Kentucky Authors with Tom Eblen

Tom Eblen, literary liaison for the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning

About the series

In partnership with the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, we offer a series of conversations with Kentucky writers about their latest works.  Series host Tom Eblen is a journalist, writer, photographer and literary liaison at the Carnegie Center. Tom was metro/state columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader from 2008 to 2019 and the newspaper’s managing editor from 1998-2008. He returned to his hometown in 1998 after 14 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and five years with The Associated Press. He has won many awards, including the 2013 media award in the Kentucky Governor’s Awards in the Arts. He was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2016. He was a contributing author for the  book Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852 (University Press of Kentucky 2012).

Author Interviews

May 23, 2024 - Jerry Tipton discusses his memoir, Déjà Blue: A Sportswriter Reflects on 41 Seasons of Kentucky Basketball. LISTEN

May 9, 2024 - Lynelle Edwards found comfort and solace in poetry after many years of life with her mentally ill son. She discusses her book of poetry inspired by her experiences. LISTEN

April 18, 2024 - Larry Pemble discusses plans to honor the legacy of his father, James Baker Hall, by supporting and promoting the works of Kentucky writers and photographers. LISTEN

April 11, 2024 - Zoya Abbas is Lexington's new Youth Poet Laureate. She has a plan to use her skills as a poet in pursuit of a law dergee. And she offers some sage advice to those struggling with writers' block. LISTEN

March 14, 2024 - A conversation with author Fenton Johnson, among the 2024 inductees into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame. Johnson observes that for all its rich natural beauty and hospitality of its people, Kentucky has a penchant for shooting itself in the foot. He offers an explanation. LISTEN

February 29, 2024 - Richard Taylor's non-fiction “Fathers” is the focus of this conversation with the former Kentucky Poet Laureate, novelist and historian. LISTEN

January 18, 2024 - A lyrical culinary journey that explores the hidden legacy of Black Appalachians, through powerful storytelling alongside nearly forty comforting recipes, from the former poet laureate of Kentucky. Tom Eblen discusses Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts with author Crystal Wilkinson. LISTEN

November 16, 2023 - Lexington author Chris McGinley discusses his Appalachian crime novel, “Once These Hills.” LISTEN

September 21, 2023 - Pulitzer prize-winning author Barbara Kingsolver discusses the research and process that went into the development of the endearing characters of her Appalachian novel "Demon Copperhead." LISTEN

 June 22, 2023 - "The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts." Author, Kentucky human rights attorney Stephen Bright, is Tom's guest. LISTEN

June 1, 2023 - Lexington author Janet Holloway's latest memoir recalls her West Virginia upbringing under the care and influence of a strong, moonshining grandmother.  Holloway sits down with Tom to detail the hard-scrabble childhood that yields "Ain't Nobody's Business if I Do." LISTEN

May 11, 2023 - A conversation with Lexington author Hannah Pittard about her new book, "We Are Too Many, Kind Of", a candid account of the aftermath of her own divorce following the discovery that her husband was having an affair with her best friend. Pittard uses the experience to explore her childhood, bad decisions, eating disorders, and other areas of self-reflection that often accompany a failed marriage. LISTEN

 May 4, 2023 - Tom's guest is Jonathan Greene, author of more than 20 chapbooks and volumes of poetry. LISTEN

March 2, 2023 - From the website of Tom Eblen’s guest: “A bicultural child of a Malay mother and an Indian father, Amelia Zachry was different from the get-go, never quite fitting in. In this raw, inspiring memoir, she chronicles the long, winding journey that brought her from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Kentucky, USA—the place she and her family now call home.” LISTEN

January 5, 2023 - Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Richard Taylor, author of numerous collections of poetry, two novels, and several books relating to Kentucky history, on becoming an inductee into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame. LISTEN 

DECEMBER 15 - Hominy or Grits? Author Georgia Green Stamper takes on the question in conversation with Tom Eblen about her new book of essays, "Small Acreages." LISTEN

December 1, 2022 - Former Kentucky Poet Laureate Jeff Worley discusses his new book and why he found himself writing an overheard comment on a banana peel. LISTEN

October 20, 2022 -  Tom Eblen and novelist Geraldine Brooks in conversation about "Horse", Brooks' book about the famed racehorse "Lexington" and the pervasive racism within the racing industry of the 19th century. LISTEN 

September 1, 2022 - An interview with award-winning, writer, teacher and editor Ellen Birkett Morris, author of "Lost Girls," Morris' collection of short stories. LISTEN

