By Mack McCormick and Whitney Hale

Members of the Affrilachian Poets. Photos by Joseph Rey Au/Courtesy of the Affrilachian Poets.

When Frank X Walker coined the culturally encompassing term “Affrilachian” 25 years ago, he had no idea the group of colleagues who got their start inside a University of Kentucky elevator would transform into a radically influential social movement.

The Affrilachian Poets emerged out of a desire for solidarity and to advance the visibility of diverse voices through the cultivation of writing that is both challenging and evocative. This innovative band of artists and activists number nearly 40 today and continues to shape the literary and social landscapes of the Appalachian region and


By Gail Hairston

Artist's rendering of Mill House at Glendower, the setting for new UK creative writing residency program.

Built more than 225 years ago, the Mill House at Glendower is a secluded, pastoral location to escape the bustle of daily life, a place to reflect, to create.

At least that’s what the University of Kentucky Department of English professors realized when they were surprised by an unexpected gift from UK alumni Joan and Greg Swanberg — a summertime four-week stay at the couple’s cottage at the Virginia retreat.

The generous gift allowed the department to create two new residency programs for aspiring authors — one two-week residency open to internal submissions from current UK students pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts in creative writing and a second two-week residency for external submissions from


By Whitney Hale

Students examine materials at UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center.

University of Kentucky creative writing graduate students studying with English Professor and award-winning poet Frank X Walker will present a poetry reading of work they created throughout the semester based on research done at UK Special Collections Research Center. The free public reading will run 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, in the Great Hall of the Margaret I. King Library Building.

“This is the third time that we’ve done this, and the work they produce is absolutely astounding and very moving,” said Matthew


By Whitney Hale and Mack McCormick

For the first time ever, the Kentucky Book Fair will be presented in Lexington from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Alltech Arenaat the Kentucky Horse Park. Now in its 36th year, the fair will feature more than 180 authors and editors showcasing their most recent books, including several writers from University Press of Kentucky (UPK) and the University of Kentucky. The fair is free and open to the public.

Presented by Kentucky Humanities, the Kentucky Book Fair attracts thousands of avid readers and patrons from across the country. The


By Mack McCormick and Whitney Hale

Poet Jane Gentry was a beloved and influential University of Kentucky educator, mentor to generations of young writers, former poet laureate for the Commonwealth, and a unique Kentucky voice. A retrospective of the celebrated poet’s work, “The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry,” edited by UK Professor of English Julia Johnson and published by University Press of Kentucky (UPK), was named this year's Thomas D. Clark Medallion recipient and will be recognized at an award ceremony Oct. 26, at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky.


By Whitney Hale

Viet Thanh Nguyen. Photo by Matt Meindl.

The University of Kentucky’s Gaines Center for the Humanities and Department of English’s MFA in Creative Writing will welcome to campus 2017 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant recipient and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen. “An Evening with Viet Thanh Nguyen,” this year’s Bale Boone Symposium in the Humanities, will begin 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall. This program is free and open to the public.  

“We are thrilled to host


By Gail Hairston

(Left to right) Dan Reedy, Karl Raitz, Dean Mark Kornbluh, Martha Rolingson, Charles Grizzle and Tom Spalding.

The University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences celebrated its Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Friday, Oct. 6, at the Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building.

This year's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception honored alumni Charlie Grizzle, Martha Rolingson and Tom Spalding, and College of Arts and Sciences faculty members Karl B. Raitz and Daniel R. Reedy. For more about each honoree, see their brief biographies below.

Alumni Inductees

Charlie Grizzle, English, bachelor’s degree, 1973 

Charles "Charlie" L. Grizzle, a native of Argillite, Kentucky, in Greenup County, earned his bachelor


By Tiffany Molina and Gail Hairston

On Oct. 26, the University of Kentucky International Center will welcome Nicholas Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and well-known columnist with The New York Times. Kristof’s talk, “A Path Appears: How Students Can Change the World,” is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gatton College of Business and Economics, and the School of Journalism and Media.

Kristof’s talk will touch on themes that animate the book he co-authored with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn: “A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunities.” Kristof and WuDunn say that the purpose of the book is to “provide a unique and essential narrative about making a difference in the world … and a roadmap to becoming a conscientious global citizen.” Kristof will discuss how global problems can seem


By Bryant Welbourne and Kathy Johnson

Eight University of Kentucky faculty members are among more than 100 faculty members from all 14 Southeastern Conference universities taking part in the 2017-18 SEC Faculty Travel Program. Now in its sixth year, the program provides support for selected individuals to collaborate with colleagues at other SEC member institutions.

The UK faculty and their departments are: Babak Bazrgari, Biomedical Engineering; Kenneth Campbell, Physiology; Tom Clayton, English; Kenneth Graham, Chemistry; Ji Youn Kim, 


By Whitney Hale


University of Kentucky's SSTOP Hunger: Sustainable Solutions to Overcome Poverty organization will host the university’s first screening of the documentary “Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry.”  The screening, to be followed by a panel discussion, will begin 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, in Kincaid Auditorium at Gatton College of Business and Economics.

“Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry” is a cinematic account of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture, as seen through the mind’s eye of writer, farmer and activist Wendell Berry, an alumnus and former faculty member of the UK Department of English.

