Category Archives: Kentucky Books

A Look at the Kentucky Book Fair on November 17

KBF_2018_UPK_ProgramAd.jpgNow in its thirty-seventh year, the Kentucky Book Fair is expanding to become the signature piece of a larger event, the Kentucky Book Festival. Organized by Kentucky Humanities, the Kentucky Book Festival will span from November 12 to 17 and involve six days full of literary events around Lexington, culminating in Kentucky Book Fair on November 17 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. The fair will feature more than 180 authors, including over twenty-five who have been published by University Press of Kentucky (UPK):

 

 

In addition to authors who will be signing their books on the main arena floor on November 17, the Kentucky Book Fair will host a series of panel discussions and presentations for authors and readers alike on the main stage and in breakout rooms that day. Several panels include UPK authors eager to share their work:

The Kentucky Book Festival will be holding a series of events throughout the week at several different locations around Lexington. The events include readings, cocktail parties, trivia, and more:

  • Monday, November 12, 6:30 to 8:00 pm—The Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning will host “New Kentucky Poetry & Prose” with readings by Willie Davis, UPK author Jeremy Paden, Robert Gipe, and Maureen Morehead. Free and open to the public; no tickets required.
  • Tuesday, November 13, 12:00 to 2:00 pm—ArtsPlace will host “A Literary Luncheon with Silas House” featuring him reading from his new novel Southernmost. Tickets are required and available for $40 at kyhumanities.org; seating is limited.
  • Friday, November 16—Jonathan S. Cullick, author of Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men: A Reader’s Companion, will teach a KBF Master Class on the basic rhetoric principles of persuasion and how to use them to more than 300 students. This event is for preregistered students and not open to the public.

Dedicated to honoring the profession of writing and to providing a format for authors to meet their reading public, the Kentucky Book Fair attracts thousands of avid readers and patrons nationwide. Featuring a broad range of titles including children’s books, military history, mystery, nature, fiction, and nonfiction, the fair attracts promotes reading across genres and age levels. Founded in 1981, the Kentucky Book Fair is the state’s leading literary event.

A full list of Kentucky Book Festival activities can be found on the Kentucky Humanities website.

An International Taste of Home Flavors

You know what November means? It means red, orange, and yellow leaves. It means scarves and chilly mornings. It means getting those coupons ready for Black Friday so you can get a great deal on some future presents.

But, above all else, November means giving thanks over a splendid meal on Thanksgiving evening.

We borrowed two delicious recipes from Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods, Revised Edition by Aimee Zaring to get everyone in the mood for some Thanksgiving cooking! In addition to sharing recipes from all across the world, Flavors from Home offers fascinating and moving stories from Kentucky’s resettled refugees, giving readers the chance to understand the courage and hardships of the tens of thousands of legally resettled refugees that use the kitchen to be able to return “home.”


Irene’s Chicken Paprikás

Chicken paprikás (PAP-ree-cahsh) is a classic Hungarian comfort food. Hungarians generally use a combination of dark and white chicken meat in their paprikás, but for a healthier version, substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders.

Serves 4 to 6

Ready in about 45 minutes

Image 01 Irene Finley

“Anything could have happened to us, but God had a purpose for my life.” –Irene Finley

5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 1⁄2 teaspoons sweet paprika (preferably Hungarian)
Ground cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 whole chicken, separated into legs, thighs, wings, etc.
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream (preferably regular) 1⁄4 cup all-purpose our
1⁄2 cup 2 percent milk

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Over medium heat, sauté onion until translucent. Add paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pep- per. Stir to combine. Add chicken and just enough water to cover.Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium-low heat. Cook with the lid partially covering the pan until the chicken becomes tender, about 30 minutes or less. (For chicken tenders, adjust the cooking time to 15 to 18 minutes.) Stir occasionally. Make sure not to overcook the chicken. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and set aside. Reserve the liq- uid and keep it warm over low heat. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil to keep it warm.


CoCo’s Soft Spring Rolls and Peanut Sauce

Spring rolls are a traditional and ubiquitous appetizer in Vietnam. Serve them at your next party and impress your friends, but keep in mind that spring rolls dry out quickly and are meant to be eaten right away. They also make a light, delicious, healthy meal.

