In quiet tones, Friedensohn describes meals eaten and friendships formed over the years, both in the United States and abroad… An enjoyable volume.” — Publisher Weekly

4. What to Get your Gardening Grandmother?

Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky, by Thomas G. Barnes, Deborah White and Marc Evans

With age comes wisdom, and I feel that often, the greatest wisdom in anyone’s life comes from their grandparents, often the grandmother specifically. They know all the recipes, they’ve experienced every life lesson, and they know how to spread kindness and joy wherever they go. I also feel that most grandmothers at some point gain a green thumb, whether they simply keep potted plants in the window, or have a full-blown garden growing in the backyard. If you’re wanting to introduce your grandmother to flowers that she perhaps hasn’t seen before, Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky is the perfect choice! Even if your grandmother isn’t the type to go out and search for flowers, the beautiful pictures will enrich her spirit and reinvigorate her own care for the plants she has in her home. Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky is both a celebration and a call to action to save the plants that are a vital part of Kentucky’s natural heritage.

Praise: “Beyond reading about the state’s flora, Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky offers its reader a unique opportunity to view many of these disappearing wildflowers seen infrequently by the average person.” — UK News

5. What to Get your Military-Loving Grandfather?

Generals of the Army: Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Arnold, Bradley, edited by James H. Willbanks, foreword by Gordon R. Sullivan

I feel like speaking with grandfathers about the past can go one of two ways. If you’re speaking about the recent past – maybe asking what your grandfather had for dinner last night – there’s a good chance he won’t remember, because it isn’t important. If you decide to ask, however, about what happened on a certain day in history during World War II, watch his eye’s light up as he recounts what he learned, what he read about and studied in school. Grandfathers’ remember what matters, and the military history of our country seems to stick our more than anything else. If your grandfather enjoys learning about our country’s past success and honor, Generals of the Army, covering the five men who have been given the five-star general ranking, will be the perfect book for him to learn from and teach you about later. Coinciding with the U.S. Mint’s release of a series of special commemorative coins honoring these soldiers and the fort where they were based, this concise volume offers an intriguing look at the lives of these remarkable men and the contributions they made to the defense of the nation.

Praise: “Though Leavenworth graduates have served with distinction in every conflict since its founding, this book is a tribute to Generals of the Army George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry H. ‘Hap’ Arnold, and Omar N. Bradley; to the venerable military posts that molded and shaped them; and to every officer who ever has or ever will serve at Fort Leavenworth.” – General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.)

6. What to Get your Crime-Show Obsessed Cousin?

Murder and Madness: The Myth of the Kentucky Tragedy, by Matthew G. Schoenbachler

Documentaries about crime and murder are all the rage these days – just look at the Ted Bundy tapes on Netflix, or the show Snapped that is constantly running late night on cable. I think everyone has at least one family member who loves to watch murder documentaries. Haven’t you ever had a cousin describe a gruesome homicide they learned about while passing along the mashed potatoes? Warm, fuzzy memories indeed. However, due to quarantine, your cousin may be running out of fresh, gory material to consume. Never fear! Murder and Madness is the perfect book to give your cousin chills when they hear something go bump in the night. Not only will they learn about a case they’ve probably never heard of before, they’ll learn about a case native to Kentucky – and how cool is that? The murder, trial, conviction, and execution of the killer, as well as the suicide of his wife, Anna Cooke Beauchamp – fascinated Americans… In Murder and Madness, Matthew G. Schoenbachler peels away two centuries of myth to provide a more accurate account of the murder.

Praise: “Schoenbachler presents the story in an entirely new light, revealing how the murderer and his wife played on the public’s emotions and beliefs by consciously manipulating their story to conform to images of the righteous hero and the compromised virtuous woman who were at the time the subjects of popular Romantic fiction.” – Book News

7. What to Get your Exploratory Brother?

Mammoth Cave National Park: Reflections, by Raymond Klass

Just like there’s always one true crime obsessed member of a family, there’s also always one daredevil in the family. For now, let’s say that’s your brother, who’s a mostly well-adjusted human being until he casually mentions wanting to bungee-jump off of something, or climb something really tall with few to no ropes. Sure, you shake your head at him, but you do admire his adventurous spirit, and he always talks about the views and sights he gets to see. It’s a little hard to go exploring in certain places right now, but until some locations go public again, you can get your brother Mammoth Cave National Park to get him excited for when he can set out into the world again. The pictures in this book are sure to give him something to look forward to! While living at the park, he (Raymond Klass) took thousands of photographs of famous cave formations, such as Frozen Niagara and the Drapery Room, as well as scenery and wildlife not often seen by the general public.

Praise: “This coffee-table book filled with pictures of Kentucky’s most famous attraction is beautiful and is as much a personal reflection on time spent in the forest as it is a reflection of what Klass captured in his camera.” – Bowling Green Daily News

8. What to Get your Beer-Cheese Connoisseur Uncle?

The Beer Cheese Book, by Garin Pirnia

Have you ever heard of beer cheese? Well, if you haven’t, know that it is exactly what it sounds like – a combination of beer, cheese, and some spices thrown in for a kick. Maybe you heard about it from your uncle, who makes it once a year and brings it to the family reunion. He’ll eat most of it himself, talking about how hard it is to find good beer cheese in restaurants these days, how he feels like the art of making and enjoying beer cheese is slowly dying off. Never fear, Uncle Beer Cheese! If you get him The Beer Cheese Book, he will be excited to find out that not only is beer cheese alive and well, he can find restaurants in the state that serve his favorite dip and drizzle. Packed full of interviews with restauranteurs who serve it, artisans who process it, and even home cooks who enter their special (and secret) recipes in contests, The Beer Cheese Book will entertain and educate, all while making your mouth water. Fortunately, it will also teach you how to whip up your own batch.

