Tag Archives: University Press

National Eat What You Want Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

May 11th is National Eat What You Want Day! To celebrate, here are some sweet recipes from a few of our featured cookbooks. Check them out to find recipes for more tasty treats to enjoy all year long!

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book by Jennie C. Benedict

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book is one of the iconic texts in Kentucky’s illustrious cookbook history—and few states have produced as many fine collections of recipes. In this sparkling lineup of food stars, none outshone Miss Jennie. She had it all: the kitchen touch, the business sense, the communication skills, the personality. Kentucky is renowned as a fountainhead of superior cookery in no small part because of Jennie C. Benedict’s impact in the food world generations ago. [… ] A timely collection…. Comprehensive, concise and easy-to-use recipes [offer] more than just a bit of Kentucky flavor.” —John Egerton, author of Generations

Bourbon Desserts by Lynn Marie Hulsman

“For home cooks who like a cookbook that tells stories as well as it instructs, this is an excellent work. Both effective and entertaining, Bourbon Desserts is highly practical—welcoming to the amateur cook while challenging enough for the skilled cook.

A delicious and evocative exploration of the delights of Bourbon and all it’s many culinary uses. Ms. Hulsman speaks from the heart with a passion for her subject that only a true Kentuckian could. The recipes are as mouthwatering as they are informative and had me heading for the kitchen, bourbon in hand, after the very first chapter.” —Michael Harwood, The Guild of Food Writers (UK)

The Dessert Book by Duncan Hines

“A classic selection of dessert recipes from Duncan Hines’ private collection, ranging from cakes and biscuits, to soufflés, puddings, and cheese desserts.” —Maggie Green, author of The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook

Happy Kentucky Derby Day!

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

It’s the first Saturday in May, which means it’s Kentucky Derby Day! To celebrate the 148th Run for the Roses, the University Press of Kentucky is proud to present four titles that delve into the history and the grand tradition of Thoroughbred racing.

The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America’s Premier Sporting Event by James C. Nicholson

“Many books have been published about the Kentucky Derby that deal with elements of the race such as the horses, jockeys, owners, and trainers. This book is much more than that—it places the Derby within the history of the Commonwealth and in the broader context of American culture.” —John Kleber, editor of The Kentucky Encyclopedia

“Nicholson has done a masterful job of researching the historical events that made the Derby the enthralling and significant event it is. You may never get to experience the thrill of entering the winners’ circle and smelling the wonderful aroma that emanates from the garland of roses that signifies the greatest achievement in the sport of Thoroughbred racing, but this wonderful book will take you on a journey that gets you as close as any piece of writing possibly could.” —Chris McCarron, two-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame inductee, from the foreword

The Kentucky Mint Julep by Joe Nickell

“Nickell gives us the history and lore of the beverage as well as a travel guide to Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. He adds plenty of recipes, both traditional and modern, and even a page for writing your own.” —Bloomsbury Review

“Presents information you will find nowhere else… The recipes run from the basic to fancy ones using champagne or added flavors, making it a great resource for entertaining. Any fan of the derby or mint juleps will find this book a charming addition to their shelf.” —Horse-Races.net

Racing for America: The Horse Race of the Century and the Redemption of a Sport by James C. Nicholson

“James Nicholson’s Racing for America is a captivating exploration of a critical moment in American racing and how a match race run nearly a century ago influences our era of horse racing. He weaves together the disparate forces and personalities that come together to bring post-war America the diversion of the Old World versus the New, and, in the process, creates a portrait of a sport overcoming its near-death experience to rival baseball for America’s favorite sport. Come for the story of this legendary horse race and stay for an engrossing examination of how modern spectacles like the Breeder’s Cup came to be.” —Jennifer S. Kelly, author of Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown

“Nicholson once again has discerned and described the many ways the sport of Thoroughbred racing can respond to, reflect, and perhaps even advance American attitudes and ambitions. He provides another highly intriguing and lively narrative which will grasp and entertain readers, whether new to the subject of racing or already familiar with the historic sport.” —Edward L. Bowen, author of 22 books on Thoroughbred racing

The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy by Pellom McDaniels III

