Julie Wrinn's blog

Evie Shockley's Life-Giving Words

KyWomenWriters2020 was extraordinary in many ways and foremost in its keynote reading by Evie Shockley, sponsored by University of Kentucky Libraries. After sharing poems from her brilliant 2017 collection, semiautomatic, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Evie segued to new, unpublished work. She read a poem that we couldn’t help feeling was a special gift to Kentucky, entitled (if I’ve transcribed properly):

“Breonna Taylor’s Final Rest, or The Furies Are Still Activists”

Covid Plot Twist? Q&A with UKNow

Recently I was interviewed by University of Kentucky publicist Whitney Hale for UKNow, which is also available at this link: https://uknow.uky.edu/uk-happenings/covid-plot-twist-virtual-format-lead...

UKNow: How and when did you decide to take this annual conference virtual? Did you ever consider canceling?

Wrinn: Our Board of Directors met in late April (on Zoom, of course) and decided to make it a virtual conference. That early in the pandemic, we were already having “uncertainty fatigue” and wanted to commit to making the conference happen virtually, somehow, details TBA. We never considered canceling. Many people know that ours is the longest running event of its kind in the nation — this is the 42nd annual conference — and we felt a responsibility to uphold that legacy, to encourage, lift up, and inspire women writers and readers, especially during a pandemic.

If You're Still on the Fence . . .

If you are still on the fence about attending this year’s Kentucky Women Writers Conference, now less than a week away, you may enjoy this interview with our Board president, Randi Ewing, who spoke to Eastern Standard’s Tom Martin on 88.9 WEKU: https://esweku.org/track/2455952/martin-ewing.

Darcey Steinke & Writing the Body

In these days of cloistering and virtual reality, it’s harder than ever to remember that we inhabit bodies in space and time, and that our physical experiences are worth writing about. As someone who loves reading and writing about both sports and dance (including this fascinating new essay by British author Clair Wills, “Stepping Out,”), I was especially excited to learn that our KyWomenWriters2020 presenter Darcey Steinke would be teaching a workshop for us on “Writing the Body.” Darcey describes this workshop as follows:

Join the Ky Women Writers Online to Turn “Lament and Upheaval” into Art

Our local newspaper, the Lexington Herald-Leader, graciously offered space for me to share my thoughts about what it means to hold the conference during these unusual times. You will recognize the lede from an earlier blog post here! What follows is the text of my op-ed from August 14, 2020, also available at this link: https://www.kentucky.com/opinion/op-ed/article244914312.html.

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 3, 2020
Since this holiday weekend sadly offers no holiday from our country’s ongoing crises, I hope you at least get some outdoor time, away from screens. What screen time you do spend, however, consider using it to explore the authors, schedule, and workshops that are now posted for our conference. After a couple months’ delay to reimagine it as a virtual gathering, we are now accepting registrations for the 42nd annual Kentucky Women Writers Conference Virtual Edition on September 10–13, 2020 (NOT Sept. 17–20 as previously announced). For more information or to register, please visit www.kentuckywomenwriters.org. All five workshops have availability, and admission to the rest of the conference—readings, crafts talks, publishing seminars, and panels—is a mere $25.

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.