Praise: “The author harnesses her cult fondness for the fromage – even the tepid imitators – taking readers on a journey along the Beer Cheese Trail (with some detours) and serving up 20 specialty recipes.” – Cincinnati Magazine

9. What to Get your Very Emotional Aunt?

Chinaberry, by James Still, edited by Silas House

Without fail, at every family get together, there will be the aunt who will find a reason to reminisce and cry. Maybe she won’t even be reminiscing about something sad – she might suddenly get very nostalgic for when you were little, and without warning, she’s crying into the appetizer. It’s sweet, endearing, but maybe you could find something for her to cry about, enjoy, and perhaps discuss something at the table that has nothing to do with the time you were in diapers. In that case, Chinaberry could very well be the perfect book to pass along. This book is a story of home, the importance of home regardless of whether it is a place or people, something that any family can relate to. A combination of memoir and imagination, truth and fiction, Chinaberry is a work of art that leaves the read in awe of Still’s mastery of language and grateful for the lifetime of wisdom that manifests itself in his work.

Praise: “Superbly edited by Silas House, Chinaberry is further confirmation that James Still is not only a great Appalachian writer but a great American writer.” – Ron Rash, author of One Foot in Eden

10. What to get your Scandal-Enthralled Sister?

Madam Belle: Sex, Money, and Influence in a Southern Brothel, by Maryjean Wall

Just as there is always a family crier, a family nut, and a family troublemaker, there will also be a family gossip. You’re certainly familiar with your sister snagging the chair next to you, only to lean over and whisper about the drama happening wherever she’s come from, normally about people you don’t even know. It can be fun, to whisper about low stakes gossip you have no hand in, but do you ever wish you and your sister could gossip about the same thing? In that case, how about you read Madam Belle, and get a copy for your sister too? Instead of gossiping about strangers when your sister calls, you can instead gossip about what Belle Brezing gets up to, becoming one of the most powerful and influential madams in the South. Following Brezing from her birth amid the ruins of the Civil War to the height of her scarlet fame and beyond, Wall uses her story to explore a wider world of sex, business, politics, and power. The result is a scintillating tale that is as enthralling as any fiction.

Praise: “Wall has achieved the almost impossible. This engaging biography comes as close to revealing the life of Belle as is possible.” – Decatur Tribune

Even if these exact family members don’t fit with every book or genre, hopefully each of these books can call someone to mind. A book is an extremely personal present to get – you’re not only thinking of what the other person likes, but you’re gifting them an experience, a journey that the two of you can go on together. Isn’t that the point of the holidays, to share time and love with your favorite people? I hope that this gift guide made your shopping a little easier to accomplish, and hey, maybe you’ll want to snag one of these books for yourself too!

Happy Holidays from the University Press of Kentucky!

Bourbon or Dessert? Why Not Both?

Written by Darian Bianco, UPK Marketing Intern

The November chill is just beginning to set in, and suddenly, we all have another reason to stay cooped up indoors. We’ve already read every book on our shelves — twice — played every board game, binge-watched every Netflix show we were interested in. What to do with ourselves now, when suddenly, we are without the possibility of finding a park to stroll through, or at least a picnic bench to sit at?

Never fret — tis the season for recipes! One thing you can always expect from the month of November is good food, and that’s something I’ll be sharing with you all today. I must, however, offer two prefaces. The first is that I am not a professional chef or baker by any means. I make a mean spaghetti, but otherwise, my cooking and baking is trial and error, occasionally saying “oh well” and hoping nothing blows up. More often than not, my fiancé has to jump in, just to make sure I don’t paint our kitchen white with flour. The second preface is that I have a sweet tooth. Doesn’t matter how much I ate for dinner; I can always make room for dessert. Hence, why I’ve decided the first recipe I would test and share is a cake!

I broke open Bourbon Desserts by Lynn Marie Hulsman and tried to keep from salivating as I read the many, many dessert options I had to pick from. Bourbon Pecan-Pie Muffins, Bourn and Buttermilk Pie in a Cream Cheese Crust, Bourbon Blackout Sorbet, Sweet and Boozy Graham Cracker Candies, Warm Chocolate and Bourbon Silk — is your mouth watering yet? Sorry, misery loves company. Regardless, I flagged my fiancé, Evan, down and asked him which recipe he would like to try, since he would inevitably wind up helping me at some point or another. Eventually, he landed on the Light Chocolate Layer Cake with Bourbon and Cream Cheese Frosting.

The ingredients for this decadent dessert are as follows:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (Hulsman prefers Scharffen Berger’s)
  • 2 cups of water, boiling
  • 2 and 3/4 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pans
  • 2 and 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Surprisingly, we already had many of these ingredients crammed into our pantry — all I needed to go out and buy were the cocoa powder, baking soda, and butter. We also realized that this recipe called for an electric mixer, of which we do not own. We decided we would mix it by hand, electricity be damned. It would be more rewarding that way, right?

It all started with preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. That was the easy part. I greased our cake pan with butter afterwards. Granted, the recipe says to also line the pan with flour, and to use three cake pans as opposed to one, but I was making do with the resources I had available.

Once the two cups of water I had set on the stove reached a boil, Evan began to very carefully add the cocoa mix to the water. He was more trustworthy with this task — he has a steadier hand, cooking experience, and I have a reputation of breaking objects and/or myself. While there was a brief spatter incident, we eventually mixed the cocoa and water into a smooth mixture that tasted delicious.

While he had been mixing the cocoa and water, I was sifting together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Basically, I had the easy job, and I was able to set the bowl of powders aside to move on to the next task, which was creaming the butter and sugar together.

