The 17th annual Kentucky Women’s Book Festival will feature several authors Saturday, March 4th, 2023 virtually on Microsoft Teams 10am-1pm. The festival will be recorded and posted afterwards.

The festival’s opening speaker will be Emily Bigham. Born in Louisville, Kentucky into a journalism family, Emily early on decided she wanted to write. Among her grade-school efforts was a poem inspired by the typewriter her father gave her as a child, and on which he typed bedtime stories as he told them. Her poem, “Typewriter,” weighed the options—poet, novelist, journalist. The opportunity to dig deep into the past to tell true stories that shine a light on how we got here came later when she caught the bug for archival research and enrolled in Chapel Hill’s US history doctoral program.

Emily is currently Visiting Honors Faculty Fellow at Bellarmine University. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in Vogue, Ohio Valley History, The Journal of Southern History, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and New England Review. Her books are Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham (2015), Mordecai: An Early American Family (2003), and, as editor with Thomas A. Underwood, The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal: Essays After I’ll Take My Stand (2001).

Her most recent book, My Old Kentucky Home: The Astonishing Life of Reckoning of An Iconic American Song, unearths performances, recordings, and protests, tracing one song’s entrance into the bloodstream of American life and through to its twenty-first century reassessment. This revelatory account of how a melody can be so memorable but also so formed by forgetting is a story for a country yearning for healing.

She and her husband Stephen Reily have three children.

Other speakers will include:

  • Farrah Alexander, writer, author, and activist. Her books include, RAISING THE RESISTANCE: A Mother’s Guide to Practical Activism and Resistance in the Bluegrass: Empowering the Commonwealth.
  • Angela Jackson-Brown, an award-winning writer, poet and playwright. Her books include, Drinking from a Bitter Cup, House Repairs, When Stars Rain Down and the 2022 upcoming novel, The Light Always Breaks.

The Women’s Center hosts the event, which is part of the university’s observance of Women’s History Month.


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