Tag Archives: awards

Crystal Wilkinson Named Finalist for 2019 Dos Passos Prize

Crystal WilkinsonThe University Press of Kentucky is pleased to announce that Crystal Wilkinson, author of the award-winning The Birds of Opulence, has been named a finalist for the 2019 John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, an annual award that recognizes one of America’s most talented but underappreciated writers.

The John Dos Passos Prize for Literature is given annually by Longwood University to an underappreciated writer whose work offers incisive, original commentary on American themes. The winner of the prize receives an honorarium and gives a reading on Longwood’s campus.

Previous winners of the prize have gone on to win the most prestigious international literary awards, including Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards. They include Colson Whitehead, Sherman Alexie, Jill McCorkle, Tom Wolfe, and Annie Proulx.

Crystal Wilkinson is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in the Oxford American and Southern Cultures.

The six finalists are a diverse group of celebrated authors whose published works traverse genre and defy expectations. Their exceptional works are taught in college classrooms across the country.

“This is such an accomplished, innovative group of authors, and we are thrilled to honor them as finalists for the oldest literary award given by a Virginia college or university,” said Brandon Haffner, assistant professor of English at Longwood. “We have the difficult task of selecting one of them as the Dos Passos Prize recipient this fall, and the winner will join an impressive list of some of America’s most celebrated authors. These finalists represent various styles, subjects, and places, but all six of them explore crucial truths about the American experience.”

The finalists with selected works are:

Rabih Alameddine, The Angel of History; An Unnecessary Woman

Sesshu Foster, World Ball Notebook; Atomik Aztek

Linda Hogan, Mean Spirit; People of the Whale

Victor LaValle, The Changeling; The Ballad of Black Tom

Kelly Link, Get in Trouble; Magic for Beginners

Crystal Wilkinson, The Birds of Opulence; Water Street

The prize winner will be announced in August 2019.

History Book Receives Thomas D. Clark Foundation Medallion Award

Leonard CoverElizabeth Leonard’s Slaves, Slaveholders, and a Kentucky Community’s Struggle toward Freedom is the 2019 winner of the Thomas D. Clark Foundation’s Medallion Award.

The nonprofit Clark Foundation gives the annual award in support of the University Press of Kentucky (UPK), which published Professor Leonard’s book. After reviewing several top UPK books published in 2019, a committee of the foundation choose Dr. Leonard’s book because of its high standards for research and writing exemplified by the award’s namesake, the late, distinguished historian Thomas D. Clark.

TDC_Medallion“Much of what we know about Kentucky history and culture rests on works published by the University Press of Kentucky, and Professor Leonard’s book adds greatly to this tradition,” said Stan Macdonald, president of the Clark Foundation‘s board. “She illuminates with pace and clarity the dramatic personal journey of Joseph Holt as he rises from the shackles of his large slaveholding family in Breckinridge County, KY to a prominent position in President Lincoln’s administration and a life advocating for emancipation and civil rights. Unearthing hard-to-find historical records, the author also pieces together the lives of slaves from this same area of Kentucky, including the story of Sandy Holt, who had been acquired by Joseph Holt and who later joined the 118th United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War.”

Professor Leonard will speak at an event in her honor on September 17 at The Filson Historical Society in Louisville, KY. The event is being sponsored by the Clark Foundation, University Press of Kentucky and The Filson Historical Society.

The Appalachian Studies Association Conference is Coming

The ASA’s annual 37th conference is just eleven days away! The conference will take place at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia March 28-30. Every year many awards are given to deserving candidates, some of which have been UPK authors! Do you recognize these names?

Cratis D. Williams and James S. Brown Service Award
2009 – William H. Turner
2007 – Ron Lewis (Co-Recipient)
2004 – Patricia D. Beaver
1993 – Richard Drake (Co-Recipient)
1993 – Loyal Jones  (Co-Recipient)

Weatherford Award – Nonfiction
2011 – Emily Satterwhite
2010 – Chris Green
2009 – Ronald D. Eller
2004 – Michael Montgomery
1999 – Loyal Jones
1989 – Jon Inscoe
1982 – Ronald D. Eller
1978 – Henry D. Shapiro
1977 – Gurney Norman
1975 – Brian Wooley
1971 – David H. Looff

Weatherford Award – Special
1999 – Sidney Saylor Farr
1996 – Loyal Jones
1979 – Cratis Williams – 1979
1978 – Harriette Simpson Arnow
1977 – James Still
1976 – Harry Caudill
1975 – Jesse Stuart

Helen M. Lewis Service Award
2013 – Amy Clark on behalf of the Appalachian Writing Project
2008 – Silas House
2007 – Gurney Norman

Carl A. Ross Student Paper Award
2004 – Emily Satterwhite
1984 – Jon Inscoe

Wilma Dykeman “Faces of Appalachia” Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship
2009/2010 – Emily Satterwhite

Check back after the conference to see this year’s recipients! Who do you think will win?

Hawks on Hawks and the Oscars

A directors’ body of work and success is often measured by how many awards they have received. But this can be an unfair and biased way of judging creativity.

With this year’s Academy Awards recently ended, it is difficult to comprehend the multitude of extremely talented directors who were never fortunate enough to win an Oscar for one of their films. A prime example of this injustice is the great Howard Hawks.

Hawks is often credited as being the most versatile of all of the great American directors, having worked with equal ease in screwball comedies, westerns, gangster movies, musicals, and adventure films.