Now, this is the step we were meant to have an electric mixer for. Upon realizing we only had one very small bowl left and a single rubber spatula, it occurred to me that this was going to be a laborious process. In swooped Evan yet again — he plopped down in the recliner and patiently, methodically, creamed the butter and sugar together by hand. In most situations, I’m the one with more patience, but he was a godsend that evening. We took turns cracking the eggs into the mixture, and finally, it was time to combine all of it together to create the batter.

The work from there went quickly, as we combined our three separate bowls into one. I was honestly a little surprised when it resulted in a batter-like consistency. Had I actually managed (with a lot of help) to make a cake? One way to find out. We spooned the batter into the baking pan and spread it smoothly, before popping it into the oven for twenty-five minutes. It was a thick mixture, and I had my doubts as to whether it would actually be finished in twenty-five minutes; but once again, my doubts were spun on their head. Twenty-five minutes later, after poking the cake with a fork, it was finished. Slices were doled out to myself and a friend who was over to visit, while my fiancé and roommate stole bites.

It was delicious. Light, fluffy, chocolate-y, you name it. I give Evan 75% of the credit, but I was still proud of myself. I had made something edible. Will wonders never cease?

Now, you may be thinking: Wait. Where’s the bourbon and cream cheese frosting? My answer is two-fold. First, Evan is not a big fan of icing, and given that he did most of the work, I wasn’t going to cover the fruits of his labors in something he hates. Also — I completely missed that the icing recipe was on the next page. Oops! But hey, it works out as a lovely teaser. If you want to attempt this recipe for yourself, and if you want to do it properly, you’ll just have to invest in Bourbon Desserts by Lynn Marie Hulsman. It is packed to the brim with delicious recipes, and if I can manage to follow her directions and make something that tastes good, you certainly can too.

I hope you attempt a scrumptious bourbon dessert in preparation for Thanksgiving! UPK wishes you the best in all of your baking endeavors.

Scariest Ghosts in Kentucky

Written by Rachel Crick, UPK Marketing Intern

Happy Spooky Season! We at the University Press of Kentucky would like to help you get in the spooky spirit by spotlighting some of the scariest ghosts from two of our books, Tales of Kentucky Ghosts by William Lynwood Montell, and Ghosts of the Bluegrass by James McCormick and Macy Wyatt. These are extraordinary tales from ordinary people that recount frightening instances of all kinds. Seen or unseen, malicious or mischievous, these ghosts appear everywhere from private family homes to public roads and institutions. Whether you’re a believer or not, the ghosts that made this list are ones you would never want to meet.

5. The Pisgah Road Walking Companion
From Ghosts of the Bluegrass by James McCormick and Macy Wyatt

This story comes from a man in his eighties, who remembers a terrifying experience his brother had long ago as a child. He was walking home from school by himself on Pisgah Road. The night was very dark. He had almost made it to a clearing in the trees when he realized he was not alone.

“Suddenly there was a woman walking right along beside him dressed in a black, black dress, and a black hat with a veil over her face, and everything. She was just there! She didn’t say anything. She kept step with him. He kept stepping faster and faster, and she would keep stepping faster and faster.”

When the man’s brother broke into a run, she disappeared, but according to the storyteller, this mysterious woman shrouded in black was making frightening appearances in Georgetown, too. The woman in black is known for simply keeping pace and walking beside you, but it’s her silence and all-black garb that earn her a spot on the list of scariest ghosts.   

4. The Crawling Man
From Tales of Kentucky Ghosts by William Lynwood Montell

With this ghost, the name itself is enough to send a chill down your spine. The unique way this ghost terrified and tormented a Kentucky homeowner is what earns the Crawling Man his spot on the list of scariest ghosts. 

“As she went to bed she began to hear the most horrible groans and moans coming from the fireplace. Being scared to death afraid to move, the hair on her head would stand up, for out of the fireplace the dark figure of a man would come crawling to the foot of her bed. Then, it would return to the fireplace taking on something awful.”

According to the story, the Crawling Man eventually left the poor homeowner alone, but the idea of a ghostly visitor crawling toward your bed on a nightly basis is creepy beyond measure. That’s one ghost to hope and pray you never meet.

3. The Boy at 5427
From Tales of Kentucky Ghosts by William Lynwood Montell

This haunting tale takes place in the 1990s, in a nice family home that didn’t seem like your ordinary haunted house. Stories like these go to show that the most unsettling of ghostly encounters don’t always occur in dark, unfinished basements. The storyteller recalls one night he was asleep in his basement bedroom. He woke to find his door slowly creaking open, and the figure of a child coming toward him in the dark. The figure got closer and closer. He thought it was his brother, but when he reached out to grab his brother’s leg, there was nothing there. The storyteller slept upstairs for a few months and didn’t see the little ghost boy again until a friend witnessed the haunting as well.

“We had both fallen asleep. Josh had turned off the television…I woke up for no reason, then saw the little boy moving towards us. He wasn’t walking, just gliding closer and closer.”

His encounters with the gliding little boy don’t end there. Later that summer, he was watching a movie with a date when she saw something coming from the steps.

“I asked her what she was talking about, as I looked toward the stairs and saw a green bouncing ball coming toward us. It was bouncing and glowing. But as it bounced, it didn’t hit the ground…I got up, turned on the lights, and once more it was no longer there. The girl flew up the stairs quicker than I could ever imagine. She called me the next day and said she would never come in that house again, and she didn’t.” 

We can’t blame her for her hasty departure.

