Tag Archives: UPK75

Meet the Press: Katie Cross Gibson, Direct Promotions and Exhibits Manager

Welcome to the first installment of our Meet the Press blog series! To read the series introduction from last week, click on the Meet the Press picture below.

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Name: Katie Cross Gibson
Position: Direct Promotions and Exhibits Manager
Hometown: Science Hill, KY
Alma mater(s); major(s), minor(s): University of Kentucky; B.A. in English, Psychology minor
Social media: @KRC_Gee on Twitter

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Tell us a little bit about what you do at the press.

I handle exhibits. In short, this means that whenever we go to conferences, meetings, and fairs to display or sell books, I register for our booth and ensure that we bring the proper titles and materials (banners, tables, bookends, etc.). On the direct promotions side, I create ads, oversee the production of catalogs, coordinate mailings, and assist with social media and newsletters.

Additionally, I help manage our internship program and the interns’ participation in the Social Media Smackdown competition, and I’ll often lend a hand in carrying out special events. One of my favorite aspects of this position is the variety of it—I always have numerous irons in the fire, and I’m always learning new things.

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

I’d probably have to say 2009’s What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets, an anthology edited by Jeff Worley. If you’re not familiar with Kentucky’s poetry scene, this book will introduce you to some of the big names. There are a handful of poems and a short bio for each poet featured, so it gives you a good sense of each person’s style. I actually won my personal copy in a giveaway at a hometown senior send-off before I matriculated to UK!

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you dream about having a certain career as an adult?

I spent most of my formative years aspiring to be a teacher. When I was very young, I did have the vaguest idea of the trade publishing industry—I thought it was the hip career path to follow if you lived in a “faraway” place like New York City. One of my closest friends and I fantasized we’d grow up to work on a magazine like American Girl, and we’d make-believe sharing an apartment in NYC and commuting to our office on Vespas.

As a girl living in a small town in southeastern/southcentral Kentucky, working in publishing didn’t seem like it could become my own reality until over a decade later. During my college years, I was fortunate enough that a peer mentor mentioned her own internship at UPK. I wound up interning here twice and gained experience in marketing and acquisitions. I owe a lot to those who took the time to offer their advice and experience, and so part of my own mission is to give back—to help others realize that their dream is attainable and that working in scholarly publishing is a path they can pursue, too.

If you were tasked with being a tour guide to someone who had never visited Kentucky before, where in the state would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

Oh, this is a toughie, so I’ll keep it to Lexington! Perhaps we’d go to POPS Resale, ALL of the local bookstores, the UK Art Museum, Charlie Brown’s, the Carnegie Center for a reading, Coffea for a skillet fudge latte, the KY for KY Fun Mall, Street Scene, and SQecial Media—not necessarily in that order.

What’s your favorite word?

Bless (as in a shortened version of “bless their heart”)

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

Palatino Linotype—it’s like a more sophisticated but easier-going version of Times New Roman.Palatino Linotype

What’s something most people don’t know about you or a random factoid about yourself that you would like to share?

I am a first-generation college graduate from (the outskirts of) Appalachia who writes poetry.

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

I recently finished Becoming Unbecoming by Una, and I’d certainly recommend it. It chronicles Una’s life as an English girl growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and it masterfully weaves the story of the Yorkshire Ripper into what’s happening to Una. I think it adds a lot to the current conversations surrounding sexual harassment, assault, and rape and how they affect (and have been affecting) women, girls, and society. The illustrations can be so quietly moving and complement the story so wonderfully.

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

Because I can’t choose just one, here are a handful of dynamic duos: Sheila and Margaux from How Should a Person Be?, Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane from Daria, and Willow Rosenberg and Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Do you have a personal motto?

I do indeed, and as I am somewhat of a Beatlemaniac, it’s a couple of lines from “Hey Jude” that particularly resonate: “For well you know that it’s a fool / who plays it cool / by making his world / a little colder.”