Hawks on Hawks draws on interviews that author Joseph McBride conducted with the director over the course of seven years, giving rare insight into Hawks’s artistic philosophy, his relationships with the stars, and his position in an industry that was rapidly changing. In its new edition, this classic book is both an account of the film legend’s life and work and a guidebook on how to make movies.

Hawks was eventually awarded an Honorary Award Oscar for his filmmaking abilities. 

From “Hollywood’s New Cinderella” to “Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel”

If this screen siren doesn’t immediately look familiar to you, it’s because she is often overlooked despite her powerhouse performances and unique beauty. (We know, Ann, its not fair!)

Ann Dvorak was once crowned “Hollywood’s New Cinderella” after performances in movies like Scarface (1932) and Three on a Match (1932). But after she walked out on her contract with Warner Bros. and engaged them in a controversial lawsuit, her acting clout steadily declined.

Christina Rice, a librarian and photo archivist at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles and self-titled crazed Ann Dvorak fan, has written the first full-length biography of the under-appreciated actress’s life entitled Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel. Rice discusses not only Ann’s body of work but also her rebellion and the ways in which it paved the way for other Hollywood actors and actresses to break their contracts with the established Hollywood system.

Rice F

Rice recently joined WICN Public Radio for a podcast discussing the book during their Inquiry Program. Check out the podcast here to hear more about the book and Rice’s research.

Rice also wrote an article for the Huffington Post that discusses the Selig Zoo Statues. These statues, previously owned by a man named Colonel Selig, framed the entrance to a zoo on his property that housed his beloved jungle animals. After the zoo went through various owners, these majestic statues went missing. They were found by a docent and were once again restored to their former glory in 2009 at the entrance of the Los Angeles Zoo.

Also, be sure to check out Christina Rice’s website and blog.

In honor of Ann Dvorak, this is how we like to imagine Ann walking out on Warner Bros. and her contract:

ann throwing

We’re Off to See the Wizard… at the 2014 Oscars

Dorothy, Toto, and the rest of The Wizard of Oz gang will follow the yellow brick road all the way to Hollywood to be honored at this year’s Oscars for the film’s 75th anniversary.

Wizard of Oz gifsoup

The film was nominated for 6 Oscars in 1939 (including best picture) and won 2 Academy Awards for best song and score.

i hate rainbows

Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s treasured novel, the film was directed by Victor Fleming and is considered by many to be one of the greatest and most-beloved films of all time.

wizard of oz laughing ← They certainly seem to think so.

Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master, is the full-length, definitive biography of this legendary director written by Michael Sragow and is available from UPK at this link:


Via: Google Images

Now available in paperback, Sragow describes Fleming’s many timeless works including Gone with the Wind, Joan of Arc, and, of course, The Wizard of Oz.

Excerpted from Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master by Michael Sragow

In The Wizard of Oz, [Fleming] not only captured the beauty of childhood but also defined it for the millions who have experienced it in theaters and in the highly publicized TV showings that began in 1956. It evokes the sometimes-terrifying exhilaration of discovering the world beyond the doorstep–and the anxiety-tinged urge to hang on to ‘home’ before time and circumstance alter it.” –Michael Sragow

How excited are you?

tin man dancing

If the Scarecrow had a brain he’d be on the UPK website right now.

scarecrow nodding

So be sure to tune in to the Oscars tonight to make sure that Dorothy and Toto made it to Hollywood.

wizard of oz apple maps

Just remember, there’s no place like the University Press of Kentucky’s website if you’re looking for some amazing books.

ruby slippers

Their First Misunderstanding featuring Mary Pickford

America’s Sweetheart

With the Oscars approaching more and more quickly, it’s easy to forget about how much film has evolved over the past century. What used to not even exist in film is now arguably the most important aspect of it. What sets a fantastic film apart from its competitors is often the dialogue and writing, not the special effects.

In the early days of cinema, when actors were unbilled and films were silent, audiences immediately noticed Mary Pickford. Moviegoers everywhere were riveted by her talent as she rose to become cinema’s first great star.

mary p

During a time when women weren’t known for their careers, Pickford became a pioneer in the film industry as both an actor and a producer. She co-founded the film studio United Artists with fellow film greats Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, and Douglas Fairbanks. The studio continues to be a major success today, with blockbuster actors like Tom Cruise as clients.

show me the money

Labeled one of the American Film Institute’s (AFI) 50 Greatest American Female Screen Legends, Pickford’s contributions to film have been heavily researched and treasured.

“Their First Misunderstanding”, a 1911 film starring Pickford, has recently been found and restored thanks to a curious carpenter digging through an old New Hampshire barn. Christel Schmidt, an eminent Mary Pickford scholar and editor of UPK’s book, Mary Pickford: Queen of Movies, discusses the significance of this finding with Public Radio Exchange (PRX) at this link.

Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies by Christel Schmidt

Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies by Christel Schmidt

Pickford was one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, most often known for that small show they put on once a year called the Oscars.


So it’s thanks in part to her that we get to cheer on our favorite actors and films and watch their hilarious reactions to losing awards.

HBC funny

Celebrate Mary’s achievements and contributions to film by going to our website and ordering Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies. This beautifully designed volume features more than two hundred color and black and white illustrations, including photographs and stills from the collections of the Library of Congress and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Together with the text, they paint a fascinating portrait of a key figure in American cinematic history.


Also, be sure to check out some of our other books in the Screen Classics series on our website. Other notable Oscar faces like Victor Fleming, Jack Nicholson, and Maureen O’Hara have been featured in this series.


Continue the tradition started by Mary and her colleagues by watching the Academy Awards on March 2nd.