Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame 2013

Congratulations to the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame’s Inaugural Six Inductees!!!

The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame was created to recognize Kentucky writers whose work reflects the character and culture of our commonwealth, and to educate Kentuckians about our state’s rich literary heritage.hall-of-fame-logo-final-300x165

The Freshman class includes:

Harriette Arnow
William Wells Brown
Harry Caudill
Elizabeth Madox Roberts
James Still
Robert Penn Warren

harriette arnowwilliam wells


james stillrobert penn warren

For a writer to have been eligible for this inaugural year, he/she must be
1) deceased;
2) published;
3) someone whose writing is of enduring stature; and
4) someone connected in a significant way to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. (After this first year, the Hall plans to include living writers as well.)

The Hall of Fame involved a 3-step process:
1) nominations from the general public;
2) recommendations from a committee chaired by Lori Meadows, director of the Kentucky Arts Council, and including former state poets laureate, novelists, bookstore owners, a publisher and the state librarian; and
3) final selection by the Carnegie Center’s Hall of Fame Creation Committee.

The 13 Finalists

  • Harriette Arnow, the novelist best known for The Dollmaker, was born in 1908 in Wayne County.
  • William Wells Brown was born into slavery in Lexington in 1814 and is considered the first African-American novelist.
  • Harry Caudill, born in Whitesburg in 1922, was the author of Night Comes to the Cumberlands.
  • Thomas Clark, a Mississippi native and longtime University of Kentucky history professor, is best known for his work, A History of Kentucky.
  • Guy Davenport, English professor at UK from 1965-90, was a writer, acclaimed translator and visual artist.
  • John Fox Jr., best known for The Trail of the Lonesome Pine and The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, was born in 1862 in Bourbon County.
  • Janice Holt Giles lived in Adair County and wrote historical fiction set in Kentucky and the western frontier.
  • James Baker Hall, a Lexington native, was an award-winning writer, photographer, Kentucky poet laureate, and director of the UK creative writing program.
  • Thomas Merton was born in France but spent much of his life as a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown. He wrote more than 70 books.
  • Elizabeth Madox Roberts, born in Perryville in 1881, was a novelist and poet, as well as a contemporary of the Southern Renaissance writers.
  • James Still, best known for River of Earth, lived most of his life in a log house on Dead Mare Branch in Knott County.
  • Jesse Stuart was born in 1907 in Greenup County, and is known for his poems, short stories and novels set in southern Appalachia.
  • Robert Penn Warren, known for his poetry, novels and literary criticism, won the Pulitzer Prize for All the King’s Men. He was born in Guthrie in 1907.