UK Happenings

UPK, UK Authors Highlight Kentucky Book Festival Schedule

Logo for Kentucky Book Festival
The 2019 Kentucky Book Festival runs from Nov. 10-16.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2019)  For the second year in a row, Kentucky Humanities will host the Kentucky Book Festival, a full week of signings, conversations, trivia, meals, presentations and activities that serves to celebrate the literary movement within the Commonwealth. Across Lexington, authors and editors from the University Press of Kentucky (UPK) and the University of Kentucky, including alumnus and former UK trustee James Hardymon, author of “Engineering Corporate Success: A Memoir,” will participate in events spanning Sunday, Nov. 10 to Saturday, Nov. 16.

The festival kicked off on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. with eight featured authors at Newport Aquarium’s WAVE on Wheels located at ArtsPlace.

UK associate professor of English, poet and novelist Crystal Wilkinson will moderate the Literary Luncheon noon Tuesday, Nov. 12, at ArtsPlace. Author, Appalachian Center scholar-in-residence and Department of English professor Gurney Norman will also take part, reading from his works and answering audience questions alongside UK alumni and former faculty members Bobbie Ann Mason and Ed McClanahan. They will be joined by former faculty member Mary Ann Taylor-Hall as well. Tickets are $40 and available at

A screening of the documentary that centers around UK alumnus and former faculty member Wendell Berry called “Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry” will take place at the historic Kentucky Theatre beginning 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13. On hand to discuss the film with its director, Laura Dunn, will be Tanya Amyx Berry, Berry’s wife and fellow UPK author.

The week of festivities will close with the 38th annual Kentucky Book Fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. Over 200 authors will be present for panel discussions, book signings and more.

During the fair, Melynda Price, the William L. Matthews, Jr. Professor of Law in the College of Law and director of the Gaines Center for the Humanities, will be joined by Steve Luxenberg, author of "Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey From Slavery to Segregation," in conversation on the University of Kentucky Main Stage at 10:30 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., Tanya Amyx Berry will discuss "For the Hog Killing, 1979" on the UK Main Stage alongside editor Ben Aguilar.

In addition, Frank X Walker, a professor in the UK Department of English, will talk about his book, “Last Will, Last Testament,” on the UK HealthCare South Stage at 2:30 p.m. Walker will also act as moderator in a conversation with Indiana Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka and novelist Michael Datcher.

Many of the UPK authors and editors who will participate in the Kentucky Book Fair this year have connections to UK. They are:

Current faculty member in the UK Department of History Amy Murrell Taylor, author of “Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps,” will be signing copies from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16. Joshua A. Douglas, UK College of Law Thomas P. Lewis Professor of Law, will also be present from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for singings of his book “Vote for US: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting.”

Other UPK authors and editors participating and their corresponding books are:

Each year, the Kentucky Book Festival attracts thousands of readers and book lovers from across the nation. A vast selection of books for all ages will be available for purchase at the Kentucky Book Fair on Nov. 16. The book fair is open to the public and admission and parking are free. Some events will require tickets and the most updated list of events and details can be found at

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.