2. The Ghosts in Room 424
From Tales of Kentucky Ghosts by William Lynwood Montell

In an Eastern Kentucky hospital, there is a private room where strange things occur—Room 424. Patients would come out “shaken and disoriented in the morning, complaining of children dressed in white walking around the room’s bed, faces peering in the outside windows, lights flickering off and on, and bizarre whispers.” But the strangest occurrence of all happened one night after there had been a death. Normally, an attendant would’ve stayed with the body until the undertaker came, but on this night, the hospital was especially short-staffed, and the undertakers were delayed. The nurses respectfully covered the body with a sheet, drew the curtain around it, and closed the door to the room. However, once the undertaker arrived, they were unable to open the door. The charge nurse had to force the door open, and she said it felt like someone was on the other side of it, pushing. When she and the undertakers entered, they were greeted by a scene that shocked them:

“Something or someone had turned on the bathroom light, with the fluorescent tube flickering as if it had a bad electrical connection; the covers had been pulled off the body; the body itself was not lying on its back as she had left it, but on its face.”

Whether it was malicious or just a bit of mischief to them, the spirits that occupy Room 424 and their antics were witnessed by a group of people that night. The disturbing manner of their tricks that night is chilling enough to keep us as far away from Room 424.

1. The Ancestor…Or Not
From Ghosts of the Bluegrass by James McCormick and Macy Wyatt

This ghost comes from a storyteller who moved into and began renovating a home that had been built by her great-great-grandfather. The first few times she spent the night, she noticed odd occurrences, such as lights turning on and off by themselves, doors vibrating, footsteps, and construction materials being moved unexplainably. Her most frightening account is one experienced by both her and her dog several months later. She was woken from her sleep on the couch by the sound of her dog squealing “a wild, horrid sound that jolted me out of a peaceful sleep.” Both she and her dog seemed to be frozen at the sight of someone—or something—standing over them.

“I lay there, motionless, with my eyes fixed on the tall, dark figure. I could see a person’s outline wearing a cloak-type garment that was dark and reached the floor, but I couldn’t make out any features in its face. The figure began to move alongside the couch. It didn’t turn and walk like a person, but moved without effort. The figure seemed almost frozen itself, moving away from me without any human mechanics of leg and arm motion. When it reached the foot of the couch, I could see the brightness of the kitchen windows behind it. It appeared to be a shadow, darker than the night. It moved with a slow and easy speed that never changed. It passed by the window and I couldn’t see it anymore. I had the feeling that It had passed through the door…but the door never opened or closed. The figure just drifted out.”

The storyteller doesn’t know who or what that entity was; could it have been her ancestor or perhaps something else? She had countless other encounters in that house: babies crying that weren’t there, and the “Night Walker,” but the entity watching her sleep is by far the most chilling. We’ll be sleeping with the lights on after reading that, thank you very much.

We hope you enjoyed this countdown of some of the scariest ghosts in Kentucky. There are plenty more bone-chilling phantoms in Tales of Kentucky Ghosts and Ghosts of the Bluegrass, so be sure to check those out at kentuckypress.com!

Still Time to Get Spooky!

Written by Darian Bianco, UPK Marketing Intern

In a world as chaotic as ours, now more than ever, people are looking for things that make them smile or laugh—a sense of escapism, if you will. Some people, however, want more than just something funny or sweet. They want a thrill. Me personally, I’m satisfied with a scary book or a horror flick with the lights turned off, but I know there are people out there who want the experience, who want to see the real thing, something that’ll send chills up their spines. I decided to do something to help all of you local adrenaline junkies out. I dove into our publication, Ghosts of Old Louisville: True Stories of Hauntings in America’s Largest Victorian Neighborhood by David Dominé.

As I leaned over the map of Old Louisville, examining the nineteen different locations detailed in the book, it occurred to me that I was born and have spent most of my life about half an hour outside of Louisville, and yet I’ve never explored the “old” part of it. Really, I’ve never explored any part of it, and that feels like a shame. Granted, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to real, scary things. The one time I went to a haunted forest, I blacked out. I can tell you little to nothing of what the forest was like – I remember yelling, screaming, strobe lights, a corn maze, and the guy who chased me with a chainsaw at the exit. However, I understand the thrill of the unknown, of having a chance to reach out to something that is Other with a capital O. With that in mind, I’ll plot out a few Old Louisville Location, places I’d like to be brave enough to visit one day, and places that you tougher folks would enjoy.

“At the center of the boulevard that runs the length of Saint James Court, and well within the view of the Conrad-Caldwell House, a large fountain splashes day and night. Locals consider this the center of Saint James Court, and as such, the heart of Old Louisville. It is reputedly the most romantic spot in the city, and on warm summer nights when couples, hand in hand, stroll by its cascading, shimmering waters bathed in the soft glow of the gas light, you can see why. The romantic, nostalgic feel of this fountain is eternal, and it sparks the same tender feelings in many throughout the entire year.”—Page 111

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I would, however, recommend taking this stroll to the Fountain Court in the daylight hours. One of Old Louisville’s most renowned ghosts, the Widow Hoag, is waiting for the return of her Air Force son who died fighting in the Pacific during World War II. The body was never found, and until the day she died, Mrs. Hoag was certain that someday, her son would return to her. Many believe that the spirit of Mrs. Hoag is still at Fountain Court, not even aware that she has passed away – her ghost exists in denial, still sure that her son is going to come home, and that life will go on just as it was before. There is hope that Widow Hoag will find peace someday, if her spirit can ever reunite with the spirit of her son.

