Tag Archives: books

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Becoming King colorMartin Luther King dreamt of a nation where all inhabitants of the United States would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their personal abilities and qualities. King became the face of the civil rights revolution through adhering to Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence and leading a movement based on peace, not conflict. On August 28, 1963, 250,000 demonstrators stood before the Lincoln Memorial while King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, one year before the United States passed a law prohibiting all racial discrimination.

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.13.14 AMFor his tireless dedication and commitment towards civil rights and social justice, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this day in 1964. At 35, he became the youngest person to have ever received this esteemed award.

In honor of Dr. King, his legacy, and the 54th anniversary of his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, here is an excerpt of his acceptance speech, which he made in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 1964.


 

“Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice. I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. And only yesterday more than 40 houses of worship in the State of Mississippi alone were bombed or burned because they offered a sanctuary to those who would not accept segregation. I am mindful that debilitating and grinding poverty afflicts my people and chains them to the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 12.29.27 PMAfter contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 12.30.27 PM.pngThis faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

Today I come to Oslo as a trustee, inspired and with renewed dedication to humanity. I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood. I say I come as a trustee, for in the depths of my heart I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally.

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners – all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty – and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.”

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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!

Meet the Press: Patrick O’Dowd, Acquisitions Editor

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Name: Patrick O’Dowd
Position: Acquisitions Editor
Hometown: Lexington, KY
Alma Mater: University of Kentucky

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

I am one of UPK’s three acquiring editors. Most of my acquiring efforts are focused on regional titles, fiction, and poetry.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson. It is a beautiful story by an amazing writer/human.

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

County Club

What’s your favorite word?

According to my fiancée: gorgeous.

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it? 

I have many strong opinions but not on fonts.

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

Farmer, chef, race car driver. There was a certain process of elimination, but publishing is where I belong.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?

I’m the biggest Formula 1 fan in Kentucky.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

Leslie Knope.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee. Yes! It’s a well told story.

If you could have dinner with any three people—dead or alive, famous or not—who would it be?

Anthony Bourdain, Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama

Meet the Press: Tasha Huber, Assistant to the Director

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Name: Tasha Huber
Position: Assistant to the Director
Hometown: Utica, Ohio
Alma mater(s); major(s), minor(s): University of Kentucky; B.A. in English, Communication minor

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

As the assistant to the director, I do a variety of things at the press. I draft various letters and grant proposals. I help manage the director’s book projects and communicate with authors and community partners. I coordinate the editorial board and press committee meetings that happen four times a year. I also help coordinate our Thomas D. Clark Foundation meetings and work closely with the foundation members. Additionally, I work closely with our acquisitions staff to keep up-to-date on the book projects they are working on.

One of the things I enjoy most about my position is the work I do with our growing internship program. I helped create a group dedicated to the advancement of the program, and we meet monthly to discuss ways to give our interns a more meaningful experience. As a former intern at the press, I like to work with students and help them gain experience and knowledge in scholarly publishing.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

Patchwork by Bobbie Ann Mason—it was the first project that I worked on when I became a full-time staff member at the press. I’ve spent a lot of time with the book!

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

I’m not a native Kentuckian, so I feel a little unqualified to act as a tour guide. However, I would definitely recommend the many distilleries and wineries that Kentucky has to offer.

What’s your favorite word?

Serendipity: finding something good without looking for it.

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

I like Adobe Garamond because that’s the font used in the Harry Potter books.Adobe Garamond

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

I’ve always enjoyed reading books, so I think it was natural for me to want to work with books in some way. However, there was a brief period in time where I wanted to be a sports journalist.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?

Normally my random fact is that I’m a super crazy cat lady, but most people know that about me by now (my “Cat Mother of the Year” mug is maybe not so subtle…). Something that most people don’t know about me is that my dream is to open a cat sanctuary one day. I’d love to spend my time playing with and giving love to kittens and cats that would be otherwise be left as strays on the streets or worse.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

I would choose Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series because I think we would be best friends.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?

I just finished reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Love of the Last Tycoon. As a huge Fitzgerald fan, I definitely would recommend it. It is interesting to read an unfinished work and to try to interpret where Fitzgerald was going with the novel based on the notes he left behind.

If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you hope would play you?

I can only hope that it would be Emma Watson.

Any hidden talents?

I have a decent singing voice. I used to sing in a lot of talent shows and school musicals, in choir and in church, and at any event that had a karaoke machine. Now, I mostly limit my singing to car rides and the occasional sing-along to a Disney movie.