“We have waited a long time for a scholar to pull together the story of Isaac Murphy and nineteenth-century American and Kentucky life with the exquisite interpretation that Pellom McDaniels offers in this manuscript… This work is path-breaking for the detailed study it offers into the texture and layers of life in Lexington, particularly black Lexington, during the post-Civil War decades and into the Gilded Age.” —Maryjean Wall, author of How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders

“A persuasive blend of storytelling and historical analysis, this is an enlightening account for horsemen, sports lovers, and historians of post Reconstruction-era American race relations. Pellom McDaniels’ success is that he brings into sharp relief the devolving social and cultural context of African-American jockey Isaac Burns Murphy’s childhood, apprenticeship, and career. The author convinces the reader of Murphy’s personal discipline and singular achievements—enabled despite an increasingly hostile environment by the support of family and the larger African-American community’s commitment to the project of self-advancement.” —Myra Young Armstead, Bard College

Teacher’s Day 2022

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University of Kentucky

May 3rd is Teacher’s Day! The University Press of Kentucky would like to thank teachers everywhere for all that they do to educate and inspire our kids. None of us would be where we are today with the teachers in our lives.

To celebrate, here are a few titles focused on the history (and future!) of education in Kentucky.

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, edited by Gerald L. Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel and John A. Hardin

“Comprehensive and scholarly in scope, this tome is a model for future single-volume reference works about African Americans…. This work will be the standard on the subject and deserves consideration not only in Kentucky libraries but also in any setting where there is interest about African American history.” Library Journal

“Drawing inspiration from an African American teacher in Logan County, KY, who when called upon to teach a Kentucky history class in the 1930s lamented that not one of the textbooks referenced the contributions of African Americans, series editors Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel, and John A. Hardin spent over a decade bringing this rich collection to print…. This is an important reference source that other states should emulate.” —Library Journal Best Print Reference

Tales From Kentucky One-Room School Teachers by William Lynwood Montell

“One-room schools once provided education to a majority of Kentucky citizens, and Montell’s book relates the characteristics and attitudes of those involved. It’s entertaining collection of memories allows the individual voices of the teachers to be heard once more.” Freda Klotter, teacher and co-author of A Concise History of Kentucky

“With the memories of one room schools fading as the number of individuals who experiences them first hand decreases, Tales from Kentucky One-Room School Teachers preserves a meaningful record for future generations of education’s evolution and life in general during this unique time.” —Manchester Enterprise

A History of Education in Kentucky by William E. Ellis

A History of Education in Kentucky is a comprehensive guide to the history of Kentucky schools, delving into the social, economic, and political factors that shaped their development. Ellis’s volume is a needed addition to literature on Kentucky’s history, providing a valuable account of events and decisions in Kentucky education, but also serving as an important resource for future educators and administrators.” —Kentucky Retired Teacher Association News

“Supplemented by published scholarship, oral history interviews, and personal experiences as a Kentucky educator, Professor William Ellis has provided a valuable history of the achievements and challenges connected with the Commonwealth’s schools and colleges from 1770 to the 21st century. A thoughtful, scholarly narrative with informed commentary, this study provides a long-needed, thorough and perceptive understanding of the history of Kentucky education.” —John A. Hardin, author of Fifty Years of Segregation: Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1904–1954

Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place by Jack R. Baker and Jeffery Bilbro

“Baker and Bilbro have written a thoughtful treatise about conceptualizing and implementing education as grounded, embedded wisdom formation rather than as instruction in dislocated knowledge acquisition. The primary enticement of this text is the interweaving of Wendell Berry’s poetry, fiction, and non-fiction writings into the process. This is a text for educators and citizens willing to take a hard look at current higher education’s pedagogical proclivities and ask whether we might not often be increasing socio-cultural harm rather than promoting good when we do not encourage that learning be tied to the particularity of place. Baker and Bilbro have written this work hoping to increase focus on learning that emphasizes social stability over social itinerancy.” —International Journal of Christianity & Education

“A masterful argument. Baker and Bilbro have given us a brilliant companion to Berry’s work that will guide readers—students, parents, professors, and administrators—to rethink educational values and institutional trajectories.” —Morris A. Grubbs, editor of Conversations with Wendell Berry

Arbor Day 2022

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

April 29th is Arbor Day! To celebrate, here are a few titles focused on the history and conservation of the beautiful trees of the Bluegrass.

