First awarded in 2003, the Kentucky Literary Award is a celebration of Kentucky literature. Eligible books include those written by Kentuckians or books with a substantial Kentucky theme. Fiction and non-fiction works will be considered in alternating years.
The winner of the 2014 Kentucky Literary Award was The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones. In The Next Time You See Me, the disappearance of one woman, the hard-drinking and unpredictable Ronnie Eastman, reveals the ambitions, prejudices, and anxieties of a small southern town and its residents. Holly Goddard Jones is a native of Russellville, Kentucky and she attended WKU before completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky and an MFA in creative writing at Ohio State University. Published in 2013 by Touchstone, The Next Time You See Me is the first novel by Jones. She is also the author of a short story collection, Girl Trouble.
Along with The Next Time You See Me, finalists for the 2014 Kentucky Literary Award were Ghosting by Kirby Gann, Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler, and The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman by Sena Jeter Naslund.
The winner of the 2014 Kentucky Literary Award was announced at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest’s Meet the Authors Reception on Friday, April 25, 2014.
The 2015 Kentucky Literary Award will go to a work of non-fiction written by a Kentuckian or with a significant Kentucky theme. The winner will be announced at the Meet the Authors Reception for the Southern Kentucky Book Fest on Friday, April 17, 2015.
Eligibility: Books eligible for the Kentucky Literary Award must have been written by a Kentucky author or have a Kentucky-related theme. A Kentucky author is defined as a writer meeting one or more of the following qualifications: a native-born Kentuckian; an author living in Kentucky; an author whose permanent home address is Kentucky but who does not at present live in Kentucky.
The selection committee welcomes suggestions for consideration; however, the committee determines the finalists for the award. If you have a suggestion for the Kentucky Literary Award, please contact Kristie Lowry through the contact link on this website. For full consideration, nominations for the award must be submitted by December 1, 2013, and the book must be a work of fiction published between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013. No self-published, publish-on-demand, non-English, or reprinted book will be considered. Textbooks, children’s books, edited collections, cookbooks, poetry, and anthologies will not be considered.
Procedures: The Kentucky Literary Award Selection Committee will review books that meet the criteria for the award and ultimately determine which works will be considered for the award. No entry fee is required. The Southern Kentucky Book Fest will request review copies of any book that they would like to consider for the award. Additional review copies may be needed for finalists.
Judges: A panel of judges selected by the partners of the Southern Kentucky Book Fest (WKU Libraries, Barnes & Noble, and Warren County Public Library) will consider all finalists. Awards will be granted at the discretion of the Selection Committee. Entries will be judged principally on the quality of the writing, but interpretation, organization, and presentation will also be considered in the decision.
Announcement of winner: The winner will be announced at the Meet the Authors Reception held the evening before the Southern Kentucky Book Fest.
Award: The winner will be given a commemorative certificate and a cash prize of $500.
2013 – Non-Fiction - The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America’s Premier Sporting Event by Dr. James Nicholson
2012 – Fiction - The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason
2008-2011 – Award Hiatus
2007 – Fiction - Kentucky Waltz by Garry Barker
2007 – Non-Fiction - Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan
2007 – Poetry - Dismal Rock by Davis McCombs
2006 – Fiction - Abundance by Selena Jeter Naslund
2006 – Non-Fiction - Beaver Creek by Michelle Slatalla
2006 – Poetry - Happy Hour at the Two Keys Tavern by Jeff Worley
2005 – Fiction -The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
2005 – Non-Fiction -Thomas Merton’s Gethsemani by Monica Weis
2005 – Poetry - Given by Wendell Berry
2004 – Fiction -The Coal Tattoo by Silas House
2004 – Non-Fiction -A Taste of the Sweet Apple by Joanna Holt Watson
2004 – Poetry -The Total Light Process by James Baker Hall
2003 – Fiction -Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by Z.Z. Packer
2003 – Non-Fiction -Keeping Faith by Fenton Johnson
2003 – Poetry -Afternoon in the Country of Summer by Charles Semones
2002 – Fiction - A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
2002 – Non-Fiction - Elvis Presley by Bobbie Ann Mason