National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist Nicole Chung to Headline Women Writers Event

By Whitney Hale

Nicole Chung, author of the award-winning memoir “All You Can Ever Know,” will give the keynote speech at the 2019 Kentucky Women Writers Conference, scheduled for Sept. 19-22. The free public talk, presented in conjunction with University of Kentucky Libraries, will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center.

“Nicole Chung's memoir about her search for her biological roots is a compelling, beautifully written book that demonstrates the importance of reading underrepresented narratives,” said conference director Julie Kuzneski Wrinn. “We like to rotate among poetry, fiction and nonfiction in our keynote. This is nonfiction’s year, and with her varied background in editing and circuitous path to completing this book, Nicole Chung is sure to offer many insights into not only her story but also the world of publishing."

Nicole Chung has been making waves with her debut memoir “All You Can Ever Know,”since it was published by Catapult in October 2018. Born premature and placed for adoption by her Korean parents, Chung was raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town and believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life. But as she grew up, Chung wondered if “her” story was the whole truth. The memoir chronicles the writer’s search for the people who gave her up and a sense of belonging. 

In less than five months, “All You Can Ever Know” has been named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, TIME, The Boston Globe, Newsday, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Real Simple, Goodreads, Chicago Public Library and Seattle Public Library. Currently the book is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography and was longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award.

Chung has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The Atlantic, Slate, Longreads, Vulture, The Cut and Hazlitt. She is also editor-in-chief of Catapult magazine and the former managing editor of The Toast.

In addition to her public keynote lecture, Chung will give a craft talk on memoir 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. The craft talk is for conference registrants only.

The 40th anniversary Kentucky Women Writers Conference will take place Sept. 19-22, 2019, at the Carnegie Center and other Lexington venues. A program of the UK College of Arts and Sciences, the conference is the longest running literary festival of women in the nation. Registration opens April 1. For more information on the conference, visit online at

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