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville: A Botanical Field Guide by Patricia Dalton Haragon

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville will take its place as an important contribution to the botany of the region, spotlighting the flora of a biologically and historically rich set of municipal parks, researched and presented by one of the very best botanists in the state.” —Rob Paratley, curator of the University of Kentucky Herbarium

“I admired Pat Haragan’s desire to awaken in others a love of plants—’key it, know it, name it and understand why it grows here. Then come back next year and notice how it’s grown, how far it’s spread. And most importantly why is it here? Tell me about the environment.’ She’s at it again with her botanical guide of the Olmsted Parks. It will be used far and wide among all ages of budding botanists. Pat continues to be a great teacher. Congratulations to photographers Susan Wilson and Chris Bidwell as well. Your photographs capture details that give amateur plant lovers confidence in sharing plant names they’ve learned using this incredible resource.” —Mary Witt, University of Kentucky Horticulturist

Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass by Tim Kimmerer

“While deeply grounded in science, this book is written with a general audience in mind. It is easy to understand and filled with interesting information and stories, plus useful maps, illustrations and dozens of Kimmerer’s beautiful photographs of the trees… Venerable Trees will likely become a classic among books about Kentucky’s natural history and environment, because it covers so much new information in such an accessible way… [T]his book will give you a greater appreciation of Kentucky’s oldest living residents.” —Lexington Herald-Leader

“This beautifully illustrated book offers guidelines for conserving ancient trees worldwide while educating readers about their life cycle. [It] is an informative call to understand the challenges faced by the companions so deeply rooted in the region’s heritage and a passionate plea for their preservation.” —Greater Louisville Sierra Club

Trees & Shrubs of Kentucky by Mary E. Wharton & Roger W. Barbour

“Indispensable… An outstanding series of illustrations.” —Choice

National Great Poetry Reading Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press Kentucky

April 28th is National Great Poetry Reading Day! To celebrate, here are a few titles from our poetry collection that we think you’ll love.

The Girl Singer: Poems by Marianne Worthington

“Lit up and melancholy, these poems inhabit and reanimate the old songs, the ballads and fiddle tunes of the original mountain music that has no beginning and shows no sign of ending soon. Murder ballads, roaming, and redemption are all here with pining refrain. But then the book opens like a dogwood blossom to capture the music of childhood and family, as if a life of learning and wonder, love and loss is bounded by song. And so it is. These poems hit the ear like rain on a tin roof and summon a world that’s heartfelt and true, because the things of that world, from the human music right down to the birds, belong to each other and to the wondrous world itself.” —Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter and One Man’s Dark

The Girl Singer is a praise song, love song, rage song, ballad, recitative, and lament for early country music singers costumed, renamed, packaged, and sold; for the poet’s mother, who filmed a teenage Dolly Parton singing in a gas station parking lot; the poet’s father, caught in paralysis and a fading mind; for the musicians—country and soul—who were the soundtrack of her growing up; and for the glory of being in the audience at the Ryman when Bobby Bare kissed Marty Stuart. Worthington reclaims these beloveds, along with her “maternal people” and her grandmothers, with whom she is “encircled now, all / living together.” She restores her parents to their beginning—and hers—as we go with them to the Opry on their honeymoon. Through multiple forms—fixed and invented—she renders these moments. And by turns her singing words dazzle and cleave our hearts.” —George Ella Lyon, former Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015–2016) and author of Back to the Light

The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry, edited by Julia Johnson

“Poetry is obliged to prove again and again that beauty may arrive from moments that are not pretty, just as grief may lead us to discover profound love. These are truths I’ve always taken from Jane Gentry’s poetry, and now, in this final collection of her work, one sees her long effort has been one of discovery and candor, to push through ordinary loss and the stinging shortness of life, in order to find the moments that endure or flash-out trying to endure. Here, without decoration or fanfare, is a gorgeous body of work wholly integrated to tell it like it is, without—and this is the heart-rending grace note—complaint. As Jane Gentry observes in one of the Late Poems in this collection, ‘A poem is a bird that flies on many wings.’ She’s right about that, and here is a lovely book filled with many birds and their poignant flights. What a treasure this is.” —Maurice Manning, author of One Man’s Dark and The Common Man, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

