Tag Archives: Silas House

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.

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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!

Stuff you Should Know: Mountaintop Removal Mining and Appalachia

It’s no secret that Mountaintop Removal Mining is a hot-button topic in Appalachia, but many people (especially those not living in the region) don’t understand the process behind it or the raging debate happening in the mountains and the courthouses. The Stuff You Should Know Podcast from How Stuff Works has put all of it together in their most recent episode: “What is Mountaintop Removal Mining?“(featuring Kentucky musician and cellist Ben Sollee!)

Listen here: What is Mountaintop Removal Mining? from the Stuff You Should Know Podcast at HowStuffWorks.com

and check out these titles from UPK that tackle the topic of Mountaintop Removal Mining:

Now in Paperback!

978-0-8131-3383-6

$19.95

Something’s Rising collects oral histories from a diverse group of individuals from Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Virginia who are fighting mountaintop removal, an ecologically devastating form of coal mining. Taken together, these voices stand as a testament of what it means to be an Appalachian and demonstrate the value of preserving a culture’s history and spirit through the stories of its people. The authors have chosen twelve unique voices including Jean Ritchie, the “mother of folk,” who doesn’t let her eighty-six years slow down her fighting spirit; Judy Bonds, a tough-talking coal miner’s daughter; Kathy Mattea, the beloved country singer who believes that cooperation is the key to the battle; Larry Bush, who doesn’t back down even when speeding coal trucks are used to intimidate him; and Denise Giardina, the West Virginia writer who ran for governor to bring attention to the mountaintop removal issue. Written and edited by native sons of the mountains, these riveting, personal stories are captured in an original and highly readable book.

Silas House is a bestselling novelist of Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo, whose nonfiction has been published in Newsday, Sierra, The Oxford American, No Depression, and elsewhere. In 2008 he won the Helen Lewis Award for Community Service for his efforts in the fight against mountaintop removal.

Jason Howard is the editor of We All Live Downstream and has written for such publications as Equal Justice Magazine, Paste, Kentucky Living, The Louisville Review, and many others.

“This revelatory work is a challenging tocsin shouting out the effects of poverty and exploitations of the Appalachian people by strip miners and other corporate pirates. I am reminded of the fighting spirit of the Eastern Kentuckians when I visited these embattled pioneers in their hills and hollers. Here, Jean Ritchie and others speak out in the fighting tradition of the 1930s and 1960s. It is oral history at its best.”—Studs Terkel

978-0-8131-2441-4

$30.00

In late 1994, wells in Pie, West Virginia, began to go dry, leaving many residents of the small coal-mining town without potable water. When local housewife Trish Bragg made a few phone calls in an effort to solve this problem, she had no idea that her inquiries would eventually lead to her becoming the named plaintiff in a major lawsuit, a summa cum laude college graduate, and a hero of her community. Moving Mountains recounts the struggle of Trish Bragg and other ordinary West Virginians for fair treatment by the coal companies that dominate the local economies of southern West Virginia. The collateral effects of mountaintop removal, deep mining, and other mining practices are felt most profoundly in the communities that supply much of the labor for these mining operations, which results in divided loyalties among families that have made their living from coal mining for generations. Author Penny Loeb spent nine years chronicling the triumphs and setbacks of people in the West Virginia coalfields–people caught between the economic opportunities provided by coal and the detriments to health and to quality of life that are so often the by-products of the coal industry. The result of her work is an account of the human and environmental costs of coal extraction, and the inspirational grassroots crusade to mitigate those costs.

“Loeb, a former senior editor for U.S. News and World Reports, is cautious and sensitive in her portrayals of the individuals and incidents depicted in [Moving Mountains]. She balances extrapolations of the technical details and reasons for the lawsuits with well-documented information concerning local residents’ cultural and emotional struggles, some of whom had generations of employment by the coal industry…[Loeb] provides a thorough, analytical account of the complexity of the situation as it evolved and the emotional turmoil.” — Appalachian Journal


978-0-8131-9187-4

$30.00

The Dreiser Committee, including writers Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, and Sherwood Anderson, investigated the desperate situation of striking Kentucky miners in November 1931. When the Communist-led National Miners Union competed against the more conservative United Mine Workers of America for greater union membership, class resentment turned to warfare. Harlan Miners Speak, originally published in 1932, is an invaluable record that illustrates the living and working conditions of the miners during the 1930s. This edition of Harlan Miners Speak, with a new introduction by noted historian John C. Hennen, offers readers an in-depth look at a pivotal crisis in the complex history of this controversial form of energy production.