“Until then, her saddened spirit will have to lurk in the shadows of quiet Fountain Court, sharing the cool, grassy spaces with the living while life goes on.”—Page 114

“Located on the northern fringes of the University of Louisville campus, the J.B. Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum, with over 12,000 pieces in its holdings. The extensive collection spans 6,000 years and ranges from ancient Egyptian to contemporary art, and the galleries include seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, eighteenth-century French art, Renaissance and Baroque tapestries, and significant pieces of contemporary American painting and sculpture as well. The Speed also houses portraits, sculptures, furniture and decorative arts by Kentucky artists and other noted works created specifically for Kentuckians… In addition to numerous collections of art, the Speed Art Museum also houses at least one ghost.”—Page 125

Well, that’s not something you can find just anywhere, huh? While there are several theories about the who or what is haunting the Speed Art Museum, one theory abounds over all the rest – Harriet “Hattie” Bishop Speed, the wife of the museum’s namesake, is our specter. By the time Hattie passed in 1942, she had become a legacy in the Old Louisville art circles, a pillar of the community, and an upstanding citizen. However, no one is perfect, and it is commonly believed that Hattie suffered from one ugly flaw: jealousy. While Hattie was happily married to James Breckinridge Speed for six years, she was his second wife. His first wife, Cora A. Coffin, had borne James Speed two children, and after she died, she left a void in his life that his new wife often felt inadequate to fill. It seems odd, to have a rivalry with a dead woman, but perhaps Hattie Speed founded the museum as a memorial to her husband, as a final one-up on Cora Coffin, proving that she had loved him more.

If you’re a little unnerved by hanging out with a jealous spirit, never fret; the Speed Art Museum is offering SPEED ONLINE, a way to celebrate art from the safety and comfort of your own home. However, if you’re wanting to perhaps walk the museum proper, see if you can feel a cold chill or smell rosewater perfume, the museum is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

“Does Miss Hattie still continue her nightly visits to check on the progress of the museum she founded over seventy-five years ago?”—Pages 128-129

I guess it’s up to you to find out.

“Anyone at all familiar with Louisville has heard about the infamous tuberculosis sanatorium at Waverly Hills in the city’s south end – and the countless stories of hauntings and strange events surrounding it. A titanic four-story, art-deco masterpiece with more than four hundred rooms at one time, it sits alone and abandoned, looming over Dixie Highway while the ravages of time take their toll. For more than twenty years it has stood empty and waiting while inclement weather destroys the roof and exposes its delicate interior to the elements, while thoughtless vandals and hoodlums add to the damage, and a derelict landlord and a community largely indifferent to its plight sat back and watched it slip further from the grasp of restoration, all seemingly oblivious to the important piece of Louisville history decaying in front of them.”—Page 178

Whether you’re native to Louisville or just the state of Kentucky in general, Waverly Hills is a familiar if unsettling name. It is a location known for its hauntings and has been the subject of several paranormal TV shows that explore abandoned locations. Normally, at this time of year, Waverly Hills is hosting an annual Haunted House Fundraiser in order to keep the historic location up and running. Due to the pandemic, that isn’t an option this year – but if you still want to have an authentic experience, Waverly Hills is offering Haunted Halloween Guided Tours! Tickets can be bought online, offered through Halloween, and they are also offering a paranormal investigation on Halloween night! Perhaps you’ve noticed that I haven’t offered up too many stories about Waverly Hills, as opposed to Fountain Court and the Speed Museum. Maybe, that’s because I want you to go and experience a story for yourself.

If the beautifully written and chilling excerpts shared here have sparked your interest, you can go to our website at kentuckypress.com and pick up Ghosts of Old Louisville: True Stories of Hauntings in America’s Largest Victorian Neighborhood by David Dominé. There are plenty of historic, gorgeous, and haunting locations in the text to be explored, places you can read about and then see for yourself. As said in one of my favorite movies: “Life’s no fun without a good scare.”

Happy Halloween from the University Press of Kentucky!

Preparing for the Kentucky Derby: Kentucky Press Style

Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of the United States, the Kentucky Derby has been pushed back until September 5th. This gives everyone plenty of time to prepare for the day and make it the best Derby celebration so far! Whether you’re a native Kentuckian looking to spice up your Derby day party or someone new to the festivities, these books will help you prepare.

WHICH FORK DO I USE WITH MY BOURBON? by Peggy Noe Stevens & Susan Reigler

UPK has many books that can help spice up your Derby day celebrations. WHICH FORK DO I USE WITH MY BOURBON? has an entire section dedicated to the Kentucky Derby and can help make the food, drink, and decorations go above and beyond. This is the perfect party-planning book. As well as offering step by step recipes for food and drinks, Stevens and Reigler give expert tips and tricks on everything you could need. They bring bourbon country to your table with this cookbook inspired by the different hosting traditions of five different distilleries.

“If there were two people I would turn to for help with bourbon and food, they would be Peggy and Susan. Individually, their knowledge and experience are impressive, but together, their collective depth and wisdom are staggering. Put your faith in this duo and let them help you entertain, amaze, and blow minds in a style worthy of Kentucky’s hospitality-rich and bourbon-drenched history. This book should be a shelf staple for any self-respecting bourbon fan.”

Rob Allanson, managing editor of American Whiskey magazine
THE KENTUCKY MINT JULEP by Colonel Joe Nickell

Are you more of a lay back on the couch with a drink while watching the Derby person? Then the cocktail book, THE KENTUCKY MINT JULEP, can help you perfect that iconic Derby day drink or any other drink you desperately want to try. More than just a recipe book, THE KENTUCKY MINT JULEP dives into the lore and legend of the famous drink. It also shares insight into garnishing and serving as well as choosing the right julep cup.

One of our many Derby books is SPECTACULAR BID, which details the life of almost Triple Crown winner Spectacular Bid. A safety pin was the only thing that kept him from winning the Belmont Stakes, where he finished third due to the injury to his hoof.