Meet the Press: Mack McCormick, Publicity and Rights Manager

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Name: Mack McCormick
Position: Publicity and Rights Manager
Hometown: Selma, AL

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

My primary responsibility is publicity—writing press releases, mailing review copies, coordinating media interviews for authors, setting up book signings and other events.  I also coordinate the press’s subsidiary rights program. The bulk of our rights activity is translations, though it covers everything from professors who want to use a chapter from one of our books for a course packet to audiobooks to first serial excepts in magazines to movie deals.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

There are so many I’ve worked on over the years, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one, so if I’m forced to do so, I’ll pick a more obscure title—Growing Up Hard in Harlan County, by G.C. “Red” Jones. It’s a memoir, originally published in 1985, and brought to the press by Harry Caudill.  We released it in paperback in the early 2000s, shortly after my son was born. It was the first book I read after he was born that I lost sleep reading (and when you’re already short on sleep, it takes something special for you to give up more).  Red Jones led a fascinating life that included running a team of mules through the Appalachians as a preteen, bootlegging, the depression, Bloody Harlan, World War II, and more.

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

It completely depends on who it is and when it is.  If Keeneland is in session, that’s a no-brainer.  It’s an experience and atmosphere you can’t get many other places, but one of the nice things about Lexington is there are lots of options, from historical to cultural to muscial to outdoors to sports.

What’s your favorite word?

It’s hard to pick just one. My favorite phrase might be “Eschew obfuscation.” And while I like both of those words individually, neither rises to favorite. As a category, I’ve always loved a lot of clothing terminology, which is a bit ironic, since I’m not what you would consider a natty dresser. I find myself intrigued by many of those words—tattersall, gaberdine, seersucker, madras, houndstooth (I did graduate from Alabama as well), gingham, muslin—not for their meaning or etymology, but as words themselves. Their sound. Their construction.

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it? [if possible, make image of font name in font]

Perhaps Palatino. I’m not a true font geek, though I did see and really liked Helvetica and I do notice and pay attention. I like and use a lot of more modern and streamlined fonts, but if push comes to shove, I’m a fan of old-style fonts, and Palatino is a nice modern version of one. As my eyes have gotten weaker, I’ve grown to appreciate Sabon as well, which is another modern take on an old-style design, but more open and easier on the eyes. It’s also one we’ve used extensively over the years on our film list. Palatino LinotypeHelveticaSabon

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

I started college with a physics major in mind.  I was always good at math (higher math, I need a calculator to add) and science. Second semester calculus disabused me of that notion, and an amazing freshman English class left me an English major. Publishing/writing didn’t enter my mind until I started working on the staff of Marr’s Field Journal, Alabama’s undergraduate literary magazine. The one creative writing class I took there showed me how much better I was on the editing end. I had the ability to write, but not the voice for it or the need to do it. I continued to work in publishing from there—Marr’s Field Journal business manager, then editor; the media planning board at Alabama; Alabama Heritage and Southern Accents magazines; Limestone, Kentucky’s graduate literary journal; then UPK.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?

I actually alluded to it above—I’m a closet physics junkie. While I can’t follow the math in the journals, I follow the popular press. I subscribe to Scientific American and I have a shelf filled with titles like A Brief History of Time, The Black Hole War, The Meaning of Relativity, The Fabric of the Cosmos, Notes from the Holocene, The Trouble with Physics, and Reality Is Not What it Seems.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

Thursday Next.  If you don’t know who that is, I won’t deprive you of the joy of discovering for yourself.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

The last (non-work-related) book I completed: Remembrance of Earth’s Past by Liu Cixin (The Three Body Problem is the first in the trilogy). If you’re a fan of big, complex space opera (or of contemporary speculative Chinese fiction), yes. Otherwise, there are better introductions to the genre than this amazing, complex trilogy, but if you enjoy those, by all means check this one out.

The books I’m reading now: The Real and the Unreal/The Found and the Lost, by Ursula Le Guin. One is her selected short stories; the other is her collected novellas.  Both are amazing collections from a writer whom we recently lost.  Both are worth a read, though as collections, they’re something I can dip into and out of, so I don’t tend to read those straight through.

Novel I’m reading now: The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman. I’m not far in, but so far so good.  This one is a follow up to Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which in my opinion is the best, most ambitious YA fantasy to be published since The Hobbit.  Start there before getting this one, and don’t bother with the movie version of The Golden Compass.  If you have seen it, don’t think it is an honest reflection of the book either.

What’s your favorite song to sing at karaoke and why?

Mack the Knife,” by Bobby Darrin. I have my own theme song, though I was probably 14 or so before I even figured out why so many of my parents friends called me Mack the Knife. If I do get up to sing it though, run—I’m tone deaf and perpetually flat (or so I’ve been told—it sounds on key to me).

