News Release: The Carnegie Center is proud to announce the six inductees for 2015 into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, including the Hall's first living writer Wendell Berry. In addition to Berry, this year's class includes Guy Davenport, Elizabeth Hardwick, Jim Wayne Miller, Effie Waller Smith & Hunter S. Thompson.
"This year's Hall of Fame inductees are eloquent, inspirational, and sometimes downright outrageous," said Neil Chethik, Executive Director of the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning, which created the Hall of Fame in 2013. "All of them have had a profound impact on American Literature."
Chethik said the Hall of Fame organizers were excited to induct the first living writer into the Hall of Fame. "In past years, we honored the pillars of Kentucky Literature going back 200 years," he said. "This year, we wanted to recognize a writer who is still going strong. Wendell Berry's mastery of fiction, nonfiction and poetry -- and the worldwide impact of his agriculture writing - made him the overwhelming choice."
The full 2015 Class includes:
Wendell Berry (Henry County)
Guy Davenport (Fayette County)
Elizabeth Hardwick (Fayette County)
Jim Wayne Miller (Warren County)
Effie Waller Smith (Pike County)
Hunter S. Thompson (Jefferson County)
The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame was created to recognize Kentucky writers whose work reflects the character and culture of our commonwealth, and to educate Kentuckians about our state's rich literary heritage. For a writer to have been eligible this year, he/she must be 1) deceased (excluding one living writer); 2) published; 3) someone whose writing is of enduring stature; and 4) someone connected in a significant way to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Selection to the Hall of Fame involved a 3-step process: 1) nominations from the general public; 2) recommendations from a committee that includes former state poets laureate and chaired by Lori Meadows, director of the Kentucky Arts Council; and 3) final selection by the Carnegie Center's Hall of Fame Creation Committee.
The six winners will be officially inducted on Thursday, Wednesday 28, at the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Carnegie Center, 7 PM (Doors open at 6:30 PM). This event is FREE and open to the public. After their induction, five contemporary Kentucky writers will read excerpts from the inductees' writing and Wendell Berry will offer a short speech for his own induction about "Kentucky writing and what it means to be a Kentucky writer."
The presenters include the University of Kentucky professor Erik Reece (A Balance of Quinces, Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness, An American Gospel: On Family, History, and The Kingdom of God), former director of the Carnegie Center Jan Isenhour (When the Bough Breaks, an Anthology by Members of KaBooM Writing Collective), Western Kentucky University professor and widow of Jim Wayne Miller, Mary Ellen Miller (Every Leaf a Mirror: A Jim Wayne Miller Reader, The Poet's Wife Speaks), Kentucky's Poet Laureate Frank X Walker (Isaac Murphy: I dedicate this ride, Black Box, Affrilachia ), and Louisville writer Ron Whitehead (The Storm Generation Manifesto, Lost & Forgotten, Found & Remembered (with Sarah Elizabeth Burkey), The Third Testament: Three Gospels of Peace).
This is the third year of the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, which was created and is housed at the Carnegie Center in Lexington. The 2013 inductees are: Harriette Arnow, William Wells Brown, Harry Caudill, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, James Still, and Robert Penn Warren. Likewise, the 2014 inductees are: Rebecca Caudill, Thomas D. Clark, Janice Holt Giles, James Baker Hall, Etheridge Knight, Thomas Merton,and Jesse Stuart.
ABOUT THE CARNEGIE CENTER
The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning empowers people to explore and express their voices through imaginative learning and the literary arts. The Carnegie Center is a family learning and literary arts center devoted to helping all people improve their quality of life. Our open-door policy invites people young and old to learn something new. We offer seasonal classes in writing, computer literacy, graphic design, and world languages; tutoring for students grades K-12; vibrant youth and family programs; literary readings, and other arts-related events, designed to encourage an appreciation for all art forms, and learning in general, among Central Kentuckians.