Serves 8 to 10 (makes about 25 to 30 spring rolls)

Ready in about 1 hour and  45 minutes

Coco's Spring rolls 2

“I love to create. I love to bring the new idea to this town.” –Huong “CoCo” Tran

Spring Rolls

1 (8-ounce) package thin rice noodles (or rice vermicelli)
Olive oil for sautéing
2 carrots, shredded
1 to 2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise and on the bias 1 small head white cabbage, shredded
Salt and pepper
1 pound firm tofu (1 16-ounce package)
1⁄2 pound vegetarian mock (meatless) ham (optional)
1 (12-ounce) package rice paper (9-inch diameter)
Fresh mint or basil leaves
Peanut Sauce
11⁄4 to 2 cups hoisin sauce
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or hot pepper sauce
1⁄2 to 1 cup hot water
Ground peanuts (optional)
To Prepare the Spring Roll Filling
Boil enough water for the amount of rice noodles being used (refer to package directions). Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the noodles are softened. Rinse with cool water, drain well, and set aside.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a fry pan (preferably non- stick) over medium-high heat. Stir-fry carrots, celery, and cabbage until soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer vegetables to a plate or storage container to cool until ready to use.

Clean out the same fry pan and heat enough oil to cover the bot- tom over medium-high heat. (Make sure the pan is very hot before fry- ing.) Drain tofu of excess moisture. Cut tofu blocks widthwise into about 7 or 8 (1⁄2-inch-thick) slices. Fry the tofu slices until lightly brown on both sides, 5 to 10 minutes per side. Flip only once for best results. Remove and transfer to paper towels to remove excess oil, if desired.

If using vegetarian ham, slice and pan-fry like the tofu, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to paper towels to remove excess oil, if desired.
Cool all filling ingredients before assembling the spring rolls.
To Prepare the Peanut Sauce
In a medium bowl, combine hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and cayenne pepper to taste. (For a slightly sweeter sauce, add more peanut butter. For less sweetness, add more hoisin sauce and hot pepper.) Add hot water, a little at a time, until the ingredients are well mixed and the texture is smooth and creamy and of the preferred consistency. Serve cool or at room temperature. Garnish with ground peanuts just before serving. Store left- overs in the refrigerator.
To Assemble the Spring Rolls
Take one sheet of rice paper and quickly dip it into a large bowl of warm water (for about 2 to 3 seconds), making sure it is completely immersed. If you’re using a shallow bowl, you may need to rotate the paper. (Do not leave the paper in the water too long, or it will break down too quickly and be harder to roll.) Remove the paper (it should still be slightly firm) and hold it over the bowl to let the excess water drip off . Place the paper on a clean counter, a sheet of plastic wrap, or a plastic cutting board. (The paper will continue to soften and become gelatinous as it absorbs water during assembly.)
Place 1 tablespoon of the cooled vegetable filling in the middle of the rice paper, spreading it out lengthwise (to approximately 31⁄2 to 4 inches). Top the vegetables with about 1 tablespoon of tofu and ham (2 to 4 pieces), followed by 1 tablespoon of rice noodles and 2 mint or basil leaves. Do not overstuff to avoid tearing the paper.

Fold the end of the rice paper closest to you over the filling. Make sure the filling ingredients are tucked in, then fold in the sides. Slowly roll the rice paper away from you, keeping the ingredients tight and the edges straight, until the paper ends. Transfer to a serving plate, seam side down. Repeat the wrapping process until all the spring rolls and filling have been used.

Serve cold or at room temperature with peanut sauce. These are best served immediately or within an hour of making; otherwise, the rice paper will dry out. To keep them fresh, wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap, or store them in a single layer in a lightly oiled airtight container. Use plastic wrap to divide multiple layers so the rolls won’t stick together and tear. Keep refrigerated.

A Conversation with Lena Mahmoud, Author of Amreekiya

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Photo courtesy of Lena Mahmoud 

In Amreekiya: A Novel, author Lena Mahmoud deftly juggles two storylines, alternating between Isra’s youth and her current life as a married twentysomething who is torn between cultures and trying to define herself. The chapters chronicle various moments in Isra’s narrative, including the volatile relationship of her parents and the trials and joys of forging a partnership with Yusef. Mahmoud also examines Isra’s first visit to Palestine, the effects of sexism, how language affects identity, and what it means to have a love that overcomes unbearable pain. Featuring an authentic array of characters, Mahmoud’s first novel is a much-needed story in a divided world.

