Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame will honor six new members Monday evening in Lexington

Kentucky Lantern

The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame will honor six new members Monday evening at The Kentucky Theatre in Lexington.

The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6. p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

This year’s living inductees are:

George C. Wolfe

George C. Wolfe, “titan of the American theatre,” according to The New Yorker.

The playwright and three-time Tony award winning director of plays and movies grew up in Frankfort. Among Wolfe’s many creative achievements, he directed Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.” Wolfe’s “Rustin,” now on Netflix, is a biography of Bayard Rustin, whose contributions to the civil rights movement have been obscured because he was gay.

Fenton Johnson

Fenton Johnson, whose “Scissors, Paper, Rock” was the first major fiction about the AIDS crisis’ in rural America.

Johnson’s fiction and nonfiction are steeped in the culture and history of his native Nelson County and his family’s association with the Abbey of Gethsemani. His novels include “The Man Who Loved Birds” and his nonfiction includes “Geography of the Heart: A Memoir” and “Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey among Christian and Buddhist Monks.”

Mary Ann Taylor-Hall

Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, a transplant to Kentucky whose fiction and poetry are suffused with the landscape and life of her rural Harrison County home.

Her novel “Come and Go, Molly Snow” is about Bluegrass music and a gifted fiddler’s struggle after a tragic loss sends her into the care of two older women on a small farm. “At the Breakers,” set in a hotel under renovation in coastal New Jersey, plumbs family and personal renewal.

The posthumous inductees are:

  • Mary Lee Settle (1918-2005), a National Book Award winner for her novel “Blood Tie.” Spent her childhood in Pineville and was a founder of the annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
  • Paul Brett Johnson (1947-2011), a landscape painter who wrote and illustrated children’s books, including “The Cow Who Wouldn’t Come Down” and “Farmers’ Market” inspired by Lexington’s farmers’ market.
  • Billy C. Clark (1928-2009), a writer of  prose and poems who grew up in Catlettsburg. Time magazine said his autobiography is “as authentically American as Huckleberry Finn.”

Also, the second Kentucky Literary Impact award will be presented to the late Mike Mullins, who was director of the Hindman Settlement School from 1977 until his death in 2012. As director, he built the annual Appalachian Writers Workshop into a nationally known program and promoted the careers of many Kentucky writers.

The Hall of Fame was created by the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in 2012 to recognize outstanding writers with strong ties to Kentucky, according to a release from the Lexington nonprofit. 

Hall of Fame members are chosen by committees at the Carnegie Center and the Kentucky Arts Council that include accomplished Kentucky writers.

Kentucky Lantern is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kentucky Lantern maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jamie Lucke for questions: Follow Kentucky Lantern on Facebook and Twitter. Kentucky Lantern stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Donate to Kentucky Lantern here.