UK Happenings

'Conversations with Gurney' to Take Place Jan. 27, April 13

photo of Gurney Norman

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 24, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center is pleased to announce that its scholar-in-residence, Gurney Norman, will continue his "Conversations with Gurney" speaker series this spring. The series features premier authors from the Appalachian region.

The series will kick off 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, with Willie Davis, author of the novel "Nightwolf." The event will take place in the Davis Marksbury Building's James F. Hardymon Theater.

A native of Whitesburg, Kentucky, Davis earned graduate degrees in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. He has taught English and creative writing at the University of Maryland, Kentucky State University, Georgetown College and the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. "Nightwolf" is his debut novel, published by 7.13 Books in 2018. 

On April 13, Norman will join Sharon Hatfield and Jack Wright for a conversation that celebrates the Powell Valley of Virginia beginning 5 p.m in the John Jacob Niles Gallery in the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library on campus.

Hatfield is an award-winning journalist and nonfiction writer. Her interest in Appalachian letters and history led to her writing "Never Seen the Moon: The Trials of Edith Maxwell" and coediting "An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature."

Wright is an artist whose work is strongly informed by the culture of the Appalachian mountains. A founding member of the Appalshop media collective in Kentucky, he is an actor, documentary filmmaker and musician whose work has appeared on National Public Radio, PBS, June Appal Recordings and in Hollywood films. 

Videos of previous talks with Gurney Norman, including last semester's conversations with George Ella Lyon and Crystal Wilkinson, are available at

Read more about Norman at

"Conversations with Gurney" is sponsored by the Appalachian Center with funding from the College of Arts and Sciences. The Appalachian Center fosters research, learning and engagement between the UK community and Appalachian communities. It provides a space for students, faculty, staff and community members to learn and educate others about the unique opportunities and challenges the Appalachian region faces as it works toward sustainable development in a globalized context.

The center will host the 2020 Appalachian Studies Association conference on the UK campus March 12-15.

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