 

Lena Mahmoud was nominated for Pushcart Prizes for her story “Al Walad” and her essay “The Psyche of a Palestinian-American Writer” and was shortlisted for the OWT Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sinister Guru, KNOT Magazine, Pulp Literature, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Sukoon.


What first drew you to writing? Was there a specific moment or experience that made you want to become a novelist?Mahmoud_Amreekiya_Design7.indd

As a child I had a very active imaginary life. I often played out stories in my room or
backyard, but I didn’t start writing until I was eleven. I wasn’t much of a reader before that; I didn’t like most of what I read in school because to me it was boring and so homogenous, but when I read Janet Fitch’s White Oleander, about a girl who lives in many foster homes after her mother’s imprisonment—something much different from the cookie cutter chapter books I had been assigned in school—it made me think that knowing someone else’s story can enrich a reader’s life and make them see things differently. I thought that it would be such a great thing if I could do that, and I had always liked thinking up stories and acting them out. When I wrote them, though, I found that I could also make the story better by revising or rewriting it, so I have stuck with it for almost two decades now.

The dual narrative structure is one of the most intriguing facets of Amreekiya. Why did you choose to juxtapose the story of Isra’s childhood alongside her life as a married woman?

Isra’s adult chapters were the first part that I wrote, and I always intended to somehow explain the backstory of her losing her mother and being abandoned by her father. In the early drafts, I wrote out prologues and epilogues to give this backstory, and they just didn’t work for the novel. Then I started to explore Isra’s past more and more. I thought that showing how she and her husband Yusef first met and what it was like growing up with Amu Nasser and Amtu Samia really made the novel more developed. I didn’t want to do it as a completely linear narrative because the past never really goes away; the memories cling to our minds and influence our decisions. By having the two narratives happen concurrently, it more clearly revealed how the past affected the present.

Explain the significance of the title.

While the word “Amreekiya” technically means American in Arabic, it is often used colloquially to mean “white girl” or “white women.” In the novel it’s most often applied to Isra’s mother, but sometimes to Isra as well. I think, ultimately, that it represents a concern that a lot of the characters have: how “American” should they be? It’s most obvious in the case of the younger generation like Isra and Yusef, who wonder about how they would be judged for using birth control, but the older generation also must confront this issue, like Amu Nasser does when he returns to Palestine and is judged for how “American” his children act.

How have your personal experiences inspired or shaped Isra’s story?

I am mixed like Isra is, and a lot of the narratives I saw about people who were part white/part any Middle Eastern ethnicity seemed to always be about that person shedding their ties to whatever Middle Eastern culture s/he belonged to and trying to be as white as possible. I thought that was both unrealistic and dangerous standard to set for people like Isra and me, so I wanted to write a story to show that it’s more complicated and that it’s not necessary to choose between the two cultures, though that is often what others pressure mixed people to do. I didn’t want to write a memoir, though, because I wanted to show what it must be like for someone who does not have any friends or family who understand that sense of in-betweenness. In my case, I have three full siblings who are mixed like me (as well as five siblings from my parents’ previous and subsequent relationships), and I had the advantage of growing up and knowing my parents much better than Isra ever had a chance to know hers. Isra does have close connections to some people like Hanan, Sana, and Yusef, but they see her as being just like them without truly acknowledging that Isra’s ethnic background and experience are somewhat different. Of course, there are people at the other extreme, like Amtu Samia, who see Isra as being completely different, which is even more detrimental.

Amreekiya deals extensively with the intertwined issues of race, class, and gender. Did you set out to confront these topics, or were they a natural outgrowth of the story itself?

Yes, it was my intention to demonstrate how race, class, and gender affect the characters, especially Isra, because I think that too often we think of those as being abstract social or political constructs without considering that they have a strong influence on our everyday lives. Like many writers who come from marginalized communities, I have often heard from various people in the literary community that highlighting these issues make it less universal, but I do not agree with that view. Even if we are unaware of how our place in society or a particular community affects our lives, it still impacts what we become and what sort of lives we lead or will lead, so it much more accurately depicts our lives to see how race, class, and gender play role, rather than making it as invisible as we possibly can. With that being said, I also didn’t want to make Amreekiya a novel that had a heavy-handed political message telling my readers what to think. Instead, I wanted to tell a story that raised questions for my readers to think about.

