Julie Wrinn's blog

NYC Literary Agent & Author Erin Hosier

Literary agents have singular insight into the many complex and mysterious aspects of the business of publishing. They understand the perspectives of both writers and editors and work to find a concert of interests in the business proposition that is a book contract. They can seem like unapproachable gurus, until you actually meet one and realize that they are a bastion of literary culture and true champions of their authors. For all of these reasons, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference wouldn’t be complete without the participation of a leading literary agent, and this year we are thrilled to announce that this role will be filled by someone who is both an agent and an author herself, Erin Hosier.

Congratulations to the Betty Gabehart Prize winners!

Not everyone can be Taylor Swift, coming out with a surprise album written during the pandemic that’s earning ecstatic reviews. But this year’s Betty Gabehart Prize winners in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction are to be commended for also not letting the many crises of 2020 prevent them from submitting beautiful and serious work that wowed the judges on our Board of Directors. Without further ado, I extend my heartiest congratulations to:

Marci Cornett of Morehead, Kentucky, for the short story, “The Black Veil”
Amanda Hawkins of Woodland, California, for “Ars Poetica” and other poems
Lisa Kent of Columbia, Missouri, for the essay “Death, Rock Me to Sleep”

Hiring Social Media Specialist; KyWomenWriters Radio Hour

July 15, 2020
As part of equity and inclusion efforts at Kentucky Women Writers, our Board of Directors has been seeking new ways to connect with more diverse groups of women writers and readers. I’m delighted to announce that one of these initiatives is the hiring of a Social Media Specialist to raise awareness among underrepresented women about the 42nd annual Kentucky Women Writers Conference–Virtual Edition. Due to the pandemic, this year’s conference is taking place online on September 10–13, and it will be the most accessible and affordable in our recent history. We want to embrace this opportunity to build the most diverse group of participants we have ever welcomed. The Social Media Specialist will help us achieve that goal. It is a part-time, temporary position, reporting to our Board of Directors.

Registration, KyWomenWriters Radio Hour, & Shauna Morgan

July 1, 2020

The 42nd annual Kentucky Women Writers Conference has remained in its chrysalis longer than usual as we reimagined how it might look as a virtual event. So I am thrilled to announce that today we are finally beginning online registration for KyWomenWriters2020 Virtual Edition, taking place on September 10–13, 2020 (NOT Sept. 17-20 as previously announced). We feel a responsibility to encourage, lift up, and inspire women writers, and we know that all of us need connection, role models, and great teaching.

The Way We Live Now

June 5, 2020
Breonna Taylor was killed inside her home by Louisville police intending to search for evidence in a drug investigation of suspects who had already been apprehended. This happened on March 13, just as the nation was preoccupied with shutting down for the coronavirus. Ms. Taylor was a student at the University of Kentucky in 2011 and went on to serve as an emergency medical technician, working two jobs as a first responder. Today would have been her 27th birthday.

Bridgett M. Davis, Jamey Temple, and the Betty Gabehart Prizes

April 24, 2020
I was driving Mary Gaitskill to the airport after KyWomenWriters2018 when she mentioned her new favorite author. A nervous person whose heightened sensitivities seem linked to a deep empathy for the flawed characters of her fiction, Mary was visibly uncomfortable in my old car. When the mysterious thumping noise in the dashboard began, always triggered by turning off the AC, Mary asked, “What is that noise?” “I wish I knew,” I replied. It was a short drive from her hotel to the Bluegrass Airport, and we didn’t have time to say much, but Mary especially wanted me to know her most ardent author recommendation for a future conference: Bridgett M. Davis.

Encouragement from John Keats and Jami Attenberg

April 4, 2020
Uncertainty is a fact of life, but I’m not sure it has governed our day-to-day existence to this degree in my lifetime. It’s strange and scary not knowing what the next three, six, or nine months will look like. Kentucky’s governor, Andy Beshear, notes in his heroic daily press conferences that our uncertainty pales in comparison to World War II, where no one knew how long the war would last. We know there will be a vaccine for the coronavirus in 12 to 18 months, and that normal life will return by then or sooner. But that doesn’t make it any easier to imagine what will happen in the meantime.

Hunkering Down

March 20, 2020
When you wake up in the morning, how long does it take you to remember COVID-19? It was a gorgeous first day of spring here in the bluegrass, but honestly, I am struggling to strike a reassuring note. Each new cancellation and closure has brought fresh pain for our community of writers—“the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to”—so many of whom are part of the gig economy. Kentucky Women Writers is enriched by many older voices, the population most at risk, and we are worried about how you are faring.

Gabehart, Hindman, Bayeza, Majok, Gatwood, Link, Morris

March 6, 2020
I remember the days when book reviews were a staple of local newspapers, written by journalists whose taste I knew and trusted. Books are still being reviewed in national publications, of course, but I miss the local voices. Now more than ever, amidst the bombardment of a 24/7 news cycle that seems to drown out everything else, critics play a crucial role in helping readers find books that are meaningful to them. Since 1975 the National Book Critics Circle has adjudicated book awards in 6 categories, the only national awards determined by critics and reviewers themselves. This year, they've nominated one of our own.

Evie Shockley & Mary Oliver

January 20, 2020
Recently my thoughts have been full of poems by Evie Shockley and Mary Oliver. Paths to becoming an acclaimed poet are sometimes mysterious, but usually there are early signs of a fierce intellect. Evie Shockley came to poetry after earning a law degree at the University of Michigan, practicing environmental law at a Chicago firm, and departing to earn a Ph.D. in English at Duke. Along the way she wrote poetry, and her third collection, semiautomatic (2017), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Shockley, I’m thrilled to announce, will be the keynote speaker at our September conference, and you can read more about her in our press release.