UK Happenings

Tayari Jones Headlines Gaines Center's Bale Boone Symposium

headshot photo of Tayari Jones
photo of poster for 2019 Bale Boone Symposium with Tayari Jones

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2019) Tayari Jones, winner of the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction, will headline the University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities 2019 Bale Boone Symposium. The free public event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the Singletary Center for the Arts. Registration is required.

Tayari Jones, professor of English and creative writing at Emory University, is the author of four novels: "An American Marriage," an Oprah Book Club pick and the Women's Prize for Fiction award-winner; "Silver Sparrow," chosen for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read Library; "The Untelling"; and "Leaving Atlanta." Jones, who holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University and University of Iowa, is a recipient of fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, United States Artist Foundation and Black Mountain Institute.

"Tayari Jones exemplifies the qualities we seek when selecting persons for the Bale Boone Symposium — excellence in your field and a voice that speaks to moment while wrestling with the long questions of humanity," Gaines Center Driector Melynda Price said. "Through her novels, she has explored the ways in which race and place impact the lives of her characters and us all. The Gaines Center is honored that this award-winning writer will be joining us. We know the audience will leave the Singletary Center enriched by her words and the generosity of her intellect."

To hear more about Jones' upcoming talk, listen to Gaines Center Associate Director Chelsea Brislin's "Think Humanities" interview with Kentucky Humanities Director Bill Goodman here.

Registration for the Bale Boone Symposium event featuring Jones can be found online here. Guests with an Eventbrite registration ticket will be given priority admittance before 6:50 p.m., but will not be guaranteed seating after 6:50 p.m. All seating is first-come, first-served. Jones' books will be available for purchase at the event, and she will do a book signing following the lecture.

Those who did not pre-register for the symposium will be admitted at 6:50 p.m. First-year Lewis Honors Students must show their provided pass, or they will be asked to wait until 6:50 p.m.  

Through the Bale Boone Symposium, Gaines Center sponsors an array of public humanities and arts events to promote dialogue, intellectual exploration and partnerships among the campus, Bluegrass and Commonwealth communities. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the symposium demonstrates the commitment of Joy Bale Boone and George Street Boone to the betterment of the humanities.

For more information on the 2019 Bale Boone Symposium featuring Tayari Jones, contact Brislin at

Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on the University of Kentucky's campus. Devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty, the center embraces varied paths of knowledge and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning. The Gaines Center was also designed to provide a link, intellectual as well as geographic, between the campus and town communities. The center sponsors an array of public events that bring together the rich and varied resources of the Lexington community and the University of Kentucky.