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UK authors to be featured at Kentucky Book Festival Oct. 21

By Jenny Wells-Hosley 

Kentucky Book Festival logoThe 42nd annual Kentucky Book Festival will return to Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 21.

More than 150 authors — including many University of Kentucky faculty, staff and alumni — will be in attendance, meeting readers and signing books. Patrons can enjoy a full slate of main stage events alongside educational workshops and craft talks, as well as a children’s schedule of events.

This year’s program will include special appearances by New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward, nonfiction writer Stephen Bright (a UK alumnus), as well as a highlight of the book “A is for Affrilichia,” where UK Professor Frank X Walker and illustrator upfromsundirt will be in conversation with UK Professor Crystal Wilkinson.

Walker is the first Black writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate, and is an artist and educator. He has published 11 collections of poetry, including "Masked Man, Black: Pandemic & Protest Poems" and "Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers," which received an NAACP Image Award and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book Award. The recipient of the Thomas D. Clark Award for Literary Excellence, he is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets.

Wilkinson, Kentucky’s 2022-23 Poet Laureate, is the award-winning author of "Perfect Black," a collection of poems, and three works of fiction — "The Birds of Opulence," "Water Street" and "Blackberries, Blackberries." She currently is a professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Additional UK-affiliated authors in fiction, children’s and young adult books include:

  • Bobbie Ann Mason
  • Shawn Pryor
  • Mariama J. Lockington
  • Sherry Robinson
  • Jennifer Sommer
  • Nancy Allen
  • James Kirby Easterling
  • Jeff Worley
  • Jayne Moore Waldrop 

Other UK-affiliated authors in nonfiction include:

  • Jamie H. Vaught
  • Gary P. West
  • Jeremy Popkin
  • Bill Meegan
  • Matthew Mitchell
  • Patrick Lee Lucas
  • Matthew Strandmark
  • Kevin Lane Dearinger

For a full listing of events and information, go to

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.