Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame 2019: The Ed and Gurney Show

Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame 2019: The Ed and Gurney Show

a podium with the kentucky writers hall of a fame sign and two banners with ed and gurney's faces and names on it

The other evening, a few writers, journalists, and a poet from Kentucky were honored in an induction ceremony at The Kentucky Theater. The Carnegie Center’s Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame. Past inductees include Wendell Berry, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Barbara Kingsolver, just to name a few.

a man in a blue cardigan at a podium giving a speech
Photo by Claire Ramsay/ Ace

Neil Chethick, Carnegie Center Director, gave everyone two reasons as to why this hall of fame was started. 1) He wanted this to lift up 200 years worth of local writing and show that what they do is appreciated and not forgotten. 2) To inspire other local writers to keep writing. That “one day they will be on this stage being inducted.”

There were 6 writers inducted that evening, only two of which are still living. Sue Grafton was the first to be named and New York Times Best Selling author (and local author) Gwenda Bond did a reading from Sue’s first book in her alphabet mystery series, “A” is for Alibi. Next was journalist Alice Allison Dunnigan and a relative of hers, Stephanie Malone, read an excerpt from one of Alice’s works.

Then came another journalist, Helen Thomas. Linda Blackford represented her with a reading from one of Helen’s works. Poet Jane Gentry was honored that night with one of her daughters, Lucy, reading from an old speech Jane made a few years prior. Then gave remarks of her own about Jane being her mother.

a man in a green sweater at a podium giving a speech
Photo by Claire Ramsay/ Ace

Before the two living inductees were given the stage a local poet, Frank X Walker, read one of his works while getting the audience involved. He would signal when they should say their line, “Thank you, world.” Once Frank finished, Chethik first introduced Ed McClanahan.

Like always, his speech had the audience “laughing out loud” with his many jokes. “Captain Kentucky” started by telling everyone that “he was sick and probably had gotten at least 50 of you sick.” He did have a serious moment when he dedicated this night and this honor to his late son. He was originally going to read a much longer excerpt, but changed it up because he was sick, so he read The Imp of Writing.

Last and most certainly not least, Gurney Norman was inducted into the hall of fame and he too did not disappoint. He first started giving a few bits of history like information and stats about Voyager 1 and that all the oceans would cover Kentucky 5 times. He simply said “I just like to think about those kind of things.” He read from his latest novel that comes out mid-March called Allegiance. Something that again made the audience “laugh out loud”.

two men at a table signing books
Photo by Claire Ramsay/ Ace

The evening ended with many lining up to have their books signed by the now hall of famers and to get a picture. Thank you, Ed and Gurney, for taking readers and fans on the #edandgurneyshow. It was and still is a blast.







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