Isra’s story is left fairly open-ended at the conclusion of the novel. Why did you choose to leave the status of Isra’s marriage and future ambiguous? Do you see yourself ever revisiting her narrative?

At one point I had a tidier ending for Amreekiya, but in all the years of revising and rewriting it, I thought that it didn’t make sense for Isra to have her life figured out by twenty-four. She still has the conflict of trying to figure out which options would be better for her. Should she live on her own? Should she resume her life as it was with Yusef or possibly pursue a different path with him? Of course, there are still all the expectations of the people around her as well, which is a force that will never go away. As for revisiting Isra’s narrative, I don’t have any plans to do it now, but I do sometimes find myself considering what she would be doing now, so I haven’t ruled that out.

Clark Medallion Event featuring Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape

Topophilia, the love of place, is what drives Richard Taylor. Through his love of Elkhorn Creek and his gift of storytelling, Taylor’s new release, Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape, presents readers with a powerful picture of a location that has impacted so many with its natural beauty. Filled with photographs, illustrations, and vignettes detailing this creek and its surrounding wonders, Taylor’s book gives readers a sense of why there is such a pull to this majestic landscape. 

Elkhorn is the 2018 winner of the Thomas D. Clark Medallion. The Clark Medallion is presented by the Thomas D. Clark Foundation Inc., a private nonprofit established in 1994. The medallion is presented annually to a book highlighting the state of Kentucky’s history and culture.

In honor of Taylor and his new release, an award presentation, reception, and book signing will be held at 5:30 pm Wednesday, September 26 in the River Room at the Paul Sawyier Library in Frankfort. The event will be hosted by Kentucky Humanities, Nana Lampton, the Paul Sawyier Public Library, and the Thomas  D. Clark Foundation.

Taylor_TrueFinal_Medallion“Count among the Elkhorn’s fans white-water enthusiasts who mount kayaks on their roof racks and often drive considerable distances to glide along its rough-edged spine. Or the fishermen who wade into sun-lucent pools as they might approach a spiritual or religious experience. And the rest of us, near and far, who love nearly pristine places, land that hasn’t been subdivided into suburban citadels with a few acres of tamed lawns or converted into cultivated fields that productively but monotonously generate nicotine or a single food crop to the impoverishment of nature and local soils,” Taylor writes in Elkhorn.

The Clark Medallion event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Click here for more information.

 

Kentucky Novelist, UK Professor Enjoys Sweet Peach of a Summer

“Another sweaty summer presents itself like a gift. Sun is a peach outside the window, grass all calmed down.”

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University Press of Kentucky author Crystal Wilkinson has had a summer of gold. From her novel, The Birds of Opulencebeing named the winner of the 2016 Appalachian Writers Association‘s Appalachian Book of the Year for Fiction to Wilkinson herself being appointed as the 2018 Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Murray State University, Wilkinson has spent the hot summer months earning both professional and personal honors.

Birds follows four generations of women in a bucolic southern black township as they live with—and sometimes surrender to—madness. The book hones in on the hopeful and sometimes tragic navigation of life as seen through the eyes of the Goode-Brown family. This marks the fourth award The Birds of Opulence has won, including the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, the Weatherford Award for Fiction, and the Judy Gaines Young Book Award. Wilkinson’s novel was also named the debut selection of the Open Canon Book Club, which was created by New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash to introduce readers to varied voices and portrayals of the American experience.

Birds is not the only one of Wilkinson’s books that has gotten attention this summer. Her second short story collection, Water Street, has been selected as the One Book Read at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. The program is a community-wide effort to help eliminate illiteracy in the region, with faculty and staff at WKCTC collaborating with many local and college partners to promote reading.

WATER STREET

Wilkinson’s work has earned her personal honors as well. The Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Committee and the West Virginia Center for the Book selected her for the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award. Previous recipients include Henry Louis Gates, Charles Frazier, Frank X Walker, Denise Giardina, and Silas House. In conjunction with the award, she will be the One Book, One West Virginia Author for 2019, and Water Street will be read by students across the state.

