September 29, 2016

Jayne Moore Waldrop

Kentucky’s premier literary event is set for Nov. 5 when readers and writers come together in celebration of books at the 35th annual Kentucky Book Fair at the Frankfort Convention Center. The event runs from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with books signings, readings and panel discussions scheduled throughout the day.

In addition, the sixth annual KBF Kids Day is scheduled for Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., also at the convention center. More than 500 elementary and middle school students from 13 schools will meet and talk with several authors of children’s and young adults books.

This year 170 local and national authors are scheduled to attend the book fair. About 3,500 readers come each year, too. Scheduled to appear are bestselling Kentucky writers Wendell Berry, Kim Edwards, Bobbie Ann Mason, Gurney Norman, Tiffany Reisz, Frank X Walker, J. R. Ward, Crystal Wilkinson and others. National authors include Craig Johnson, Juan F. Thompson (son of the late Hunter S. Thompson), Sharyn McCrumb, marriage equality advocate Jim Obergefell, Mark Wilkerson, and former U. S. Rep. Barney Frank.

The public can attend presentations and panel discussions with authors and guest scholars. Panel discussion topics include the role of food in southern identity, geek culture’s move into mainstream entertainment, and a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Affrilachian Poets.

This is the first year of a new management arrangement for the event. Previously operated by a nonprofit independent board of volunteers, the Kentucky Book Fair is now presented by the Kentucky Humanities Council, in partnership with the Kentucky Book Fair board. A complete list of events and authors may be found at

New books at the fair

True stories behind infamous crime ballads

CrimeSong: True Crime Stories from Southern Murder Ballads by Richard H. Underwood (Shadelandhouse Modern Press) is a unique book that goes behind the words of well-known music to tell about the bad acts that inspired the songs.

For generations, American ballads have told stories of murder and mayhem. Underwood is well known in legal circles as a law professor at the University of Kentucky. His meticulous research and expertise in trial procedure combine to recount the details of criminal acts that became the basis for songs.

The book is published by a new small publisher in Lexington committed to publishing compelling nonfiction and fiction from established and emerging writers. Shadelandhouse produces high quality, artistic books, and acts as its own book distributor under a model that sells and distributes directly to consumers, retail stores, and libraries. Information about the press and its submission process is at