In October, it’s all about the Kentucky Book Festival, now in its 41st year. The main event takes place at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington on October 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern. As always, many Kentucky and national literary luminaries will attend, including Barbara Kingsolver, Jon Meacham, Geraldine Brooks, Wendell Berry, Crystal Wilkinson, and Silas House. There’s no admission fee for the festival, but bring your pocketbook, because no one can resist leaving with an armful of books! Kids are also welcome; children’s authors will be there to sign books, and there will be story times, face-painting, and even a costume contest. There are also satellite events in the preceding days. Visit the Kentucky Book Festival website to learn more about all aspects of this marvelous event.
In total, 150 writers will be featured at the festival. I’d like to highlight here some of the books that I and other Savvy Communication editors helped with; all were brought to press by the exceptional Louisville publishing firm Butler Books.
Stan “JR” Zerkowski lives in Lexington, where he’s a community activist and executive director of Fortunate Families, an organization that advocates for the Catholic Church to welcome LGBTQ+ people of faith and their families. JR's memoir Coming Out and Coming Home: A Gay Catholic Man’s Journey from Marginalization to Ministry, with a Few Miracles along the Way, tells the story of his own journey within the faith, along with moving, illuminating anecdotes about compassion, dignity, inclusion, and unconditional love.
C. W. Shumate’s rollicking debut novel Ghosts of Blackberry Holler follows its protagonist, Harper Hunt, through his Civil War service with the Kentucky Mounted Infantry and beyond. It’s full of vivid characters, it's very funny and surprisingly moving, and you’ll be rooting for Harper throughout.
Dennis Carrigan's Ashland: 100 Years of a Lexington, Kentucky Neighborhood is a love letter to the neighborhood he’s lived in for decades. Featuring photographs by Walter Foreman, the book details the development of this beautiful, architecturally rich area, designed by the noted Olmsted Brothers firm and built on land that was once part of Henry Clay’s Ashland estate. I grew up nearby and spent many happy hours biking Ashland's streets with childhood friends, so I was delighted to help bring this book to fruition.
Handed a Greater Purpose is Jason Koger’s memoir about his life as the first bilateral upper arm amputee to be fitted with two multi-articulating bionic hands. With optimism, honesty, and humor, Koger—a devoted husband and father, motivational speaker, and advocate and fundraiser for amputees—here creates a truly inspiring story and a deep profession of faith.
Steven Walker has led a diverse career in defense, government, and academia. His second book, Kentucky's First Senator: The Life and Times of John Brown, 1757–1837, tells the life story of Sen. John Brown, who played an integral role in the establishment and early governance of Kentucky. This book perfectly balances descriptions of sweeping historical changes with small details of domestic life, truly making the reader feel what life must have been like in that time and place and for this extraordinary man.