“Reading through her collected poems, I am again reminded that Jane Gentry was not only a master poet—but also a master teacher. The poems here, each sophisticated, precise, carefully composed, teach us how to be in the world, no matter if walking among Kentucky flowers or the fountains of Jardin du Luxembourg. In this collection, Jane continues to hold the lantern, leading us to dark well of the past, urging us to look down so that we may see our authentic lives shimmering on the water’s surface.” —Kathleen Driskell, author of Next Door to the Dead: Poems

A Girl’s Gun: Poems by Rachel Danielle Peterson

“Rachel Danielle Peterson’s collection, A Girl’s A Gun, reads as part tall tale, part bildungsroman, part geode. These are poems meant to be enclosed in a palm and pressed against the heart. Peterson’s strengths are in her cinematic depictions of women, her vibrant imagery, and the precision with which she code-switches into the tongue of the mountains. The heady combination leaves the reader a bit breathless and we plummet with her into a line that feels like proverb, such as in ‘Birthday,’ ‘The heart is cruel/an organ with no song.’ These poems do not balk at their own content, circling around love that is tough or risky or absent or misplaced. They press on, lead the way, suggest that there’s no way around but through.” —Bianca Lynne Spriggs, author of Call Her by Her Name: Poems and The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor and coeditor of Undead: Ghouls, Ghosts, and More and Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets

“With a mouth full of sticky mountain laurel, Appalachian soul liquor, exclamatory verve, iconoclastic Biblical gospel, and tender purchase, Rachel Peterson’s A Girl’s A Gun cross-talks with a prodigious and prodigal personal and poetic tribe that includes family members, figures from mythology, Jeanne d’Arc, Apollinaire, and a host of hymns and rock ballads. ‘Home is in the vocal chords— / the sound,’ she writes in ‘Harlan County.’ By turns vernacular and soaring with lyricism, Peterson’s foray into the emotional violence, Eros, and beauty of the places that hold us, and that we hold inside, evokes another American innovator, Emily Dickinson, who not only felt her life to be a loaded gun but who also, like Peterson, puts language under such unique psychological pressure that it almost seems to be its own tongue.” —Lisa Russ Spaar, author of Vanitas, Rough and Orexia

When Winter Come: The Ascension of York by Frank X Walker

“When Winter Come is an astonishing collection of poems that ushers Frank X Walker into the company of other memorable poets like Roethke, Hugo, Clifton, and Dove but he also recollects the powerful narrative voice of Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter or Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Frank X Walker magically captures York, not the flat historical figure represented in Lewis & Clark’s journals—Walker has tapped into the true voice of York and conjured him on the page. This is not just a book of poems—this is a book of spirits and shimmering apparitions.”—Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red

“Beginning with Buffalo Dance and continuing with the groundbreaking When Winter Come, Frank X Walker’s lyrical and stunning resurrection of York is an unparalleled creative discourse. The poet, in stanzas probing and revelatory, opens the slave’s life wide, not examining York as much as inhabiting him, laying bare the complications, frailties and triumphs that history dims and denies. There is much here that we do not know, and we are blessed that it is Walker who has taken on this chronicle of York’s ‘other life’—with the same unflinching passion, the same deft characterization and the same undeniable courage.”—Patricia Smith, author of Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the National Poetry Series

Next Door to the Dead: Poems by Kathleen Driskell

“I’ve always loved Keats’s phrase “the mighty dead,” but I never understood it fully until I read Kathleen Driskell’s quietly explosive meditations on life and death. There’s a somber beauty to these poems; in them, the dead and living visit each other easily, singing of the rich mysteries on both sides of the divide.” —David Kirby

