Kentucky Writers' Day

In honor of  Kentucky Writers' Day, the HerKentucky team put together a few thoughts about our favorite Kentucky writers. 
Wendell Berry. Image via Garden and Gun
I love Bobbie Ann Mason for her storytelling. I love Barbara Kingsolver for the rich imagery in so many of her books. Prodigal Summer is one of my all-time favorite books, but The Poisonwood Bible was the one that really drew me in to her canon. I also love Wendell Berry for both his fiction and his activism. I respect that he fights for what he believes in. (Most of which I also happen to believe in, so that helps!)

Also, as a reader and unashamed lover of romance novels, I have to give a shout out to Jude Deveraux who is hugely successful in her field and is from Fairdale. She's been on the New York Times  Best-Seller list with 36 different books. Last summer, I set out to read every one of her books that follow the Montgomery/Taggert families and loved it!

Oh, I forgot to add an up-and-comer in young adult fiction named Tammy Blackwell. She has a trilogy of YA paranormal fiction that features a great strong female character. She's a librarian in Marshall County.

I know other states might have more Presidents or celebrities but I have to say that Kentucky has done a fantastic job of producing writers. When I get comfortable calling myself a writer, then I'll be so honored to be included in this group. Here are my top five:
bell hooks. Image via Berea College.

1. Wendell Berry Others have captured his genius much better than I can. All I can say is if I ever met him I'm pretty sure I would go full-scale Wayne's World "I'm not worthy!"
2. Barbara Kingsolver I was a vegetarian for five years. Then I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I'm not a vegetarian anymore. I'd say that about sums it up.
3. Bobbie Ann Mason From just down the road, her memoir Clear Springs made me feel at home when I was anything but.
4. Molly Harper She's from Paducah (and in my book club!). Molly Harper writes about vampires...and librarians. Need I say more?
5. bell hooks Feminism is for Everybody should be handed out to every college freshman in the nation.
Hunter S. Thompson, by Annie Leibovitz

Hunter S. Thompson, Louisville native, for introducing us to Gonzo journalism with his 1970 essay "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved", and for the fact that his ashes were fired into the sky by a cannon (arranged by another Kentuckian, Johnny Depp) because "he loved explosions".

I have to agree with Cristina; Dr. Thompson's piece about the Derby is on my short list for the greatest configuration of words ever set to paper.   As I've said before, I find his sports writing to be the greatest and most underreported of his works.

The works of Verna Mae Slone and Paul Brett Johnson are sentimental favorites for me, because both authors were my distant cousins on my father's side. 

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to interview a Western Kentucky-born writer named Holly Goddard Jones.  She was charming and down-to-earth, and her short stories captured rural Kentucky life without pathos or exploitation (a rare gift in a young author.)  Holly hasn't quite made my "favorite Kentucky writers" list yet, but I certainly think she's one to watch...

Who are your favorite Kentucky Writers?