Friday, August 10, 2007

Historic Women

Though I'm neither historic nor a woman, I thought I'd pass this along. It's the press release about the 28th annual Kentucky Women Writers Conference, which brings internationally renowned women writers to central Kentucky every year. It is returning to downtown Lexington, Kentucky, Sept. 27-29. Begun in 1979, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference is the longest-running event of its kind and will feature poets, novelists, journalists, publishers, children’s authors, a playwright, a sportswriter, and a filmmaker.

The Kentucky Women Writers Conference remains a premier destination for women writers at all stages of development -- published and unpublished -- and the festival of free events gathers a lively community of readers. The event is known as a forum that presents discussion on the craft and process of writing.

This year's conference has a new director, Julie Kuzneski Wrinn, a former president of its advisory board. Wrinn’s background is in book publishing, and during a decade in that business in Washington, D.C., she edited some of Kentucky’s most beloved authors, including Wendell Berry, Ed McClanahan and the late Guy Davenport.

"Arriving in Lexington and already knowing these eminent Kentuckians was a happy coincidence for me," Wrinn said. "And after five years of residing in the Bluegrass, I better understand the rich sense of place that inspires its many artists. Few states can claim such a thriving community of working writers as Kentucky."

Featured presenters during this weekend-long event include:
Nickole Brown, poet and marketing director at Sarabande Books;
Lee Byrd, novelist, children's author and founder of Cinco Puntos Press;
Nathalie Handal, poet and playwright (pictured above);
Sally Jenkins, Washington Post sportswriter and author of eight books;
Sedika Mojadidi, documentary filmmaker;
Jessica Care Moore, poet, publisher and creator of SPOKEN! on the Black Family Channel;
Naomi Shihab Nye, poet and author of over 20 books;
Helen Oyeyemi, 23-year-old British-Nigerian novelist;
Ann Pancake, a fiction writer whose forthcoming first novel concerns mountaintop removal; and
Michelle Slatalla, New York Times columnist and author of the Eastern Kentucky memoir, "The Town on Beaver Creek."

Wrinn is excited with this year's presenters, which continues the conference's tradition of bringing a diverse selection of writers to the Bluegrass. “A hallmark of the Women Writers Conference is the diversity of our line-up. We feature a core group of writers—Nickole Brown, Ann Pancake and Michelle Slatalla—whose work shares an Appalachian heritage, while our other seven writers encompass a remarkable range of ethnicities and literary genres," said Wrinn. "This attracts a diverse audience too—readers as well as writers, men as well as women—and allows us to engage issues of feminism and social justice from a global perspective.”

The conference, which is made possible in part by presenting sponsor, the University of Kentucky, and several continued community partnerships, is host to a series of free events beginning Sept. 27 with a screening of the documentary feature, "Motherland Afghanistan," followed by a discussion with its filmmaker. On Saturday, the conference presents a free reading by children’s author and bilingual publisher Lee Byrd, who will discuss how a book is made. Later that evening the public is invited to a presentation by keynote speaker Naomi Shihab Nye, an award-winning poet and essayist.

To register for the conference, view its details, or learn more about its presenters, visit

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