If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why?

The West Wing. Any the “why” should be obvious.

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Meet the Press: Emily Crowe, Marketing Intern

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Name: Emily Crowe
Position: Marketing Intern
Hometown: Frankfort, Kentucky
Alma mater(s); major(s), minor(s): Georgetown College; B.A. in History, Business administration minor (May 2019)

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

As an intern I do whatever they tell me to do! So far this summer my duties have ranged from writing catalog copy and press releases to running UPK’s social media accounts for a week.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

Creeker by Linda Scott DeRosier. I read it in my Kentucky History class at Georgetown College, which was taught by Dr. James C. Klotter, another UPK author. I’ve always enjoyed memoirs and biographies, as well as books about Kentucky, so reading about a woman growing up in Appalachia was really interesting to me. This was the first history class that I took in college and I liked it so much that I decided to get my degree in History.

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

Bourbon ‘n Toulouse for chicken étouffée and an Ale 8 would definitely be at the top of the list. The Kentucky History Center in Frankfort holds a special place in my heart because I volunteered there all through high school. Lake Cumberland or the Land Between the Lakes would be ideal for a long weekend. 

What’s your favorite word?

Meander is probably my favorite word. It feels like such a relaxing, casual word and I think it should be used more in conversations.

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

Not to copy Jackie, but I really like Candara because it’s so simple and sleek.

Candara

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

The book industry has always been a big part of my life because my mom was the manager of the Kentucky Book Fair for fourteen years. My ultimate goal is to work in museum education, but this internship has been a great experience and it’s been a lot of fun learning about marketing.  When I was a kid, I thought, and my family agreed, that I should be a lawyer because I never gave up on an argument.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?

All my friends and family know this (and are probably sick of hearing about it), but some people might be surprised to learn that I lived in Oxford, England from January to June of this year. I was studying History at Regent’s Park College, Oxford. The best thing about my time there was the fact that I lived 30 seconds away from the Eagle and Child, the pub that J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis visited every day for nearly thirty years.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

Shawn and Gus from Psych. Their humor and friendship is something the world could use a little bit more of these days.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?

Pride and Prejudice is the last book that I read. After years of my best friend insisting that I read it, I finally took her advice and I wish I had taken it sooner! Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books now and I would definitely recommend it. The characters are incredibly well-written and relatable, despite being written over 200 years ago. It’s the perfect book to read when you want to slow down and focus on someone else’s (fictional) problems for a little while!

Any hidden talents?

I can sing/rap all the way through Hamilton perfectly and from memory.

Name three things you can’t live without.

Ale 8, my dog, Maxx, and Parks and Recreation.

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Meet the Press: Jackie Wilson, Marketing Assistant

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Name: Jackie Wilson
Position
: Marketing Assistant
Hometown
: Paris, KY

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

I collaborate with the sales and marketing director to promote our books. I write and edit promotional copy for the seasonal catalogs and book jacket covers; contact various writers, professors, and professionals to solicit advance quotes for our publications; represent the press at various exhibits, fairs, and shows; and help manage the press’s social media platforms to promote new releases, events, and features.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

It’s very hard to narrow down, but The Birds of Opulence is just an exquisite piece of fiction.

What’s your favorite word?

My favorite saying is “no worries.”

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

My favorite fonts vary, depending on the day and my mood, but Candara tends to be my go-to font.Candara

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

Initially I wanted to be a marriage counselor as a kid (go figure), but have always had a love for writing. After reading When and Where I Enter as a teen and becoming a staff writer for my high school newspaper, I aspired to be the managing editor of Essence. I’ve worked with a number of publications: The Charlotte Observer, Army Times Publishing, USA Today, and the Lexington Herald Leader. I’ve also closed-captioned television shows, and worked as a traffic manager with WDKY-Fox 56, but this is my first venture into book publishing.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?

To commemorate my 50th birthday this year, I plan to get my first tattoo.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

The last non-UPK book I read was Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. I’m currently reading her book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. She is a fearless beast of a writer—I love her work!

What’s your favorite song to sing at karaoke and why?

Surprisingly I’ve never done karaoke but if presented with the opportunity, I would probably choose a song by Journey.

Name three things you can’t live without.

A never-ending flow of iced tea (half-sweetened / half-unsweetened), lip gloss, and hugs and kisses from my kids, Shelby (13) and William Avery (11).

If you could have dinner with any three people—dead or alive, famous or not—who would it be and why?

My late grandparents (Mary Adair Woods and Rodney T. Woods, Sr.), Oprah Winfrey, and Idris Elba, because…well, have you seen Idris Elba?!

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