May 5, 2022Louisville historian Emily Bingham discusses her book "My Old Kentucky Home: The Astonishing Life and Reckoning of an Iconic American Song" - the Kentucky State Anthem. Bingham reveals, and a rendition by the baritone Paul Robeson confirms, that the song is "first and always a song about slavery." LISTEN

July 2, 2020: Tom discusses The Year of Peril: America in 1942 with author and UK historian Tracy CampbellLISTEN

August 13, 2020 - Tom discusses the value and importance of solitude with Fenton Johnson, author of At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life  - LISTEN

September 10, 2020: Tom discusses her new book, Dear Ann, with celebrated Kentucky  author Bobbie Ann Mason -  LISTEN

October 8, 2020 - Kentucky poet Lynnell Edwards joins Tom to talk about her new collection of poems published under the title, This Great Green Valley - LISTEN

October 29, 2020 - Josh Douglas joins Tom to discuss the UK law professor's  new book, Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting - LISTEN

November 12, 2020 - Tom talks with Beverly Bell about her fact-based novel, The Murder of Marion Miley.  - LISTEN

December 3, 2020 - Ashley Runyon, Director of the University Press of Kentucky discusses the challenges of publishing in an ever-shifting media landscape. - LISTEN

December 10, 2020 - With Cassie Chamber Armstrong. The film adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy has renewed spirited conversations about the JD Vance memoir. Tom Eblen discusses it with Cassie Chambers Armstrong, author of an Atlantic essay about the film, as well as a new book, Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains. - LISTEN

January 26-27, 2021 - Nikky Finney - The celebrated Kentucky author discusses her induction into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame - LISTEN

January 28, 2021 - Frank X Walker - On synthesizing the major events of 2020 as works of poetry -  LISTEN

February 18, 2021 - Leesa Cross-Smith discusses her latest novel,  This Close to Okay  - LISTEN

April 8, 2021 - More than a cookbook: Ouita Michel's literary debut, Just a Few Miles South  - LISTEN

April 29, 2021 - With Kentucky's outgoing and incoming Poet Laureates Jeff Worley and Crystal Wilkinson - LISTEN

September 2, 2021 - Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses her book "Perfect Black" - LISTEN

September 30, 2021 - Pulitzer Prize finalist Margaret Verble of Lexington on her latest, When Two Feathers Fell From the Sky - LISTEN

October 14, 2021 - Jayne Moore Waldrop on her debut novel,  Drowned Towns - LISTEN

November 11, 2021 - Ada Limon on hosting the public media poetry podcast that calls on us to do as the title suggests, The Slowdown - LISTEN

December 9, 2021 - Archeologist Chris Begley on his book, The Next Apocalypse, The Art and Science of Survival - LISTEN

December 23, 2022 - Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson  offers a reading from her contribution to  the anthology "A Kentucky Christmas." LISTEN

December 23, 2022 - How did standing beneath a sprig of Christmas mistletoe become an invitation to a kiss? Richard Taylor, former Kentucky Poet Laureate and Kenan Visiting Writer at Transylvania University, discusses the tradition and his father's annual harvesting of the parasitic treetop plant in the anthology "A Kentucky Christmas." LISTEN

January 13, 2022 - In The Assault on Elisha Green: Race and Religion in a Kentucky Community, historian Randolph Paul Runyon recounts one man's pursuit of justice over violence and racism in the nineteenth century. LISTEN

February 10, 2022 - A conversation with Kentucky writer Marianne Worthington about "The Girl Singer," her book of poetry honoring the women of classic country and folk music. LISTEN | VIDEO

March 3, 2022 - Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses her new book of poetry "Perfect Black" LISTEN

March 17, 2022 - George Ella Lyon on the occasion of the poet's induction in the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame - LISTEN

May 5, 2022 - You may have sung the first verse of Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” but are you aware of the story of slavery told in the remaining verses? Historian Emily Bingham has published a book about it. Tom Eblen gets details and we listen to a version performed by baritone Paul Robeson. LISTEN

 July 7, 2022 - The ravages of addiction play a central role in Wrecked, the latest young adult novel by Heather Henson. Tom Eblen gets details of the new book. LISTEN

 July 21, 2022 - A chat with Lexington’s Ada Limón on her appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate. LISTEN

August 4, 2022 - Bobi Conn discusses her debut novel, "A Woman in Time". LISTEN