 

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UPK75: 75 Years of the University Press of Kentucky

The word “exhibit” usually has a very specific connotation to those in the UP world. Exhibits are events—conferences, book fairs, craft markets, etc.—where publishers rent space to display and/or sell their titles. Some exhibits are geared toward selling books directly to the public, and your booth might be behind a chocolatier’s and across from a painter’s. Others occur during academic conferences and are primarily for meeting with potential authors and scholars in the field.

However, just a few short weeks ago, we were tasked with preparing for an exhibit of another sort—a showcase of our institutional history. We won’t dive too deep into the details in this post—if you missed our latest entry about the exhibit and other 75th anniversary initiatives, you can find it here—but the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning graciously partnered with us, lending us space in their second floor foyer to erect a display commemorating the past 75 years.

UPK75 debuted two weeks ago during the May LexArts Gallery Hop. Despite the rain, there was a wonderful turnout, and we were happy to share a night of celebration and camaraderie with our loved ones, fellow staff members (past and present), authors, and community partners.

If you weren’t able to make it to the Carnegie Center for the UPK75 opening, you missed out on a special night, but not to fear—the exhibit will remain on display through early July. We encourage you to stop by the Carnegie during its business hours to take a look in person.

And if you live too far away to make the trek to Lexington, you’re in luck, as we’ve captured a few of the evening’s highlights in the slideshow below.

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Thanks again to those who helped make this exhibit possible, as well as our Gallery Hop reception attendees and everyone who has visited the display. Our 75th anniversary celebration is far from over, though, so make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on UPK events and happenings!

2018 Judy Gaines Young Literary Awards

 

This year marked the fourth annual presentation of the Judy Gaines Young Book Award since its generous foundation by Dr. Byron Young, a trustee of Transylvania University, to honor his late wife. The award is presented to a writer from the Appalachian region for a book of particular distinction. Crystal Wilkinson won the award in 2017 for her book Birds of Opulence, a title published by the Press.

This year’s winner, judged by Jason Howard, editor of Appalachian Heritage, was none other than UPK author and best-selling poet Kathleen Driskell for her poetry collection, Next Door to the Dead: Poems.

The ceremony also featured the presentation of the Judy Gaines Young Student Writing Award, an award honoring the exceptional creative writing abilities of a Transylvania student. Laura Daley, a senior at Transylvania University and former UPK intern, won the award for her outstanding work in creative nonfiction and poetry, excerpts of which she read at the event.

Also in attendance were two former Kentucky poets laureate, a member of the board of the Kentucky Humanities Council, and several members of UPK staff.

By happy coincidence, the presentation of these prestigious awards fell on World Poetry Day (21 March 2018), and we were thrilled to celebrate the day with two such phenomenal poets!

Next Door to the Dead: Poems is a collection inspired by author Kathleen Driskell’s residence in a disused Louisville, Kentucky church built before the Civil War sitting next to a cemetery. The poems examine the fragility of mortality, the complexity of grief, and the importance of love when confronting loss. Her words breathe life into figures both known and unknown who have long since passed away, reimagining who they might have been based on what they left behind, and encouraging readers to ponder their own complex relationship with death, mourning, and life.

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Kathleen Driskell read several poems from her collection, including “Ars Poetica”, “The Mower”, and “Tchaenhotep: Mummy at the Kentucky Science Center” . Her reading was followed by a short Q&A session, in which she discussed her writing process, her experiences living beside a graveyard, and what projects she is currently undertaking.

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Laura read a memoir and two poems from her repertoire, and all three truly captures the spirit of living in Kentucky, from the beautiful moments spent in nature to the horrifying moments of watching your cousin bite off a snake’s head (yikes!) Her work emphasized the importance of family, and the feeling of belonging somewhere.

Laura Daley has been accepted with funding into the graduate programs of both DePaul University and University of Colorado Boulder. We can’t wait to see what this promising young writer (and former Press member) has in store for the future!

Kathleen is professor of creative writing at Spalding University, and associate editor of the Louisville Review. She has written several books and poetry collections, including Blue Etiquette and Seed Across Snow. To learn more about Kathleen Driskell and her work, check out her blog, and be sure to snag a copy of Next Door to the Dead.

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