Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame 2020 Induction Ceremony

Randolph Hollingsworth's picture
February 5, 2020
Kentucky, United States
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Literature
Sena Jeter Naslund, an internationally renowned novelist and award-winning educator who has lived in Louisville for more than 45 years, is the newest living inductee into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.

Naslund, author of such bestsellers as Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits and Adam & Eve, will speak at the annual induction ceremony at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Lexington’s historic Kentucky Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

Naslund will be inducted along with four deceased Kentucky writers:
  • Hollis Summers (1916-1987), a writer and poet who was born in Henry County. As a University of Kentucky English professor, he was an important mentor to several students who would later become great Kentucky writers.
  • Lucy Furman (1870-1958), whose novels and short stories told about small-town and rural life near her native Henderson and in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky
  • Sam Shepard (1943-2017), the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and movie star who lived much of the last 17 years of his life on his horse farm near Midway.
  • Cleanth Brooks (1907-1994), a native of Murray, who was one of the 20th century’s most influential literary critics, as well as an English professor at Yale University.
Detailed biographies and bibliographies of the inductees are on the Carnegie Center’s website:

This year’s ceremony includes a new, occasional award. The Kentucky Literary Impact Award recognizes someone who has made great contributions to the state’s literary culture, but not necessarily as a writer. The first recipient is Gray Zeitz, founder and proprietor of Larkspur Press near the Owen County town of Monterey. For more than 45 years, Zeitz has published elegant, handmade books featuring the work of many of Kentucky’s most important fiction writers and poets.

Doors will open at the historic Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main St., at 6:30 p.m. Naslund will sign books after the ceremony, which will be recorded by Kentucky Educational Television for broadcast at a later date.

Music will be provided by a string quartet comprised of Benjamin Karp, Dan Mason, Margaret Karp and Tze-Ying Wu. Selections will include music by the Kentucky-born composer Gerald Plain of Louisville.

These authors bring the number of Kentucky writers inducted into the Hall of Fame to 44. The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning created the Hall of Fame in 2012 to recognize Kentucky writers whose work reflects the character and culture of our Commonwealth, and to educate Kentuckians about the state's rich literary heritage.

For a writer to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, he or she must have been born in or had a significant connection to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and published work of enduring merit. Selection to the Hall of Fame involves a four-step process. Nominations are made by the public and evaluated by a Carnegie Center committee, which provides a long list to the Kentucky Arts Council. An arts council committee, which includes some of the state’s best-known writers, ranks the nominees for final selection by the Carnegie Center staff.

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, publishing, 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 all Kentuckians.
Contact Info: 

Tom Eblen, Literary Arts Liaison
The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning