UPK Names Leila Salisbury New Director

Leila_HeadshotWe are very pleased to announce that Leila Salisbury has been named our new press director, becoming only the fourth in the press’s sixty-eight year history. Salisbury is the current director of the University Press of Mississippi (UPM), a position she has held since 2008. She will take over leadership of UPK on August 1.

While at UPM, Salisbury was responsible for strategic planning and the management of a $2.7 million scholarly publishing operation and a $3.8 million endowment. She also has been very involved with the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), an organization of nonprofit publishers whose members strive to advance scholarship through their publications. Currently a member of the association’s national board of directors, she has previously chaired and participated in a number of panels and workshops at both national and regional levels and served as the chair of the AAUP marketing committee.

This hire represents a homecoming for Salisbury. She grew up in Lexington and began her career in publishing as a student assistant at UPK when she was an undergraduate. She began working for the press full time in 1994, as the assistant to the director. After receiving an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky in 1997, Salisbury moved to the marketing department, eventually becoming the department director as well as an acquisitions editor before leaving for UPM in 2008. “This is an exciting time to work at the University Press of Kentucky. Leila is an exceptional leader who possesses a rare combination of institutional knowledge and outside expertise,” said Amy Harris, UPK’s director of marketing and sales. “I anticipate that the press will reach new heights under her direction.”

“I look forward to Leila bringing her national academic publishing experience back to Kentucky,” said Terry Birdwhistell, dean of UK Libraries, which oversees UPK. Salisbury brings particular expertise to the position through her work with the Charleston Library Conference, where she has served as a speaker, panelist, and plenary session moderator. “I’m particularly eager to explore partnerships with the UK Libraries,” said Salisbury. “Engaging with exciting new research and fields of study from flagship programs at UK and our other state universities will be an important part of the Press’s work moving forward.”

Salisbury is looking forward to bringing this experience back to UPK. “At the core, my mission is to be a useful connector of people, programs, and institutions,” she said. “Kentucky has a wonderfully rich history and culture, and the possibilities for telling the state’s story and working in concert with cultural institutions and university programs seem endless.”

Welcome home, Leila!


Remembering a Hero for Peace, Equality, and Justice

 “But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 These were the famous ending words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s last speech at Mason Temple Church in Memphis, Tennessee on April 3, 1968. King was assassinated the following day.

This week will always mark the remembrance of a man who spoke in the pursuit of peace, equality, and love for an entire nation. President Lyndon B. Johnson referred to King as the “apostle of nonviolence.” A light had dimmed in a nation built upon hope and freedom. The devastating loss led to a change in history and the birth of one of America’s greatest legacy. With tragedy came social change.

People were enraged and shocked to hear of King’s sudden death. Rioting began to ripple through towns. Johnson knew the civil rights legislation needed to be passed soon. On April 11, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, or the Fair Housing Act, was passed and signed by Johnson. King will always be widely known as the face of the civil rights movement. His powerful voice drew in an unprecedented amount of people both black and white.


Justice was also fought in the case of James Earl Ray, the suspect found guilty in King’s murder. His testimony was never heard. Ray’s fingerprints were found on the rifle as well as a scope and a pair of binoculars. He pleaded guilty to King’s murder on March 10, 1969, only to retract his confession claiming he was victim of conspiracy. Among Ray’s supporters were King’s closest loved ones. King’s son Dexter publicly met with Ray in 1977. His encounter impacted him enough to petition for Ray’s case to be reopened. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, also supported Ray’s innocence touching on how America will never know the true details behind the case.

One detail will always be widely known. Dr. Martin Luther King left an imprint in Untied States History that could never be erased. Activists still seeking equality and social change reflect and call upon the actions and values King represented through his courageous speeches. The Chicago Freedom Movement, edited by Mary Lou Finley, Bernard Lafayette Jr., James R. Ralph, and Pam Smith, speaks in depth of the trail of civil rights activism King colored throughout the North. In Peace and Freedom, speaks of Lafayette’s experience with King in what has come to be known in history as a battleground for racial equality: Selma. Lafayette was an associate of King’s in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and one of the main organizers of the actions taken in Selma.

“I felt Dr. King’s determination gave courage to the people who were trying to take a stand. When he talked about his dream, he spoke of something positive, rather than condemning the situation. His speech was a voice for change. He saw change coming. When he said, “Let freedom ring,” Dr. King gave the nation a unified voice.” –Bernard Lafayette Jr., In Peace and Freedom

Cutting to the Golden Era

When James Bawden arrived precisely four minutes and twenty seconds late to interview the esteemed and ever fashionable Gloria Swanson, she bemoaned, “But I have more pressing problems [than being fashionably late], as you can see! Here I am in a supposedly grade-one hotel suite, and look for yourself! The ignominy of it all! No full-length mirror! No chandelier! Must I rough it? Must I?” Bawden’s interview relentlessly zooms Swanson’s close up in by touching on everything from her less-than-rewarding criticism of Kathrine Hepburn in Coco to her obsessive bean sprout diet.

Conversations_With_Classic_Film_Stars_CoverJames Bawden and Ron Miller have spent more than fifty years interviewing stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Conversations with Classic Film Stars: Interviews from Hollywood’s Golden Era collects many of these in a rich and enlightening archive about our favorite Golden Era stars. These interviews expand and enhance what was published at their respective newspapers with exclusive interview material. Bawden and Miller paint a picture of these illustrious stars’ careers while offering rare insights into their life and personalities.

Since the studios directed the Golden Age, interviews and cover stories about the glamorous stars have always been perfectly scripted, until Bawden and Miller put the spot light on the actors’ true words and not the force-fed words their studios wanted them to say. Strikingly real, some of the words these famous film stars had for their peers and costars are, in the words of popular columnist Liz Smith, “scintillating gossip and outright, downright dishing.” Douglas Fairbanks Jr., for instance, admits that his first wife, Joan Crawford, “hated every minute” of their honeymoon in Europe. Well, every minute except those few, precious moments at the local MGM distribution office “where she could do some publicity.”