The first documentary about Berry


By Abby Schroering and Sara Shehata

As a land grant university, the University of Kentucky is committed to the advancement of knowledge through research. Even undergraduate students contribute significantly to that mission.

Students of any major, background and skill level have the opportunity to work with professors from all over UK, whether in labs, on faculty projects or even on independent projects that they design themselves.

“For those undergraduates who are interested in building faculty mentorships, gaining critical thinking and presentation skills and deepening their understanding of the subjects that interest them, the UK Office of Undergraduate Research (UGR) is there to help them along the way,” said Evie Russell, assistant director of the UK Office of Undergraduate Research.

By Whitney Hale University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that four UK graduates have been offered Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships and three have accepted the award. The UK recipients are among approximately 1,700 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2017-18 academic year through the prestigious program. In addition, two other UK students were selected as alternates for the program.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

The UK graduates awarded Fulbright grants are:

Yvonne Johnson, a

By Whitney Hale

Actor, writer and recipient of the 2016 Whiting Award Elena Passarello will be one of the featured presenters at the 2017 Kentucky Women Writers Conference running Sept. 15-16, in Lexington. In celebration of her upcoming appearance, the conference will also present a Pre-Conference Essay Workshop on Passarello’s work July 15, at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.

Earlier this year, Elena Passarello’s second essay collection, “Animals Strike Curious Poses,” was reviewed in The New York Times by Helen


By Lori Minter

The University of Kentucky has released its Dean's List for the spring 2017 semester.  A total of 6,412 students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance. 

To make a Dean’s List in one of the UK colleges, a student must earn a grade point average of 3.6 or higher and must have earned 12 credits or more in that semester, excluding credits earned in pass-fail classes.  Some UK colleges require a 3.5 GPA to make the Dean’s List.

The full Dean's List can be accessed by visiting:

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you


By Whitney Hale


Trailer for the documentary "Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry."

Next Friday (June 30) a film featuring the work of Kentucky’s own Wendell Berry will enjoy its U.S. theatrical premiere at the IFC Center in New York City. “Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry” is a cinematic account of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture, as seen through the mind’s eye of writer, farmer and activist Wendell Berry, an alumnus and former faculty member of the University of Kentucky Department of English.

The first documentary about Berry, one of America’s most significant living writers, “Look and


By Jennifer T. Allen

Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle plans to change the world. Specifically, she plans to help eradicate poverty and fight injustice.

“It’s important to me that I’m doing meaningful work that is making a difference in this world,” Adekunle said.

Adekunle came to the University of Kentucky from Ghana as a 15-year-old freshman the fall of 2013. This past Sunday she walked across the stage at Rupp Arena and received her degree in international studies and English.

“UK and A&S have been great for me personally because of the support I’ve experienced here,” Adekunle said. “Coming here when I was only 15 could have been really hard, but the faculty I worked with were all so caring. They helped me grow my strengths and empowered me to work on my weak areas.”

When Adekunle came to Lexington, the only person she knew in town was her sister. To


By Jenny Wells

Per UK tradition, a student representative will speak at each of the four University of Kentucky Commencement Ceremonies this week.

The four student speakers are:

Savanah Sellars Sellars, from Yorkville, Illinois, will speak at the 10 a.m. May 5 ceremony. She is graduating with a baccalaureate degree in integrated strategic communication from the UK College of Communication and Information. May 5 is an extra special day for Sellars, because she will commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force shortly after the Commencement ceremony ends.  In June, she will begin her military career at Joint Base Langley-Eustis as a public affairs officer. During her time at UK, Sellars was involved in Air Force ROTC,


By Gail Hairston

The University of Kentucky Department of English celebrates National Poetry Month with a 24-hour poetry reading.

Everyone in the campus community is invited to volunteer to read poetry for a single 10-minute shift, beginning noon Tuesday, April 25, through noon Wednesday, April 26. Readers will recite poetry at the Memorial Hall amphitheater, rain or shine, day and night.

Volunteers can either read their own poetry or a selection from a favorite poet.

Volunteers can sign up at

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and


By Megan Foltz


University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and African American and Africana Studies DaMaris B. Hill will participate in the European Association for American Studies (EAAS) meeting next September at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu, Finland. EAAS meets once a year to study a marginalized text or author.

This year’s workshop will focus on America’s early 20th century magazine The Brownies’ Book, published by NAACP founder William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, better known as W.E.B. Du Bois. With most of the children’s literature of the day produced by white authors for white children, Du Bois wanted to offer an alternative. The magazine contextualizes writing of the 19th century and counters negative stereotypes about African Americans in the early 20th century. The Brownies’ Book contains stories and poems by writers


By Whitney Hale and Gail Hairston


Watch as contestants at the Brooklyn Book Festival try to figure out what "The Animators," by UK alumna Kayla Rae Whitaker, is all about based only on its cover.

Very few authors find themselves publishing their debut novel with a name as big as Random House, much less earning acclaim from critics such as The New York Times. But for University of Kentucky alumna Kayla Rae Whitaker, these are natural next steps for someone who showed tremendous promise during her college career. Whitaker’s novel, "The Animators," was released earlier this year.

Aspiring writers from the university and across the nation will get to hear Whitaker's own take on her early success and hear a reading from "The


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