UK Happenings

Bestselling novelist, Kentucky Poet Laureate Silas House to deliver UK Libraries' 2024 Prichard Lecture

Silas House
Silas House will speak on the ways in which his literary work addresses environmental, working class and Appalachian issues, and the intersection of LGBTQ+ and rural identities. Photo courtesy of UK Libraries.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 18, 2024) — This week, University of Kentucky Libraries is pleased to welcome Kentucky Poet Laureate and nationally bestselling author Silas House as the featured speaker for the 2024 Edward F. Prichard Lecture.

The author of seven widely-acclaimed and award winning novels, House was honored with the 2021 Governor’s Award for his service to the arts in Kentucky and recognized with the 2022 Duggins Prize, the largest literary award for an LGBTQ+ writer in the United States. His most recent novel, "Lark Ascending," won the 2023 Southern Book Prize.

House will speak on the ways in which his literary work addresses environmental, working class and Appalachian issues, and the intersection of LGBTQ+ and rural identities.

The Prichard Lecture will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in the William T. Young Library Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, and a book signing will be held after the lecture. Seating is limited and RSVPs are required.

Next week, House will be back on campus to do a reading from “Lark Ascending” and a book signing at the UK Lewis Honors College. The event will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, in the Lewis Scholars Lounge. Students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to attend. Representatives from the UK Bookstore will be on site selling copies of “Lark Ascending."

House is the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College and serves on the fiction faculty at the Naslund-Mann School of Creative Writing at Spalding University in Louisville.

His novels include "Clay’s Quilt" (2001), "A Parchment of Leaves" (2003), "The Coal Tattoo" (2005), "Eli the Good" (2009), "Same Sun Here" (2012, co-authored with Neela Vaswani), "Southernmost" (2018) and "Lark Ascending" (2022). He has also written three plays and a book of creative nonfiction, "Something’s Rising" (2009), co-authored with Jason Howard.

House has reached audiences across a variety of media. His essays have appeared in Time, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other publications. He is a former commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” served as the executive producer of the documentary "Hillbilly" and hosts the popular podcast “On the Porch.” House was nominated for a 2024 Grammy for his work as writer, producer and creative director for the music video “In Your Love” by Tyler Childers.

An environmental activist, House has been a vocal opponent of mountaintop removal, and his literary work is known for its attention to the natural world and the plight of rural places and rural people.

House’s music journalism has covered artists such as Kacey Musgraves, Tyler Childers, Lucinda Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Lee Ann Womack, Jason Isbell and many others.

About the Edward F. Prichard Lecture Series
Since its inception in 1977, the Edward F. Prichard Lecture Series has featured nationally acclaimed authors, journalists, historians and public figures. The Prichard Lecture is made possible by an endowment created by Edward F. Prichard, Jr., a New Deal activist who later championed educational change in Kentucky.

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.