Harlan Miners Speak is an important testament to the hardships endured by miners and their families during the turbulent and poverty-ridden era of the Great Depression. The words of those miners are loud and clear in this volume, and they are worth hearing again.” —Modern Mountain Magazine

Available in paperback!

978-0-8131-9244-4

$17.95

In 1995, Chris Holbrook burst onto the southern literary scene with Hell and Ohio: Stories of Southern Appalachia, stories that Robert Morgan described as “elegies for land and lives disappearing under mudslides from strip mines and new trailer parks and highways.” Now, with the publication of Upheaval, Holbrook more than answers the promise of that auspicious debut. In eight interrelated stories set in Eastern Kentucky, Holbrook again captures a region and its people as they struggle in the face of poverty, isolation, change, and the devastation of land and resources at the hands of the coal and timber industries. Written with a gritty, unflinching realism reminiscent of the work of Larry Brown and Cormac McCarthy, the stories in Upheaval prove that Holbrook is not only a faithful chronicler and champion of Appalachia’s working poor but also one of the most gifted writers of his generation.

Chris Holbrook, a native of Knott County, Kentucky, received the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing for Hell and Ohio: Stories of Southern Appalachia. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Holbrook is associate professor of English at Morehead State University.

“These eight stories are as finely shaped, and deceptively intricate, as a piece of Shaker furniture…What smolders beneath the surface of these stories is a sea of anxiety and anger, suppressed until the point of, well, upheaval.” —Louisville Courier-Journal

Notes and Memos for March

A few notes for the middle of the week at the end of a fickle, Spring month:

  • A BIG thanks to everyone who participated in our first Free Book of the Month Program! We can see that you enjoyed the title immensely, and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the book as you read. We hope our next title will excite you just as much (keep your eyes peeled 4/1!)
  • If you couldn’t make it to Kentucky Crafted: The Market this year, you missed out on a lot of great, Kentucky Proud vendors, but you can still check out a full listing of our Kentucky/Regional titles online.
  • A few events to pencil in your calendar:
  • New Books you may have missed:

Celebrated as the “Dean of Appalachian Literature,” James Still has won the appreciation of audiences in Appalachia and beyond for more than seventy years. The author of the classics River of Earth (1940) and The Wolfpen Poems (1986), Still is known for his careful prose construction and for the poetry of his meticulous, rhythmic style. Upon his death, however, one manuscript remained unpublished. Still’s friends, family, and fellow writer Silas House will now deliver this story to readers, having assembled and refined the manuscript to prepare it for publication. Chinaberry, named for the ranch that serves as the centerpiece of the story, is Still’s last and perhaps greatest contribution to American literature.

“James Still is a master . . . one who in execution is virtually flawless, in touch and ear so nearly perfect that the difference does not matter.”–Wendell Berry

“. . .There are small nostalgic pleasure to be found in reading this simple story or America.”–Publisher Weekly

When war broke out in Europe in 1914, political leaders in the United States were swayed by popular opinion to remain neutral; yet less than three years later, the nation declared war on Germany. In Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I, Justus D. Doenecke examines the clash of opinions over the war during this transformative period and offers a fresh perspective on America’s decision to enter World War I.

“Doenecke paints intriguing potraits of leading figures, many now abscure, including Franklin Delano and Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan, plus the rich stew of newspapers, magazines, organizations,diplomats, and propagandists who fought over this issue.”–Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“Doenecke untangles and clarifies the national debade in great detail in the dense, well-documented study. It will be of great use to serious students and researchers of the Great War.”–Library Journal

World War II submariners rarely experienced anything as exhilarating or horrifying as the surface gun attack. Between the ocean floor and the rolling whitecaps above, submarines patrolled a dark abyss in a fusion of silence, shadows, and steel, firing around eleven thousand torpedoes, sinking Japanese men-of-war and more than one thousand merchant ships. But the anonymity and simplicity of the stealthy torpedo attack hid the savagery of warfare—a stark difference from the brutality of the surface gun maneuver. As the submarine shot through the surface of the water, confined sailors scrambled through the hatches armed with large-caliber guns and met the enemy face-to-face. Surface and Destroy: The Submarine Gun War in the Pacific reveals the nature of submarine warfare in the Pacific Ocean during World War II and investigates the challenges of facing the enemy on the surface.

“Once again, Professor Sturma has presented a detailed study of a facet of World War II history that has so far received very little attention. His well-researched and very readable work makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of submarine warfare in the Pacific.”–Don Keith, author of War Beneath the Waves: A True Story of Courage and Leadership Aboard a World War II Submarine