News

6/26/2018

By Mack McCormick and Whitney Hale

Bobbie Ann Mason. Photo by Guy Mendes.

Life is a quilt — random bits of memory that somehow fit together, forming a cohesive yet unlikely pattern. One of the best ways to uncover these seemingly hidden patterns, as demonstrated by Kentucky writer and University of Kentucky alumna Bobbie Ann Mason, is through fiction.

“Writing fiction is a way of making patterns, discovering them hiding in the words and sensations of the story,” said Mason, who has been publishing fiction since her first story, “Shiloh,” in 1980. Mason’s stories explore a diverse set of themes ranging from war to love to family history, all the while trying to discover patterns in the random bits of

6/13/2018
The Swanberg Legacy: love, family and giving

By Julie Wrinn

On both sides, it was love at first sight. Joan Swanberg (B.A. 1981) had grown up in Cleveland but was drawn to the University of Kentucky for its beautiful campus, southern charm, and affordability. During her first two years at UK she thrived in her studies but had brought home to Ohio one too many “bad boyfriends.” At the beginning of her junior year, Joan remembers her mother saying, “Why don’t you go find a nice boy at church?”

Greg Swanberg (B.G.S. 1985) lived at UK’s Newman Center, the campus Catholic ministry, and served as its co-president. Joan went to church, and Greg caught sight of her through a window and told a friend, “I’m going to marry that girl.” When later introduced to Greg, Joan was similarly struck, and they’ve been together ever since.

As the Swanbergs’ Mill House Residency for

6/7/2018

By Lindsey Piercy

Hannah Pittard, associate professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Kentucky, is known for captivating readers with her intricate storytelling. Those who have been awaiting the release of her highly anticipated fourth novel, "Visible Empire," don't have to wait any longer.

The page-turner, which hit bookstore shelves June 5, examines the aftermath of a real-life tragedy: the crash of Air France 007. On a summer day in 1962, the Boeing 707 crashed in Paris shortly after takeoff. The crash, known as the second deadliest in aviation history, killed more than 100 of Atlanta's most prominent citizens. In one fell swoop, many of the

5/16/2018

The recognition that archives are partial, filled with lacunae that demand scholarly attention, has fueled research engaging the epistemological, cultural, and political forces of early American materials and repositories. While powerful, positivist recovery work—efforts to fill gaps and hear silenced voices— has theoretically and materially expanded early American studies, the archive remains yet and always incomplete. This special issue of Early American Literature seeks essays that work around, across, or beside missing or marginalized records. “Beyond Recovery” invites submissions that address some of the following questions: What avenues exist for scholars when archival research reaches a dead end of missing or absent records? How can scholars and archivists intellectually and ethically engage with archival absence? Are there some archival gaps that not only cannot but also

5/16/2018

The editors of Early American Literature are pleased to announce the fourth annual Early American Literature Book Prize, which will be given for a first academic monograph about American literature in the colonial period through the early republic (roughly 1830). The prize is offered in collaboration with the University of North Carolina Press, the Society of Early Americanists, and the MLA's Forum on American Literature to 1800.

First monographs published in 2016 or 2017 are eligible for the 2018 prize, which carries a cash award of $2000. 

The deadline for nominations is February 1, 2018. Please send a single copy of any books nominated for the 2018 prize to:

EAL Book Prize
c/o Professor Sandra M. Gustafson
Editor, Early American Literature
Department of English
University of Notre Dame
356

5/16/2018

The decade since the publication of Catherine Gallagher’s landmark essay “The Rise of Fictionality” (2006) has witnessed an increasing concern with overturning well-established theories of the rise of the novel and the development of literary realism through a re-examination of the axiomatic values underpinning contemporary attitudes toward the concept of “fiction.” Variously substantiating, expanding and adapting Gallagher’s central claim that “fiction” is not a universal constant but a particular mode of negotiating referential truth claims that only emerged in the mid-eighteenth century, scholars of the early British and French novel such as Sarah Tindal Kareem, Srinivas Aravamudan, and Nicholas D. Paige have recently offered invigoratingly new accounts of the complex and contested epistemological status of imaginary stories as they began to define and redefine themselves against

5/16/2018

Professor Patricia Crain of New York University has been selected to receive the 2017 Early American Literature Book Prize, which is awarded in odd calendar years to a second or subsequent monograph, and in even years to a first book.  Crain’s book Reading Children: Literacy, Property, and the Dilemmas of Childhood in Nineteenth-Century America was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2016.

Reading Children makes a “stunning contribution” to the field of childhood studies by showing the long colonial history of children’s reading practices. The committee noted Crain’s creative relation to temporality, which “depends upon contradistinction and juxtaposition” rather than linear development.  Underlying this entire project is a deep commitment to ensuring that early American literature be understood both on its own terms and as a key

4/11/2018
Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century

By Lindsey Piercy

Nazera Wright, associate professor of English at UK College of Arts & Sciences, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Children's Literature Association's Honor Book Award for her 2016 scholarly book titled, "Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century," published by University of Illinois Press.

The book shows how the figure of the black girl in African-American literature provided a powerful avenue for exploring issues like domesticity, femininity and proper conduct. Wright draws on heavy archival research and a wide range of texts about African-American girls to explore the unstudied phenomenon of black girlhood. In doing this, the book documents a literary genealogy of the cultural attitudes toward black girls in the United States.

In 2017-18,

3/22/2018

By Stephanie Swarts

The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has selected 12 exceptional undergraduates as new scholars for the university’s Gaines Fellowship Program for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years. Gaines Fellowships are given in recognition of outstanding academic performance, demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues, and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities.

Gaines Fellowships are awarded for the tenure of students’ junior and senior years; students in all disciplines and with any intended profession are given equal consideration.

UK’s 12 new Gaines Fellows are:

2/23/2018

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

12/20/2017

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

12/5/2017

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

11/16/2017

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

10/23/2017

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.

10/20/2017

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

10/9/2017

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

10/5/2017

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

9/18/2017

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, 

9/6/2017

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

8/25/2017

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.

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