In addition, Wilkinson has gained speaker representation from Authors Unbound, which will broker her events in the form of literary engagements, one book programs, distinguished lectures, keynote appearances, community visits, and a variety of signature events.

Pictured at the top is Wilkinson sitting on a book bench designed by Bowling Green artist Lora Gill. Book Benches: A Tribute to Kentucky Authors is a public art project that features book-shaped benches, each themed around a different work by a Kentucky author, that have been placed around Lexington as a way to encourage reading. Wilkinson’s bench will be installed along South Limestone Street in front of the University Press of Kentucky office in November.

To top it off, Wilkinson accepted a new position as Associate Professor of English in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at the University of Kentucky. Further information on Crystal Wilkinson, her books, and her upcoming events can be found on her new author website: https://www.crystalewilkinson.net/.

From all of us at Kentucky Press, congratulations on a wonderful summer, Crystal!

Gentry Named Recipient of AWA Book of the Year for Poetry

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Author and former Kentucky Poet Laureate Jane Gentry (1941–2014) has been named the recipient of the Appalachian Writers Association’s 2017 Appalachian Book of the Year for Poetry for her posthumous collection The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry, edited by Julia Johnson, professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky.

Alternately startling and heart-wrenching, The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry offers a valuable retrospective of the celebrated poet’s work. Upon being diagnosed with cancer, Gentry and her daughters began collaborating with editor Julia Johnson to organize this definitive collection. The result is the entirety of Gentry’s published work alongside new, previously unpublished poems.

“In poem after poem in this rich and important collection, Jane Gentry commemorates her personal history through the lens of poetry — family, friends, the seasons, the flora and fauna she moves through. This book is a love song to Kentucky,” commented Jeff Worley, editor of What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets.

Poet and professor Jane Gentry spoke to UK College of Arts and Sciences about her life and work in 2013.

The New and Collected Poetry of Jane Gentry is the ninth University Press of Kentucky book to win an AWA award, joining Driving the Dead: Poems by Jane Hicks and From the Mountain, From the Valley: New and Collected Poems by James Still as winner of the poetry award. In addition, Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers by Joyce Dyer, Songs of Life and Grace: A Memoir by Linda Scott DeRosier, My Appalachia: A Memoir by Sidney Saylor Farr, Bloody Breathitt: Politics and Violence in the Appalachian South by T.R.C. Hutton, and Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia by Helen Lewis all won the AWA’s Book of the Year Award for Nonfiction, and The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson, UK associate professor of English, won for fiction.

Gentry’s work is deeply rooted in place, exuding a strong connection to the life and land of her native Kentucky. In honor of this consummate poet, who possessed an uncanny ability to spin quietly expansive and wise verses from small details, objects, and remembered moments, we are sharing one of her poignant pieces, “A Garden in Kentucky.”

A Garden in Kentucky

Under the fluorescent sun
inside the Kroger, it is always
southern California. Hard avocados
rot as they ripen from the center out.
Tomatoes granulate inside their hides.
But by the parking lot, a six-tree orchard
frames a cottage where winter has set in.

Pork fat seasons these rooms.
The wood range spits and hisses,
limbers the oilcloth on the table
where an old man and an old woman
draw the quarter-moons of their nails,
shadowed still with dirt,
across the legends of seed catalogues.

Each morning he milks the only goat
inside the limits of Versailles. She feeds
a rooster that wakes up all the neighbors.
Through dark afternoons and into night
they study the roses’ velvet mouths
and the apples’ bright skins
that crack at the first bite.

When thaw comes, the man turns up
the sod and, on its underside, ciphers
roots and worms. The sun like an angel
beats its wings above their grubbing.
Evenings on the viny porch they rock,
discussing clouds, the chance of rain.
Husks in the dark dirt fatten and burst.

 

 

Happy Chocolate Pecan Pie Day!

schmid bookChocolate pecan pie is one of the richest, most delicious and decadent desserts. A variant of the pecan pie, this delightful concoction is made by baking a mix of pecans, chocolate, eggs, and sugar syrup or honey over a pie crust.

