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University Press of Kentucky celebrates 2023 Weatherford Award-winning publication

Cover of 'Ginseng Diggers'
“Ginseng Diggers: A History of Root and Herb Gathering in Appalachia” (University Press of Kentucky) has won the 2023 Weatherford Award for best nonfiction.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 30, 2023) — Luke Manget, author of “Ginseng Diggers: A History of Root and Herb Gathering in Appalachia," published by the University Press of Kentucky (UPK) has received the 2023 Weatherford Award for best nonfiction.

Presented annually by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, the Weatherford Awards honor books in fiction, nonfiction and poetry categories that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.”

Manget’s debut book is the first of its kind to unearth the unique relationship between Appalachia and the global trade of medicinal plants. This release provides an extensive addition to the understanding of land use and gathering commons, medicine and capitalism, and the beginnings of the pharmaceutical industry.

“I am so honored to receive the Weatherford Award,” said Manget. “When I wrote ‘Ginseng Diggers,’ I only hoped it would one day be considered for the award. To win it and to be placed alongside some of the great books in Appalachian studies is something that I will always cherish.”

Finalists in the nonfiction category include “Making Our Future: Visionary Folklore & Everyday Culture in Appalachia” by Emily Hilliard; “Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place” by Neema Avashia; and “Something in These Hills: The Culture of Family Land in Southern Appalachia” by John M. Coggeshall.

Luke Manget is assistant professor of history at Dalton State College in Dalton, Georgia. He is a contributor to “Southern Communities: Identity, Conflict, and Memory in the Nineteenth-Century American South,” edited by Steven E. Nash and Bruce E. Stewart.

Released by UPK in March 2022, “Ginseng Diggers” is also the recipient of the 2023 James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award in the Consumer/Popular Category.

“We are thrilled for Luke Manget, and ‘Ginseng Diggers’ is such a deserving book for the Weatherford Award,” said Brooke Raby, sales and marketing director at UPK. “The University Press of Kentucky is devoted to publishing diverse works in Appalachian literature and amplifying the voices of writers in the region. Being honored with this award is gratifying confirmation of the importance of our mission.”

Winners in the other two Weatherford Award categories include Barbara Kingsolver, author of “Demon Copperhead,” for the fiction category, and Annie Woodford’s “Where You Come from is Gone,” for the poetry category.

UPK author Patricia Hudson was a finalist in the fiction category for her title, “Traces: A Novel.”

About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky is the statewide nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Serving all Kentucky state-sponsored institutions of higher learning as well as six private colleges and Kentucky’s two major historical societies, it was organized in 1969 as successor to the University of Kentucky Press. UPK is dedicated to the publication of academic books of high scholarly merit as well as significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.