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Kentucky Book Fair is tomorrow at Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena, featuring distinguished writers

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Kentucky Humanities’ 36th Annual Kentucky Book Fair is tomorrow from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and the seventh annual KBF Kids Day is today through 2 p.m.

Both events will be held at the new location, Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.

For the past 35 years, the Kentucky Book Fair has been held in Frankfort, most recently at the Frankfort Convention Center. With the announcement of the facility’s impending demolition, Kentucky Humanities found a new venue for the event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

“While we are sad to have to pull this event from its origins and the audience who’ve supported it for so many years, we’re optimistic that not only will those people follow the Fair to Lexington, but that we’ll find new patrons who will come to cherish the Fair too,” said Brooke Raby, Kentucky Book Fair manager.

Since its inception in 1981, the Kentucky Book Fair has been connecting readers and authors in a celebration of shared passion and mutual interest: the importance of writing and reading.

The 36th Annual Kentucky Book Fair features bestselling authors including Wendell Berry, Rita Mae Brown, Ally Condie, Wayne Flynt, Jamie Ford, bell hooks, Loyal Jones, David Joy, George Ella Lyon, Bobbie Ann Mason, Karen Robards, Adam Silvera, Daren Wang, Chris Whipple, Crystal Wilkinson, and 168 other national and local authors, including James Archambeault, David Arnold, Steve Beshear, Gwenda Bond, Susan Bordo, Christopher Farnsworth, Heather Henson, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Holly Goddard Jones, David King, Maurice Manning, Sharyn McCrumb, Robert Olmstead, Stella Parks, Christopher Rowe, Frederick Smock, and Mary Ann Taylor-Hall.

Sponsors for the event include Face It, Lindsey Wilson College, Spalding University, Morehead State University, Berea College, Eastern Kentucky University, Centre College, Snowy Owl Foundation, Campbellsville University, the Brown-Forman Corporation, the University of Pikeville, Lexington Fayette Urban County Council, Graviss McDonald’s Restaurants, Rory Harris, Alice Lloyd College, KCTCS, Sullivan University System, and VisitLex.

A full list of participating authors can be found at kyhumanities.org.

A full slate of presentations and panel discussions with attending authors and guest scholars will take place in three locations in the Arena.

Panel discussion topics include the evolution of the Western genre, veterans and writing, gender and sexuality in literature, and bourbon’s role and resurgence in recent years. Presenters scheduled to appear include Wayne Flynt, Karen Robards, Rita Mae Brown, bell hooks and Crystal Wilkinson, Chris Whipple, Jamie Ford, and others.

This year, Kentucky Humanities will also be recording their podcast, Think Humanities, at the event, with guests Holly Goddard Jones, Susan Bordo, Carol Boggess, and Chris Whipple. Patrons can also enjoy a Kentucky Chautauqua performance from Virgil Covington, Jr., who will portray Kentucky native William Wells Brown, the first published African American novelist and playwright. A full schedule of events can be found at kyhumanities.org.

The Literary Luncheon at noon on Saturday in the South Exhibit Hall of the Arena will feature New York Times bestselling author Jamie Ford, with his newest novel, Love and Other Consolation Prizes. Ford will discuss the book and his writing career for up to 100 guests, who will be served a three-course meal inspired by the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest, the setting of the novel. Each ticket comes with a hardcover copy of Love and Other Consolation Prizes, a $28 value. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet Jamie, have their books signed and have a photo taken with him.


At KBF Kids Day today, more than 1,000 elementary and middle school students, teachers and chaperones from 15 Kentucky schools will meet and interact with children’s authors in a series of presentations. Presenters include Ally Condie, Debbie Dadey, George Ella Lyon, Sophia and Lucas McWilliams, Christopher Rowe, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, and Jessica Young.

As part of Kentucky Humanities partnership with Face It, a Kosair Charities initiative, 287 high school students will participate in a Master Class with author and activist Erin Merryn, who will speak on being “A Voice for the Voiceless” and her recovery from years of child abuse. Merryn is the inspiration for Erin’s Law, a state law mandating prevention-based education for public school educators and students to help them recognize and report child sexual abuse. After a pizza lunch with Merryn, students will participate in a panel discussion on Young Adult Fiction with authors David Arnold, Gwenda Bond, Sheba Karim, Brendan Reichs, Adam Silvera, and Courtney Stevens.

The Kentucky Book Fair is free and open to the public. Parking and admission are free. More information, including the Kentucky Book Fair catalog, can be found at the website or by calling (859) 257-5932.

Kentucky Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. We are supported by the National Endowment and by private contributions. For information about Kentucky Humanities’ programs and services, visit kyhumanities.org.

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