And because today is officially Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, it’s appropriate that we put a regional spin on this traditional recipe. To celebrate this day—and let’s be quite honest: any day is a good day to celebrate chocolate and pecans—we’re sharing an absolutely divine pie recipe that incorporates chocolate, pecans, and [drumroll, please] bourbon!

The following recipe is derived from The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook by Albert W.A. Schmid.  Treat yourself to a slice or two of this delectable dessert!

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Kentucky Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Serves 6

  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • One 10 inch pie tin, lined with all purpose pastry, unbaked

All purpose pastry

  • 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sugar
  • ½ cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 extra large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  •  ¼ ice water

1) Make the all purpose pastry.

2) Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.

3) Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

4) Gradually add egg yolks and ice water until a ball of dough is formed (do not overwork the dough).

5) Wrap the dough and chill for 30 minutes before rolling out.

6) When the dough is chilled, roll out to about 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.

7) Roll out the dough two inches larger than the pan it is intended to be used for.

8) Place the dough in the pan.

9) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

10) In a mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, butter, corn syrup, vanilla and bourbon.

11) Strain this mixture into another bowl.

12) Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.

13) Cover with pecans.

14) Pour the filling on top of the chocolate and pecans.

15) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.

16) The pie is cooked when you are able to insert a knife into the pie, two inches off the side of the pie, and the knife comes out clean.

17) Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

18) Serve.

University of Kentucky Basketball Great Frank Ramsey Dies at 86

 

Frank Ramsey, a Kentucky men’s basketball national champion, All-American, and UK Athletics Hall of Famer, died yesterday. He would have turned 87 on Friday.

Ramsey was a key contributor on Kentucky’s 1951 national championship team and one of the stars of the 1954 team that went a perfect 25-0 but declined an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

In Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats by Doug Brunk, Ramsey discussed his upbringing and his experience with playing for Adolph Rupp. In honor of this basketball great, here is an excerpt:


I was born in the little town of Corydon, Kentucky, which had a population of about 300. Joseph Chandler—the father of Albert Benjamin (“Happy”) Chandler, who went on to become Kentucky’s Governor—lived two doors up from us. He was the postmaster and most every day he would push me in a wheelbarrel on his way to the train station to pick up the mail. Once we reached the train station he’d put the mail in the wheelbarrel and I’d walk back home with him. When I was five years old we moved to Madisonville and I’ve lived there ever since.

brunkCover.inddKentucky is unique because it’s a collection of many small towns. Consequently you get to know practically everybody in town. When I was growing up, the population of Madisonville was probably 5,000. At that time, if you misbehaved at school you had to watch out when you got home because the teachers knew you and they knew your family. If you got in trouble at school the teacher would call your family. Because of this we didn’t have any major behavior-related problems in the schools then. The discipline was there.

[. . .] 

During my junior and senior years at Madisonville High School, the UK basketball team had won the NCAA Championship twice. There was no television at the time so we all listened to the games on the radio. Lexington was a four-hour drive from Madisonville. I’d go up there to visit friends of mine I grew up with who were playing football at UK. When Coach Adolph Rupp offered me a scholarship to play basketball there I jumped at it. At that time pro ball wasn’t even in the future thinking of basketball players like me. We went to college to get an education, in addition to playing the sport. At the same time, since UK was a land grant college, every student had to serve two years in the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC). I served with the Army Military Police Corp at an army prison and at Fort Knox.

There were only about 5,000 students at UK when I attended so I didn’t have the sense that I was playing for the entire state. At that time UK was the biggest university in Kentucky and it had the greatest coach in Adolph Rupp. I was playing for the school and for the team. As basketball players we didn’t get any special treatment. We didn’t have luxurious living quarters like the players do now. We lived in the dorm like everybody else and ate in the dining hall like everybody else. We were normal students. One semester our basketball team had better than a B average. A lot of the people I attended classes with went on to become governors, bankers, doctors, lawyers, and politicians, and I’m still friends with them.

[. . .] 

Coach Rupp and Coach Lancaster were hard-drivers but they were fair. As a coach you’ve got to be a hard-driver. Kids expect a certain amount of discipline. If you don’t have discipline on a team, whether it’s basketball, football, baseball, or soccer, you’re not going to win. One thing Coach Rupp had was respect from his players. I don’t think it was fear, but we all wanted to please him and we wanted to win.

[. . .] 

