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Wendell Berry, NEH’s Jon Parrish Peede to speak at Kentucky Book Fair at noon on Saturday

Kentucky Humanities is pleased to welcome author Wendell Berry and NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede to the UK Main Stage at the Kentucky Book Fair on Saturday, November 17 at 12 noon.

The Kentucky Book Fair will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park Alltech Arena.
Jon Parrish Peede was appointed Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2017. His previous positions include Publisher of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia, Literature Grants Director at the National Endowment for the Arts, Counselor to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, Director of Communications at Millsaps College, founding Editor of Millsaps Magazine, and Editor at Mercer University Press with a focus on the humanities, literature, and Southern culture. As a speechwriter, he has written for a U.S. President, First Lady, Librarian of Congress, and military and corporate leaders.

Jon Peede

Wendell Berry is a novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. He is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer for 2012. He is also a 2013 Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berry was named the recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. On January 28, 2015, he became the first living writer to be inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame. He lives on a farm in his native Henry County with his wife, Tanya Berry. Berry’s latest book, The Farm, is a reprint of the book-length poem originally published by Larkspur Press in 1995.
Berry and Peede both share a deep commitment to promoting the humanities, a topic that they’ll cover during their on-stage discussion. Peede commented on the importance of the humanities at this point in our history on a recent episode of Think Humanities, the Kentucky Humanities podcast: “The humanities are a natural part of the solution for the times we live in.”

Wendell Berry

He continued, “When the legislation establishing the NEH was written, the bill included the words, ‘Our democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.’ That’s important to me, so when I think about the humanities, I think about the responsibility we have to each other. I don’t think you can be a fully-formed citizen if you do not have the humanities and humanistic studies embedded in your life.”
Dr. Morris Grubbs, Assistant Dean of the Graduate School and Director of the Office of Graduate Student Professional Development at the University of Kentucky, will moderate the conversation between Berry and Peede. “Kentucky Humanities has done us all a great favor in coordinating this conversation between two of America’s greatest thinkers,” Grubbs says. “Among the topics will be the power of books, the diminishment of the humanities in the rise of science and technology, and how the humanities can help strengthen rural America and American democracy.” Grubbs adds, “It’s my pleasure to be part of this conversation with two people I admire greatly.”
The 37th annual Kentucky Book Fair is the anchor event of the Kentucky Book Festival, taking place November 12-17. The Kentucky Book Festival would not be possible without our sponsors, donors, and community partners. More information on the Festival, including a full list of sponsors, events, and authors can be found at the website or by calling (859) 257-5932.

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