“With Next Door to the Dead, Kathleen Driskell has written her path to the Kentuckian sublime. And she has found her own access to the many ghosts of the south there, and has bodied those ghosts forth in poems that are heartbreaking, wary, and local in the best sense—she sees the world in the local, and communicates the world faithfully, one life at a time, giving a voice to everyone from a Egyptologist who has been abandoned in death by their soul, to Wanda, ‘who, were she still / living, might have said, / ‘if I hadn’t answered the call, / would I still be dead?'” —Shane McCrae, Spalding University and Oberlin College

Meet the Press: Patty Weber, Production and Publishing Services Manager

Name: Patty Weber

Position: Production and Service Center Manager

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Social Media Handles: @bookswrangler on Twitter

Alma mater; major; minor: B.A. in Art History from Goucher College; MLA in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University


Tell us a little bit about your position at UPK.

I head up the Production department, and the soon-to-be-launched Publishing Services Center. Production is what happens at the end of the process of getting the book published: doing the typesetting, designing the cover, and getting the book printed and shipped. The Publishing Services Center offers all kinds of solutions to different kinds of projects, from journals to logo design to one-off special printings.

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

I got caught up reading Kentucky Heirloom Seeds by Bill Best and Dobree Adams when I was checking a book proof; it sucked me in!

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 am a newcomer to Kentucky; I’m the one who needs the tour guide!

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

I love Doves Type, for the amazing story behind it.

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

When I was a kid, I wanted to be the person who names the Crayola colors.

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

I collect pins! I have a bunch of brooches – some old, some new, some pretty, and some just wacky.

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

I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik after it sat in my To-Read pile for a while, and I love it! It has a classic fairytale or folklore kind of flavor, and I couldn’t put it down.

If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Do you have a personal motto?

A positive attitude can be the secret to success. My motto is “It’s going to be great!”

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

I still think it would be fun to name the Crayola colors.

patty weber

 

 

This #GivingTuesday, #GiveUPK

As the year end approaches, we are looking back on the many moments of celebration of the 75th anniversary of the University Press of Kentucky, the nonprofit publisher for a consortium of fifteen universities, colleges, and two major historical societies in the state. We’ve been proud to host author readings, an open house, special events at regional conferences, and an exhibit of books and materials from the Press’s first 75 years. We’ve been fortunate to hire our first in-house book designer in 20 years and to establish a new trade imprint. More meaningful than anything else, however, has been the outpouring of support from citizens all across the Commonwealth. Your letters, emails, and phone calls sent the message that the Press has been doing something very special for 75 years—recording and uncovering Kentucky’s history, culture, and heritage for readers today and for generations to come.

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At the moment of this milestone anniversary, we at the Press bring a renewed sense of energy and purpose to our role as a connector: each day we strive to connect people, ideas, institutions, and projects. We look outward to this evolving world of learning and communication, seeking the ways in which we can be a part of key conversations and the development of important ideas. Through the books we publish, we hope to document, inspire, and encourage exploration of topics and events, whether across the globe or on our native patch of soil.

This year we are delighted to be a part of Giving Tuesday. We ask you to celebrate #GivingTuesday with us by continuing to support the Press with a financial contribution to the University Press Enrichment Fund. As our anniversary year draws to a close, we are busily planning the books and projects that will shape our organization in the decades to come. There is so much exciting work ahead. And through your contributions, you will keep the University Press of Kentucky growing and thriving.

With gratitude,

Leila W. Salisbury
Director

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Meet the Press: Kayla Coco, Marketing Intern

Name: Kayla Coco-Stotts

Position: Marketing Intern

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Alma mater; major; minor: University of Kentucky; B.A. in Print Journalism; Communication minor (December 2018)


Why should students be interested in their local university press?

I believe that students should be interested in their local university press because there is so much culture and accomplishment within university presses that I think is somewhat overlooked. I heard about UPK my freshman year of college and knew I always wanted to intern here, but so many others haven’t had the chance to learn about the amazing work UPK does for the Commonwealth. Students especially are able to learn so much from UPK; it’s like having a library of amazing authors, reads, and resources right on campus.

Why should students support their university press? How are some ways to support the press?

Students should support their university presses because they’re in need of our support! Even just sharing social media, buying UPK books, or going to events that feature UPK authors stimulates the marketplace of ideas and keeps the local book culture thriving within the universities.