I may have earned a bachelor’s degree in business from UK, but I earned a doctor’s degree athletically. I played baseball and I played basketball for one of the greatest coaches ever. Coach Rupp dealt in fundamentals. He taught you how to play the game of basketball. That afforded me a living in the NBA after I completed my military service, and I later used the business education I received at UK to open a bank. I’m grateful for that.

Kentucky Basketball Legends: Still Making Their Mark

Members of the 1998 Kentucky Men’s Basketball Championship team will sign Maker’s Mark annual commemorative bottles at the Keeneland Entertainment Center this Friday, April 13, at 7 a.m. Among those signing at the event will be forward guard Allen Edwards, guard Jeff Sheppard, and former UK head coach Tubby Smith, all of whom are featured in Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats. In this book, author Doug Brunk details the cherished bond between Kentucky basketball and the citizens of the Commonwealth through first-hand accounts from some of the Wildcats’ most renowned legends.

Tickets for the Maker’s Mark signing are already sold out, but you still have a chance to get up close and personal with these champions by way of this engrossing book. Below is an excerpt of Coach Tubby Smith’s chapter from Wildcat Memories:


As a coach, you love the fans, and you want their support. Having an affinity for the fan base is essential. You are providing a service coaching their team. You are trying to win, and you are trying to do the right things for your players, your coaches, the university, and the fans. Fans may boo you or cheer you. They call and they write with praise and criticism. But you can’t let that affect you, or you’re not going to last long in coaching or be successful in coaching. I became a college coach for the student-athletes, to get them educated and to teach them the game of basketball.

26Smith

During his ten-year tenure, Tubby Smith guided UK to one national championship, five SEC Tournament titles, and six Sweet Sixteen finishes. (Courtesy of Victoria Graff.)

During my tenure at UK there was an element of the fan base that didn’t think our teams had won enough games, but in five of my ten years as coach we probably played the toughest schedule in the history of UK basketball. I wish we could have won more games while I was head coach. But we were competitive, we graduated our players, and we kept the program clean. If there was pressure, it was pressure to make sure we did things in a first-class manner. 

One thing I appreciate about UK fans is that they know how to be grateful, because the program has been so successful , and the fans are proud of that success. They show their pride, and they should. They show their commitment by calling in to talk shows, writing letters, and flocking to Rupp Arena or wherever the team plays. You’re not going to find more loyal, passionate fans for their team than followers of the Wildcats. That’s the one common thing. Just about everybody in Kentucky is pulling for you to be successful. It’s a way of life in the Commonwealth. 

An Open Letter

Dear Supporters of the University Press of Kentucky:

Based on the recently passed state budget, the University Press of Kentucky (UPK) will lose approximately $672,000 out of a total operating budget of $2.86 million against sales of $1.92 million. The University of Kentucky will work with UPK to plan increases in efficiency and enhanced revenues to partially offset the loss of funding. Further, the University of Kentucky and all partner institutions of UPK will be expected to provide financial support to fill any remaining funding gap. The long-term goal is to chart a strong path forward for UPK.

The fact is that many university presses receive funding and support from multiple sources. Against that backdrop, a fresh approach to our funding model is economic reality. It reflects that technology and other forces are changing the way we transmit and discuss ideas. We should seize this moment to continue to evolve, as we have already been doing, in ways that keep pace with change and serve as a model for other university presses.

In this context, it is critical that current and prospective authors and UPK’s business partners understand that we are on a path toward stability. Our short-term financial challenges are transitory. We urge our authors and vendors to understand that we are conducting business as usual.

Many supporters of UPK have asked how they can help. This is how: share our news. Help the faculty you interact with understand that we plan to be here for the long haul. Help them know that UPK looks forward to continuing our work with writers and scholars around the world to advance thinking and scholarship. Help them understand that the best way to keep us growing and improving is to send us thoughtful, significant, and creative manuscripts of the highest caliber.

We are grateful for the messages of support given to us by so many in recent months. We look forward to continuing to work with you as we chart our path forward—one that will secure the future of UPK and the rich cultural and intellectual heritage in which we play such a vital role.

Sincerely,

David W. Blackwell, Provost, University of Kentucky

Deirdre Scaggs, Interim Dean, UK Libraries

Leila Salisbury, Director, University Press of Kentucky