For all the history fans out there, UPK has an astounding array of history books about the Derby. Read about Sir Barton and how he was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in SIR BARTON AND THE MAKING OF THE TRIPLE CROWN. With multiple English and American winners in his pedigree, Sir Barton was destined to shine from the start. His wins inspired the ultimate chase for greatness in American horse racing and established an elite group that would grow to include legends like Citation, Secretariat, and American Pharoah.

THE KENTUCKY DERBY is full of the culture and history behind the derby, from its humble beginnings as a variation of England’s Epsom Derby to America’s “greatest two minutes in sports”. No other American past time is as full of pageantry, history, or tradition as the Kentucky Derby. For more than 130 years, spectators have been fascinated by the magnificent horses that run the Louisville track.

Though we’re all wishing the Derby was sooner rather than later, these books can fill the Derby-sized hole in your heart. Kick back with a Derby inspired meal and drink, or settle in your favorite chair with a Triple Crown winner.

Lexington’s Forgotten Murder: The Murder of Marion Miley

People are always fascinated by murder, whether it be in the form of a true crime show, a drama, murder mystery novels, or simply keeping up with the news. The newest murder mystery on the scene is a novel by Beverly Bell, where she explores the murder of the golf champion and aspiring doctor, Marion Miley. Miley was an internationally renowned gold champion, beloved by all she met, including celebrities like jazz crooner Bing Crosby. At 27-years-old, Miley was headed for greatness.

When six gunshots rang out on a September morning in the Lexington Country Club, the city’s day to day life would turn on its head. Miley had been brutally murdered. However, the bombing of Pearl Harbor less than two months later would redirect public attention and sweep Marion’s story to a forgotten corner of time — until now. The narrator oscillates between Marion’s father, her best friend, and one of her killer’s in this novel set around the manhunt and trial.

“Marion Miley was one of the country’s leading amateur golfers during the 1930s until her promising career was cut tragically short. Beverly Bell’s engaging and meticulously researched book explores the twists and turns in the hunt to find Miley’s killers in one of the nation’s most sensational murder cases. The Murder of Marion Miley is a story all golf fans should know.”

Michael Trostel

“If someone else had been shot—in a state other than Kentucky, in a place
other than the isolated and exclusive Lexington Country Club—perhaps
there would have been only one bullet. And with it, a chance to recover and
imagine a different life. Marion would have known which path to choose: pursuing those long-dormant medical aspirations, riding horses again, with-
out her father’s warning voice ringing in her ears telling her how one fall, one fracture, could jeopardize her golfing ambitions. And finally having the time
to give Debussy his due.
But someone else wasn’t the victim of this random, deadly crime, Marion
Miley was. The gifted daughter of a frustrated golf pro. A national celebrity
who had dominated the game for the past decade and could still win the big
one. A golfer who had met movie stars and a former king and thought it was
normal. A girl who died two months before Pearl Harbor and whose name
would be shuttered away after the war with all the other bad memories.
And it wasn’t just one bullet that hit her. The second one blew through
her brain, stealing everything—power, finesse, life, breath, and her one
chance for immortality, winning at nationals. There would be no recovery, no
next act. The twenty-seven-year-old was dead before her body hit the club’s
apartment floor.”

— Excerpt from The Murder of Marion Miley by Beverly Bell

A Glimpse into History: From World War One to the First Gulf War

For all the history buffs out there, UPK is proud to claim many great military history books in its arsenal. From ones soon to be published to some of our older reads, there is something for everyone.

DESERT REDLEG by L. Scott Lingamfelter

One of our newest books about military history is DESERT REDLEG by L. Scott Lingamfelter, who was a frontline artilleryman during Operation Desert Storm. DESERT REDLEG chronicles a soldier’s experiences during the First Gulf War. When Sadam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990, it triggered the First Gulf War and the coalition headed by the United States to retaliate with Operation Desert Storm. Lingamfelter tries to answer the question of whether or not the United States “got the job done” with Operation Desert Storm. Drawing on battle maps, official reports, and his comrades’ personal journals, he recounts the decisions made that led to victory.

“Scott Lingamfelter’s Desert Redleg is an excellent account of the prominent role and devasting power of the 1st Infantry Division Artillery during Desert Storm. His intriguing narrative of the numerous challenges, both logistically and in the synchronization of artillery support for the Big Red One, reveals the perseverance of American soldiers. Lingamfelter’s assessment of the doctrinal, tactical, strategic, and geo-political lessons the US Army learned during the Gulf War provides thought-provoking observations for our Army today and in the future. As a field artillery battalion commander during the Gulf War, Desert Redleg brings back personal and vivid memories of the gallant efforts we made in driving the Iraqis from Kuwait.”

Maj. Gen. Lynn Hartsell, US Army (Ret.)
AMERICAN DATU by Ronald K. Edgerton and THOUGHTS ON WAR by Phillip S. Meilinger

AMERICAN DATU and THOUGHTS ON WAR offer more of an analytical side to military history. AMERICAN DATU traces John J. Pershing’s military campaigns in the Philippines and examines how the Progressive Counterinsurgency doctrine was developed. THOUGHTS ON WAR confronts the shortcomings of US military dogma in search of a new strategic doctrine. Unlike when modern military doctrine was forged, the United States no longer mobilizes massive land forces for direct political gain.

