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The Calloway County Public Library announces two virtual discussion opportunities featuring Kentucky Humanities 2020 Kentucky Reads

A Statewide literacy initiative featuring Hannah Coulter by Kentucky native Wendell Berry


The Calloway County Public Library announces two virtual discussion opportunities featuring Kentucky Humanities 2020 Kentucky Reads A Statewide literacy initiative featuring Hannah Coulter by Kentucky native Wendell Berry

MURRAY, KY. (August 19, 2020) – The Calloway County Public Library is pleased to host two virtual discussion opportunities featuring Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter. The novel is the centerpiece of Kentucky Humanities 2020 project, Kentucky Reads. The discussions are designed to inspire statewide conversations about what it means to be part of a rural community, past, present, and future.

The discussions will be will presented virtually via Zoom on Sunday, September 27, 2:00-3:00 PM, and Tuesday, September 29, 6:00-7:00 PM.  To provide an opportunity for more engaging and active participation, registration will be limited in each session.  To register, interested persons may email their preferred discussion session to contactccpl@callowaycountylibrary.org.

Constance Alexander, award-winning author, poet, and scholar, will facilitate both discussions.

“There is so much to talk about in this novel,” Ms. Alexander said. “All the discussions of Hillbilly Elegy, Appalachian Reckoning other recent non-fiction works about rural America do not seem to capture the spirit that Wendell Berry evokes in Hannah Coulter. He weaves in history with human interactions in a small, Kentucky town and manages to tell a universal story through the lens of one woman. We follow Hannah as a girl, young woman, lover, wife, widow, mother. She is never far from her rural home town, but she exemplifies sensible wisdom and grace as she witnesses personal losses, environmental desecration, and the encroachment of the new economy on rural living.

Copies of the novel, which were provided by the Kentucky Humanities, are now available for checkout from the Calloway County Public Library.  The book is also available to borrow in ebook and audiobook formats from CCPL’s Kentucky Libraries Unbound and Hoopla digital services.

“Selecting Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter as the focus for our 2020 Kentucky Reads was an obvious choice given its close ties to the Smithsonian traveling exhibit, we are bringing to the state beginning September 2020,” said Bill Goodman, Kentucky Humanities Executive Director. “Crossroads: Change in Rural America brings forward many of the same themes found in Hannah Coulter — themes that are prevalent and important at this time, just as they have been for generations.”

Hannah Coulter is Wendell Berry’s seventh novel and a continuation of his Port William, Kentucky saga. This is the first novel by Berry to be told from the perspective of a female character, an elderly farmwife looking back on her life and community even though they are threatened by twentieth-century technologies.

Born in New Castle, Kentucky, Wendell Berry is a poet, essayist, novelist, and farmer. He attended the University of Kentucky, earning a B.A. and an M.A. in English. Berry has taught at Stanford University, Georgetown College, New York University, the University of Cincinnati, Bucknell University, and the University of Kentucky. He is the author of more than 40 books. Berry has received numerous honors and awards, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Ingersoll Foundation’s T. S. Elliot Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the 2012 Jefferson Lecturer, to name a few. Berry and his wife, Tanya Amyx Berry, live on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.

Kentucky Humanities’ first edition of Kentucky Reads, in 2018, featured Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel: All the King’s Men to guide statewide conversations on contemporary populism, political discourse, and their relationship to journalism.

Hannah Coulter was selected in conjunction with the arrival of the Smithsonian traveling exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America coming to seven Kentucky communities beginning October 2020. The schedule for the exhibit can be found at https://www.kyhumanities.org/programs/smithsonian-exhibit-crossroads

Kentucky Humanities is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. For information about Kentucky Humanities’ programs and services, including Kentucky Reads, visit kyhumanities.org.

The Calloway County Public Library is located at 710 Main Street, Murray, KY, and online at https://callowaycountylibrary.org.  Currently, the library is open to limited traffic with the modified hours of Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM, and Closed Saturday & Sunday.

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