Writer series honors former noble laureate

Over the years UK has inspired numerous individuals in the Creative Arts. James Baker Hall was one such individual.

Hall was a long time UK professor and former poet laureate of Kentucky who directed the Creative Writing program for many years,  said Gurney Norman, UK regular faculty of English.

In honor of Hall, who died in 2009, the Student Activities Board will host the James Baker Hall Writer Series, which seeks to explore the ways in which the Bluegrass inspires authors, poets, journalists and publicists.

Gurney Norman, Julia Johnson and Jane Gentry Vance are featured in the series this Thursday, and will be reading excerpts from their personal works.

“I plan to be the opening act for the big rock show.” Vance said.

“The inspiration for the writer series came from the immense wealth of writing talent in Kentucky, from poetry to creative nonfiction to journalism,” said Shannon Ruhl, SAB director of cultural arts. “This state truly boasts amazingly gifted writers who are proud of their bluegrass roots.”

Julia Johnson, associate professor of English and new faculty member, will read from her second book entitled “The Falling Horse.”

“I feel honored and excited to have the opportunity to read with Jane Vance and Gurney Norman, two writers that I have admired for a long time.” said Johnson, who in her book explores “the ways in which imagination shapes reality.”

The evening will include a reading and lecture from multiple writers, free refreshments, book sales and a booksigning.

The James Baker Hall Writer Series is open to all students and faculty and will be held in the Student Center Small Ballroom Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. The next event will be held Sep. 29 in Worsham Theater.