KENTUCKY AND THE GREAT WAR by David J. Bettez and THUNDER IN THE ARGONNE by Douglas V. Mastriano

The last two books to offer up are KENTUCKY AND THE GREAT WAR and THUNDER IN THE ARGONNE. KENTUCKY AND THE GREAT WAR shows how Kentuckians banded together in a time of despair during the First World War. Bettez provides the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of the Great War on Bluegrass society, politics, economy, and culture, contextualizing the state’s involvement within the national experience.  THUNDER IN THE ARGONNE is about General John J. Pershing, the same man in AMERICAN DATU, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Douglas. V. Mastriano offers the most comprehensive account of this legendary campaign to date. Not only does he provide American, French, and British perspectives on the offensive, but he also offers — for the first time in English — the German view. 

In times like this, it might be refreshing to take a glimpse into history and see how we prevailed in hard times. We’re in uncharted territory, but so were many of the people these books focus on. Take the time to sit down and learn their stories.

Shining a spotlight on recent UPK New Poetry & Prose Series publications

Last month, the University Press of Kentucky opened submissions for the New Poetry & Prose Series, which seeks to publish contemporary works emphasizing profound language and inventiveness. This series has previously published several works, equally haunting and hopeful, that continue to deeply impact readers. Former New Poetry & Prose publications do not shy away from heritage or literary roots; each story forges its own special place in the modern literary tradition, from explorations of intersectionality in Appalachia, to the elusive search for cultural belonging for a young white-Palestinian woman.

Interested applicants may submit complete manuscripts of poetry or fiction (novels, short story collections) alongside a cover letter, author bio/CV, and contact information, at UPK’s website. For those simply wishing to learn more about these beautiful stories, please enjoy these recent Poetry & Prose publications.

“Fernandez’s stories engage questions of identity and belonging within the Cuban exile community of Miami. The narratives in this collection are character-driven, delving into complex psychology that helps to paint a vivid picture of the interior and exterior worlds the characters inhabit. Filled with concrete details, vibrant interiority, and smart collisions between internal and external conflicts, the stories challenge readers to feel the power of the characters’ grief and longing.” – Joanna Luloff, author of The Beach at Galle Road and Remind Me Again What Happened

In GRIEVING FOR GUAVA, Cecilia M. Fernandez explores the unintended generational cost of immigration. Through ten vividly told and beautifully imagined stories, Fernandez paints a picture of intense happiness and immense grief among Miami’s population of Cuban immigrants. Although varying wildly in age, gender, and status, each character embodies the same deep desire for something unattainable and fleeting. Propelled by the desire to move forward, these families struggle to remedy who they are with who they have been, and who they need to be with who they must become.

Fernandez’s GRIEVING FOR GUAVA is a beautiful ode to heartache and hope; it was published in the New Poetry & Prose series in 2020.

“In this outstanding collection, Puerto Rican poet Elidio La Torre Lagares’s shrewd use of literary appropriation and postmodern sense of irony samples the work of T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and Sylvia Plath, among others. But La Torre Lagares’s book is not about poetry alone; it centers primarily on his life under the forces of Hurricane Maria, which made a wasteland of the island, the death of his mother, and his father’s betrayal of the family. The lyric cry rises from La Torre Lagares’s helplessness, and it is powerful. The poems also speak to the planet’s future at this dangerous time.” – Paul Hoover, editor of Postmodern American Poetry

Lagares’s WONDERFUL WASTELAND AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS is an ode to pain and loss in the aftermath of physical destruction. Using emotional, profound language, Lagares navigates the turmoil of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, where thousands of lives were lost, and infrastructure remains in recovery today. Through the lens of Lagares’s memory, WONDERFUL WASTELAND attempts to rebuild the emotional landscape of Puerto Rico; it is an enduring landscape filled with hope and love, loss and devastation, all communicated through Lagares’s poignant language.

WONDERFUL WASTELAND was published in the New Poetry & Prose series in 2019. It is Lagares’ first publication of poems written in English.

“Both wise and humorous, Mahmoud’s debut novel is an intimate portrayal of an early Arab American marriage, filled with passion, loss, and ultimately forgiveness. Readers will be moved by the fierce but fragile Isra, who refuses to be defined by her family, her husband, and her society.” – Susan Muaddi Darraj, author of A Curious Land: Stories from Home

Lena Mahmoud’s AMREEKIYA stars Isra Shadi, a young Palestinian-white American attempting to forge her own path in two unique storylines. In one, Isra is a young girl living with her amu and amtu – aunt and uncle – and struggling with the death of her mother and the abandonment of her father. In another, she is a young woman adapting to married life with her new husband, Yusef. In both, she attempts to define womanhood, loss, and pain, in the terms of the multi-faceted life she inhabits.

Mahmoud’s AMREEKIYA was published in the New Poetry & Prose series in 2018.

“Heartening, and unusually thoughtful, this collection of stories places the young women, their feelings and minds (not just their bodies) at the center. In that way, it seems more true to what adolescence in young women can be: full of mistaken attachments, questioning actions, and, sometimes, provocative men who may be a wrong choice, may appear to represent freedom that, in fact, will be due to the young woman’s own agency and growth.” – Crystal Wilkinson, recipient of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for The Birds of Opulence

The myriad stories in MAKE WAY FOR HER by Katie Cortese explore common themes of love, identity, and human imperfection, each through a wildly unique lens. In one story, a young pyrokinetic girl attempts to stifle her abilities long enough to dance with the boy she likes; in another, a woman with marital issues fantasizes about the ex-con in her cooking class. These perspectives, though markedly diverse, speak to the same unspoken desire for love, even if said love is far from picturesque or ideal. Cortese’s writing excels in painting vivid characters that we root for, understand, and identify with as they succeed – but especially as they fail.

MAKE WAY FOR HER was published in the New Poetry & Prose series in 2018.