Featuring interviews from some of the most famous leading men and women of the era like Kirk Douglas, Joseph Cotton, Jackie Coogan, Joan Fontaine, among many others, Bawden and Miller bring the silver screen out of the Golden Era and onto the page. Conversations offers a new look at our favorite Golden Era stars through the eyes of our favorite Golden Era stars.


“Tell Me, [about] Mommy Goose”

Raccoon_Car_WmkdThe 82-year-old renowned folk artist Minnie Adkins usually sits in her easy chair at her home in Elliott County and whittles. “Folk art is from the heart,” she recently told Rich Copley for The Lexington Herald-Leader. “Fine art is from the knowledge. Folk art you make from what you love and what you want to create.”

Mike Norris, former Communications director at Centre College, is a musician with a flair for rhymes.

Together they’ve created the charming new children’s book, Mommy Goose, featuring fifty original Appalachian rhymes by Norris and more than one hundred new hand-carved and -painted works by Adkins.

With colorful characters like the Speckled Hen, June Bug, and Clete, the Parakeet, the Song_Buttonnursery rhymes and carvings in Mommy Goose honor Appalachian tradition and speech. Accompanying the rhymes is a new original song and sheet music by Norris, “Tell Me, Mommy Goose.”


Mommy Goose_smallAbout MOMMY GOOSE

Mommy Goose is an Appalachian bird.

Like cows love corn, she loves words.

She says,

“Corn can be yellow, blue, or white,

And words change colors in different light.

To talk like your flock is no disgrace.

Just use the right word in the right place.”

Read the feature on Adkins and Norris in the latest issue of Kentucky Monthly, or buy the book.

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Wildcat ‘Memories’ and ‘Voice’ from the Past

Wildcat memoriesSince the tenure of Coach Adolph Rupp, the University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team has been a virtual powerhouse, repeatedly dominating the Southeastern Conference and garnering eight national titles. UK basketball is a homegrown tradition for sports enthusiasts, fostering a community that thrives on the camaraderie of fandom and devotedly cheers for its players in both victory and defeat. The individuals who have coached, played for, and inspired the Wildcats are important figures in Kentucky history and continue to motivate future athletes and passionate fans.

Wildcat Memories illuminates the intimate connection between the UK basketball program and the commonwealth. Author Doug Brunk brings together some of the program’s greatest coaches, players, and personalities to reflect on Kentuckians who provided inspiration, guidance, and moral support during their tenure as Wildcats. Featuring personal essays and behind-the-scenes stories from Kentucky legends Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Dan Issel, Joe B. Hall, Kyle Macy, and Tubby Smith, as well as newcomers Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, and John Wall, this heartfelt collection shares an inside look at what makes UK basketball extraordinary.

More than a book of inspiring stories, Wildcat Memories is a fun romp through UK basketball history. In candid firsthand accounts, the players and coaches discuss their incredible Kentucky support systems and offer a glimpse into the rarely seen personal side of life as a Wildcat.

Voice of the wildcats

As one of the first voices of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program, Claude Sullivan (1924–1967) became a nationally known sportscasting pioneer. His career followed Kentucky’s rise to prominence as he announced the first four NCAA championship titles under Coach Adolph Rupp and covered scrimmages during the canceled 1952–1953 season following the NCAA sanctions scandal. Sullivan also revolutionized the coverage of the UK football program with the introduction of a coach’s show with Bear Bryant—a national first that gained significant attention and later became a staple at other institutions. Sullivan’s reputation in Kentucky eventually propelled him to Cincinnati, where he became the voice of the Reds, and even to the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome.

In Voice of the Wildcats: Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting, Claude’s son Alan, along with Joe Cox, offers an engaging and heartfelt look at the sportscaster’s life and the context in which he built his career. The 1940s witnessed a tremendous growth in sportscasting across the country, and Sullivan, a seventeen year old from Winchester, Kentucky, entered the field when it was still a novel occupation that was paving new roads for broadcast reporting. During the height of his career, Sullivan was named Kentucky’s Outstanding Broadcaster by the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters for eight consecutive years. His success was tragically cut short when he passed away from throat cancer at forty-two.

Featuring dozens of interviews and correspondence with sports legends, including Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Babe Parilli, Cliff Hagan, Ralph Hacker, Jim Host, Billy Reed, Adolph Rupp, and Cawood Ledford, this engaging biography showcases the life and work of a beloved broadcast talent and documents the rise of sports radio during the twentieth century.

Hear exclusive audio clips, view featured photos, and learn more about Claude Sullivan at

Join Us This Weekend at Kentucky Crafted: The Market

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Come hang with us this Saturday and Sunday at the Lexington Convention Center for Kentucky Crafted: The Market, an annual showcase of Kentucky fine arts and crafts, specialty foods, music, and, of course, BOOKS!

Stop by to say hi and check out some of our new titles:

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Join Us This Weekend at Kentucky Crafted: The Market



It’s that time of year again! Spring is fast approaching, and all of Kentucky’s best artisans, craftspeople, booksellers, foodsellers, architectural artists, and many others are gathering at the Lexington Convention Center to share their works with you at Kentucky Crafted: The Market. Come by to shop from more than 200 exhibitors with fine art and craft, books, CDs, DVDs, and specialty foods. There will also be musical performances throughout the day, as well as regional food samplings, children’s activities, literary activities, special exhibits and narrative stages to explore Kentucky traditions.

The University Press of Kentucky will be there selling all the Kentucky/Regional books you love…you may even run into a few of our authors.