What have you learned during your time here, and how will you use the skills you gained as you start a career, further your education, etc.?

I’ve learned how to craft a press kit and the true meaning of marketing. I never thought I would see myself enjoying the marketing side of publishing, but it is truly rewarding to excited people about the projects we’re working on. I’ve already been thankful enough to use the skills I’ve obtained here to set up a job when I graduate.

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

Mend: Poems by Kwoya Fagin Maples was amazing, heartfelt, and conveyed a level of anguish that I could never imagine being strong enough to experience. I also really loved Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master by Gwenda Young because it gave me an opportunity to learn about an age of Hollywood that I’ve just not taken the time to understand before.

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them?

Actually, I’m from St. Louis originally so I’ve kind of become an unofficial tour guide for Lexington (I’m still waiting for my name tag to come in…I’m sure they’re sending it any day now). I always take people on a long walk around UK’s campus because I think it’s gorgeous, as well as downtown to some of my favorite restaurants and bars, like West Main Crafting Co. and Buddha Lounge. Breakfast? Josie’s for sure. Needing some lunch? Let’s head to Planet Thai! Can you tell I love food?

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

Growing up I was very driven and academically successful, and I always heard, “You’re going to be a doctor someday,” from relatives. When I started at UK, I began in biosystems engineering, but doing something I could do versus something I wanted to do was entirely different. After a quick Google search and some encouragement from friends, I switched to journalism and decided to intern at UPK during my first semester. I have always loved books, and being a book editor is what I used to tell people I would do, “when I grow up.”

What was the last book you read?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Rules of Magic: A Novel by Alice Hoffman. Both are amazing books!

Name three things you can’t live without.

My dogs, sweatshirts, and dry shampoo

If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Do you have a personal motto?

Just do what you love. People always are going to say, “life’s too short,” but life can get pretty long and dull when you’re stuck doing something you don’t really enjoy, whether that be in a professional or personal environment. Oh, and while you’re still in high school, get a credit card, only use it to buy gas, and always make payments on time.

What’s your favorite word?

Sonder: the realization that each random passerby is living a life as complex and vivid as your own.

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

I try to be as conscious as I can about living a minimal waste lifestyle by avoiding plastic containers or cups and avoiding using more than I need.

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

Abraham Lincoln, Stephen King, and Malcolm X.

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

Andy Lassner, the executive producer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, because I love a good scare and I think Ellen and I would be great pals.

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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: Natalie O’Neal, Acquisitions Assistant

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Name: Natalie O’Neal
Position: Acquisitions Assistant
Hometown: Hot Springs, AR

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

I assist Anne Dean Dotson and Melissa Hammer in acquisitions by securing peer reviewers for potential projects and working with authors during the submission process.

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

Bourbon Desserts by Lynn Marie Hulsman (for obvious reasons).

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.?

Well since I just moved here in January, I’m probably not the best person to answer this question. Some of my favorite activities so far have been hiking around the Red River Gorge and Raven Run and tasting the local fare. Who knew Kentucky had such good BBQ? I took my most recent visitor to West Sixth Brewing and then out to eat at County Club (a favorite in the acquisitions department). We also visited Woodford Distillery which was a big hit!

What’s your favorite word?

Ineffable

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

Georgia: A layout designer at the newspaper I used to work at told me it was the “most elegant font for paper,” and I have never thought otherwise.Georgia

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?

Ha! I wanted to be a National Geographic photo journalist when I was a kid. Also, a hot air balloonist and marine biologist (until I job shadowed someone at the local fish hatchery). But my real passion has always been for books. I lucked out and found my way into publishing during grad school.

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

I’ve interviewed Colin Mochrie from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Buddy Valastro from Cake Boss.

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

Can I bring an author to life? Because I would bring Jane Austen back to life. If not, I’ll settle for Elizabeth Bennet.

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

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. Yes—this book resonated and echoed deep within me. I have never seen aspects of womanhood so artfully and heart-brokenly articulated.

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

Only the best song ever written—Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood’s job on The Great British Baking Show. Tasting breads and sweet treats for a living? Sign me up!