“This is a powerful book that illuminates one more complex, disturbing chapter of the African-American experience, a nineteenth-century white male physician’s gynecological experiments on female slaves. Mend is a brutal story, lyrically told in the voices of three of those women, and its author has memorably created both a painful reminder and a beautiful tribute.” – Kim Addonizio, from the runner up citation for The Donald Hall Prize

Although honored as the “father of modern gynecology,” J. Marion Sims’s legacy is tarnished by grim reality. Sims’s advancements were made through the suffering of eleven enslaved African American women, who he experimented on without consent or care. History has lost all but three of the names of these women. In MEND: POEMS, Kwoya Fagin Maples embodies these three named women and navigates facilitated memories and experiences, each relayed from hospital beds. The poignancy of this collection rests in its completeness; these women, Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy, are not merely victims or tools. They are human beings who suffer, triumph, and love. Each of these emotions is capture beautifully by MEND’s pages.

MEND: POEMS was published in the New Poetry & Prose series in 2018.

Celebrate this Women’s History Month with these fantastic UPK titles!

For much of our history, more than half the world’s population has been institutionally silenced. A wealth of stories have been lost to that silencing. Thankfully, in the past century – and even the past decade – those forces have begun to slowly abate, and for that, the literary tradition has been enriched. But even in 2020, writers grapple with the telling of experiences hitherto lost to time. How do we honor the lost voices of women and people of color, for example, while also exploring the modern creative voices of individuals in these groups?

This Women’s History Month, we would like to focus on a few UPK authors who have relentlessly worked to re-surface vital, untold experiences, while also adding new, necessary perspectives to the mix: their own. The UPK catalog has a myriad of these stories, from stories of interpersonal grief and trauma, to scholarly re-examinations of the intersection of class and gender.

To enjoy a piece of that history yourself this Women’s History Month, take a look at some of our most recent women-centered and women-authored releases.

“Wanting Radiance weaves a beautiful tale of Miracelle Loving’s pursuit for identity, populated by tarot cards, southern diners, fiddle players, tattoos, and the sweet night air on roads to nowhere. McElmurray’s dreamy language transcends this plane to bridge the liminal spaces between the past and present, life and death, who we were and who we might become.” Liz Prato, author of Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai’i

In a world cultured by supernaturality, WANTING RADIANCE explores a highly natural bond: that which exists between a mother and daughter. Using deft prose, McElmurray creates Miracelle Loving, a part-time fortune-teller whose life strays following the unexpected death of her mother. After spending her young adult years as a listless card reader, Miracelle starts to hear a familiar voice that she thought would be gone forever. Driven by a need to understand who killed her mother – and what her life should look like in the aftermath of that act – Miracelle follows the winding trail left by her mother’s ghostly voice on an unforgettable magical road trip.

While situated inside a fascinating world of magic and power, McElmurray’s WANTING RADIANCE is equally spellbinding in its vivid relationships and characters. Miracelle’s heartbreak climbs through the page; her triumphs are our triumphs. Experience that triumph for yourself and pick up a copy of McElmurray’s most recent novel here.

“Don’t let Beverly Bell fool you: She must have been reporting live in 1941 from Lexington’s most notorious crime. Bell writes with a golden erudition and preternatural imagination that keep the wide-eyed reader up all night – think Truman Capote.” – Patty Friedmann, author of Where Do They All Come From?

In 1941, Marion Miley was at the height of her golfing career, having won ever women’s tournament but the national title. She was only 27 years old and one of the world’s greatest living golfers. But on the night of September 28, six gunshots rang out at the Lexington Country Club and ended Miley’s career – and life. Miley’s murder left a sprawling mystery in its wake, one that Beverly Bell maneuvers masterfully through nearly a century later in THE MURDER OF MARION MILEY. Oscillating between the perspective of Miley’s father, best friend, and killer, Bell tells a new, compelling story of tragedy and true crime.

“Birdwhistell and Scaggs offer a valuable, woman-centered view of the University of Kentucky’s early history. Stretching over seven decades, grounded in oral history, and filled with colorful stories of individual women, Our Rightful Place provides readers a tantalizing peek into the day-to-day experiences of the women who worked and studied at Kentucky’s flagship university, documenting their efforts to carve out a space for themselves.” – Melanie Beals Goan, author of Mary Breckinridge: The Frontier Nursing Service and Rural Health in Appalachia

Forty-three women enrolled at UK in 1880. These women were the first to call themselves UK Wildcats; but although they enjoyed the privilege of identifying as students, their fight for equality, acceptance, and a proper education was not over. In OUR RIGHTFUL PLACE, Birdwhistell and Scaggs explore the trials and triumphs of early women pacemakers at UK between the years 1880 and 1945. Using archival documents, yearbooks, and rare photographs, Birdwhistell and Scaggs illuminate the untold stories of UK’s female pioneers who demanded a seat at the academic table.

“DiSavino’s meticulous scholarship delves into, exposes, and connects a wealth of primary sources to build a three-dimensional portrait of Katherine Jackson French while uncovering the mechanisms that conspired to silence this remarkable early twentieth-century scholar and ballad collector.” – Deborah J. Thompson, assistant professor and Appalachian Studies faculty at Berea College

In KATHERINE JACKSON FRENCH, Elizabeth DiSavino details the forgotten history of Kentucky native and Columbia graduate French, whose remarkable collection of traditional Kentucky ballads was withheld from print due to a contentious set of academic rivalries, broken promises, and long-held gender prejudices. In her place, famed artists like northerner Olive Dame Campbell and English folklorist Cecil Sharp rose to prominence. In French’s erasure, Appalachia lost a powerful voice – a voice for women, for people, everywhere. DiSavino’s scholarly re-examination of French’s would-be legacy brings that forgotten voice back to the light.

Already up to date on these titles? Peruse a few other recent titles we’re proud of: