Women’s History Month

Photograph taken from Stuntwomen: the Untold Hollywood Story by Mollie Gregory. Helen Holmes ready to roll in episode 9, “A Leap for Life,” The Railroad Raiders (1917). (Courtesy of the Robert S. Birchard Collection)

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re sharing some of our favorite books by and about women!


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Blackberries, Blackberries by Crystal Wilkinson is a collection of stories that explores the sweet and bitter sides of life in a small Kentucky town: Two misfit teenagers seek stolen moments of love and acceptance in the cloak of night (“Hushed”); a woman spends every waking hour obsessed with dying yet ironically watching her loved ones pass away before her (“Waiting on the Reaper”); a wife confronts her husband’s mistress in a diner over potato skins and cornbread (“Need”); and a pious young woman’s torment erupt in a violent and unsuspecting resolution (“No Ugly Ways”).

Crystal Wilkinson is author of The Birds of Opulence, winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and Water Street, which was a finalist for both the UK’s Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. The winner of the 2008 Denny Plattner Award in Poetry from Appalachian Heritage magazine and the Sallie Bingham Award from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, she serves as Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Berea College and teaches in the Spalding University low residency MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Purchase book here.

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In The Price of Scarlet, Brianna Noll explores the paradoxes of experience as she interweaves themes of creation, art, and nature. Drawing on Japanese culture and language, Noll blurs the line between the literal and the figurative to offer her audience ways of considering the world beyond their own everyday experiences.

Brianna Noll is a postdoctoral fellow in teaching and mentoring in the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2013, she helped found the literary magazine, The Account: A Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Thought, for which she serves as poetry editor. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the Georgia Review, 32 Poems, the Kenyon Review Online, Passages North, Puerto del Sol, and Salt Hill.

Purchase book here.

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Madam Belle: Sex, Money, and Influence in a Southern Brothel by Maryjean Wall explores the life of Belle Brezing, a woman whose rise to wealth and fame began when she stepped off the streets of Lexington, Kentucky, and into Jennie Hill’s bawdy house—an upscale brothel run out of a former residence of Mary Todd Lincoln. 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 in the Gilded Age South.

Maryjean Wall served as the turf writer for the Lexington Herald-Leader for twenty-five years. The author of How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders, she holds a doctorate and is an instructor in the Department of History at the University of Kentucky.

Purchase book here.

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Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story by Mollie Gregory presents the first history of stuntwomen in the film industry from the silent era to the twenty-first century. For decades, stuntwomen have faced institutional discrimination, unequal pay, and sexual harassment even as they jumped from speeding trains and raced horse-drawn carriages away from burning buildings. Featuring sixty-five interviews, Stuntwomen showcases the stories and courage of women who make their living planning and performing action-packed sequences that keep viewers’ hearts racing.

Mollie Gregory is the author of Women Who Run the Show: How a Brilliant and Creative New Generation of Women Stormed Hollywood, 1973–2000.

Purchase book here.

 

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About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields for a largely academic audience and the publication of books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide mandated nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, operated as an agency of the University of Kentucky and serving all state institutions of higher learning, plus five private colleges and Kentucky's two major historical societies.

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