Sunday, December 11, 2016

UPK author recognized by PEN America Literary Awards


UPK author Rion Amilcar Scott’s first short story collection, "Insurrections: Stories," has been named to the longlist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, a PEN America Literary Award. The prize honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work — a novel or collection of short stories — represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. The winner receives a cash award of $25,000, a stipend intended to permit a significant degree of leisure in which to pursue a second work of literary fiction.

"Insurrections" joins nine other books on the longlist — "We Show What We Have Learned" by Clare Beams, "The Mothers" by Brit Bennett, "The Wangs vs. the World" by Jade Chang, "When Watched: Stories" by Leopoldine Core, "Hide" by Matthew Griffin, "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi, "Tuesday Nights in 1980" by Molly Prentiss, "Hurt People" by Cote Smith and "Wreck and Order" by Hannah Tennart-Moore. The judges for this year’s award are Jami Attenberg, Tawni Nandini Islam, Randall Kenan, Hanna Pyalvainen and Akhil Sharma.

Award finalists will be announced by PEN America on Jan. 18, 2017. Winners will be announced at the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 27, 2017, at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium.

"Insurrections" centers on the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, an African-American community that was founded in 1807 by slaves after the only successful revolt in the United States. Grappling with the experiences of adolescence, brotherhood, mistaken identity, child raising, abuse and particularly, hope, each story showcases Scott’s unique ability to flesh out intricately imagined characters and to narrate from a variety of perspectives, often revolving around children who display more wisdom, compassion and tact than their adult counterparts.

Early reviews of "Insurrections" have lauded Scott’s original and powerful voice. It was included on LitHub’s list of “18 Books You Should Read this August,” and The Millions named it one of the most anticipated books for the second half of 2016. In his review for The Millions, Michael Deagler called Scott’s stories “vast and riotous.” On The Root website, Hope Wabuke praises Scott’s ability to “get into the heads of his characters and bring them to life as real, complicated souls. “In Scott’s hands,” she writes, “the short story collection becomes an epic album, each story placed in musical accordance with the next to craft a complete, melodic whole.”

In a conversation with Molly McArdle for Brooklyn magazine, Scott compares Cross River to Winesburg from Sherwood Anderson’s "Winesburg, Ohio," or the Springfield of "The Simpsons" — the kind of place “where things get out of hand. It’s also a place where people have a keen awareness of history: they’re all children of this insurrection. They’re trying to live up to that. It’s a place of people who awkwardly stumble towards some sense of freedom.” McArdle, “compared [the book] to hitting 10 grand slams in a row. It’s hyperbolic, sure,” she said, “but not entirely incorrect. ['Insurrections'] is a crazy streak of hits.”

Scott’s collection was also chosen as July’s selection by The Rumpus book club. Readers can also browse his “Booknotes” playlist at Largehearted Boy or read an excerpt in Electric Literature’s “Recommended Reading” column with an introduction by author Daniel José Older.

Scott’s book is the debut title in UPK's New Poetry and Prose series, edited by Lisa Williams and sponsored by Centre College. Williams selected Scott’s collection from more than 120 submissions.

Rion Amilcar Scott teaches English at Bowie State University. He earned an MFA at George Mason University, where he won both the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award and a Completion Fellowship. His work has appeared in publications such as the Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, The Rumpus, Fiction International, the Washington City Paper, The Toast and Confrontation.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pride Community Services Organization newsletters now online


The Pride Community Services Organization (PCSO) newsletters, starting with the first issue in 1979 and up to the present day, are now available online via University of Kentucky's digital library ExploreUK. Providing online access to the newsletters is an ongoing project between the PCSO and the UK SCRC.

PCSO is a Lexington community based organization that works to improve the lives of people in the sexual minority and gender expansive community of Central and Eastern Kentucky. The organization was originally the Gay Services Organization founded in 1977 by a group known as the UK Gay Liberation Front. The Gay Liberation Front was not an official student organization and there was a lawsuit filed to prevent the group from becoming an official student organization. (Click here to read more about the lawsuit Singletary v. Gay Liberation Front and the first Gay Liberation Front in New York.)

Starting in fall 2016, it took several months to digitize and catalog the 413 issues of the PCSO newsletter for a total of over 6,500 scans. Patrons now have access to the full range of the newsletter, starting with the August 1979 Gayzette, a one page sheet with printing on both sides. In 1981, the title changed to the Gay Newsletter, and a year later the title was changed to GSO Newsletter. There were several name changes and formats, and the most recent version of the publication is titled LinQ, which is a slick magazine style publication with several pages. New issues of the newsletter will continue to be added to ExploreUK.

According to Chad Hundley, PCSO office manager, the newsletters have included a little bit of everything over the years: recipes, news, gossip, social events, social issues, listing of LGBTQ affirming businesses, literature, and much more.  With a more regular publication schedule, the newsletters would become the only monthly LGBTQ* publication in Kentucky. Now, for the first time ever, there is free online access to all of the newsletter issues. To find issues of the PCSO collection of newsletters visit ExploreUK here.

The digitization of the PCSO newsletters was made possible through the work of Hundley and Christopher R. Bauer at the PCSO, and Associate Dean Deirdre Scaggs, Director of Digital Services Sarah Dorpinghaus, Special Collections Librarian Reinette Jones and graduate assistant Nicole Reynolds at the SCRC.

The UK SCRC is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection and ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Joe Phillips retires after 29 years with UK Libraries


Reginald “Joe” Phillips, will retire from his position with Facilities effective January 2, 2017. Joe has worked at UK Libraries for more than 29 years. “We congratulate Joe and wish him the best,” says Melissa Barlow, Finance and Administration director.

All the best Joe and thank you for your service to UK Libraries.

Shirley Greene retires after 42 years with UK Libraries


Shirley is retiring as serials check-in technician in the Print Serials Unit effective January 4, 2017. She began her UK career as a library technician at the Medical Center Library in 1974. As the library transitioned from a print based process to online check-in, Shirley rose to the challenge taking computer classes to improve her skills and working with a variety of Integrated library systems over the years.

“I was very pleased to have Shirley join us in Young in 2010,” says Catherine “Kate” Seago, director of Acquisitions. “She has been our lead person handling print serials check in for several years now. She is very conscientious and takes great pride in getting the journal issues out accurately and quickly. She has also regularly made contributions to UK Libraries by serving on the hospitality committee, and to the university by her service on the University Staff Appreciation Day committee.”

Kate adds that all of Shirley’s supervisors have consistently pointed out Shirley’s easy communication with patrons and fellow staff members, her willingness to work on a variety of projects, and her attention to detail.

Thank you Shirley for your service and best wishes for the future. 


UK's Nunn Center, West Chester University students chronicle the First Great Migration online


Over 100 years ago, thousands of African Americans began to leave the Jim Crow racism of the South and ventured north to Philadelphia. In what became known as the First Great Migration from 1910-1930, the City of Brotherly Love's African-American population jumped from 85,000 to 222,000. The change to the Pennsylvania city's makeup and the new citizens' search for opportunity and equality would have a profound impact on the city.

On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First Great Migration, Doug Boyd and UK Libraries Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History and a team of history students from West Chester University, led by faculty Charles Hardy
III and Janneken Smucker, have utilized a vast selection of digital tools as a supplement to oral histories to give a more robust understanding of this movement to the public online.

The project between the two universities is built around Nunn Center interviews conducted by Hardy during the 1980s with African Americans who migrated to Philadelphia and black Philadelphians who witnessed their arrival and impact. The interviews were originally conducted as part of a public history project with the Philadelphia History Museum and were used to produce a series of public radio documentaries, “Goin' North: Tales of the Great Migration,” that were accompanied by an educational supplement published by the Philadelphia Daily News. In his desire for new generations to know the story behind the Great Migration,
Hardy contacted Boyd at the Nunn Center in 2014 to discuss digitizing the collection and using UK's Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) technology to help tell these stories in a new way.

Today, “Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia” reimagines the 1980s project as a collaborative initiative linking archives and the college classroom that is using digital technologies not imagined at that time. The project engaged 45 West Chester students with Nunn Center staff and collections, and features student created OHMS Level 3 indexes, each including an audio file synchronized with an exact verbatim transcript, curated segment synopses, keywords drawn from a controlled vocabulary of over 1,600 terms generated by students, images that illustrate the interview content, and GPS coordinates that situate the topics in geographic space all brought together through the content management system Omeka. Students also created digital storytelling projects to enhance the resources.

The West Chester students were responsible for almost everything in creating the new content for "Goin' North." "This experience was really about choosing from the enormous landscape of tools out there, identifying the best ones for their purpose, learning to use the tools and then creating some pretty amazing things," Boyd said.

Amazing indeed. The Roy Rosenzweig Prize Committee of the American Historical Association was also impressed with the work, awarding the project the Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History to Boyd, Hardy and Smucker and noting how the "Goin’ North" website "effectively integrates a variety of off-the-shelf digital tools — iMovie, historypin, thinglink and ESRI Story Maps — for the purpose of telling a story.”

Boyd, who has also worked on oral history projects with his own classes and other UK faculty, is excited with the "Goin' North" outcome and is looking forward to implementing similar strategies in the future with students.

“We believe 'Goin’ North' is a model for engaging students with oral history, utilizing innovative digital platforms, connecting the archive and the classroom with effective pedagogy, multi-institutional collaboration and the production of a final product that is powerful, professional and useful,” Boyd said.

Boyd credits the OHMS technology developed by his team at UK's Nunn Center as one of the reasons doors of opportunity are opening for students in relations to oral histories.

"Archived Oral History has always been a challenge to effectively utilize in classroom settings. Our system, OHMS, really makes it possible to take student engagement (in a pedagogical context) with archived oral histories to the next level," Boyd noted. "In addition to having this deep engagement with the interviews, the students are part of producing something real … something that has impact.

"The resulting digital project is not something that the students simply create for the class project and turn in for a grade. This online resource ('Goin' North') is something that serves as a rich and important interpretive resource for this oral history project, this community."

Since the launch of the "Goin' North" website, there have been over 21,000 page views serving 4,000 unique visitors to the site. Based on this success and interest, Boyd, Smucker and Hardy are looking to collaborate on another oral history/classroom collaboration for the Philadelphia community.

And, Boyd is also on the lookout for the next project on his campus as well. "We are always looking for new opportunities to collaborate with faculty on campus. This model can be emulated and enhanced, so I look forward to more potential partnerships at UK."

The Nunn Center, part of the UK Libraries' Special Collections Research Center, is internationally recognized for its outstanding collection of nearly 8,000 oral history interviews.

UPK Holiday SaUPK holiday sale offers wide selection of books for every reader on your shopping list


With the University Press of Kentucky 2016 Holiday Sale going on now, there is no better time to fill your online shopping cart with gifts for the book lovers in your life. Currently offering over 1,800 titles at a discount of up to 80 percent, the sale has books in all different genres from which to choose. From historic novels and new fiction to cocktail and cookbooks, UPK has something for almost every reader.

For the readers with a keen interest in fiction, UPK offers Kentucky writer Crystal Wilkinson’s first novel, "The Birds of Opulence," winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. In “The Birds of Opulence,” Wilkinson tells the story of several generations of women living in the rural southern black township of Opulence as they experience and sometimes surrender to madness. The Goode-Brown family, led by matriarch and pillar of the community Minnie Mae, is plagued by old secrets and embarrassment over mental illness and illegitimacy. Meanwhile, single mother Francine Clark is haunted by her dead husband and forced to fight against both the moral judgment of the community and her own rebellious daughter, Mona. The residents of Opulence struggle with vexing relationships to the land, to one another and to their own sexuality. As the members of the youngest generation watch their mothers and grandmothers pass away, they live with the fear of going mad themselves and must fight to survive. At once tragic and then hopeful, this captivating novel is a story about another time, rendered for our own.

Fenton Johnson, another celebrated Kentucky writer, has returned with his first new novel in over a decade, "The Man Who Loved Birds," a story inspired by the real-life state police kidnapping and murder of a legendary storyteller and petty criminal. Johnson engages pressing contemporary issues through a timeless narrative of ill-fated romance. Having taken great risks — to immigrate to America, to take monastic vows — Bengali physician Meena Chatterjee and Brother Flavian are each seeking safety and security when they encounter Johnny Faye, a Vietnam vet, free spirit and expert marijuana farmer. Amid the fields and forests of a Trappist monastery, Johnny Faye patiently cultivates Meena’s and Flavian’s capacity for faith, transforming all they thought they knew about duty and desire. In turn they offer him an experience of civilization other than war and chaos.

For bourbon aficionados, UPK offers two new titles, "More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails," by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler, and the second edition of "Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide," by Reigler. Following up on their best-selling "The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book," Perrine and Reigler return with more reasons to appreciate bourbon whiskey. This mouthwatering volume features more than 50 delicious new concoctions — including variations on classics such as the old fashioned and the Manhattan — and even adds a splash of Kentucky flavor to mojitos, sangria, lemonade and coffee. It also serves up recipes from leading bartenders, prize-winning drinks from cocktail competitions, and a bourbon-inspired buffet featuring edibles that will be a feast for aficionados. The useful bourbon glossary and bibliography will appeal to professional or at-home bartenders eager to experiment, invent and savor their own recipes.

In "Kentucky Bourbon Country," Reigler offers essential information and practical advice to anyone considering a trip to the state’s distilleries or to the restaurants and bars on the Urban Bourbon Trail. Featuring 200 full-color photographs and a bourbon glossary, the book is organized by region and provides valuable details about the Bluegrass — including attractions near each distillery and notes on restaurants, lodging, shopping and seasonal events in Kentucky’s beautiful historic towns. Reigler weaves in little-known facts about the region’s best-kept secrets, such as the historic distillery used as a set in the movie "Stripes" and the fates of used bourbon barrels. Whether you’re interested in visiting the place where your favorite bourbon is made or hoping to discover exciting new varieties, this handy and practical guide is the key to enjoying the best of bourbon.

For the home cook with an interest in history, "The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook," by University of Kentucky Libraries Associate Dean Deirdre A. Scaggs and Andrew W. McGraw, has been released in paperback. In it, the authors have assembled more than 100 dishes from 19th and 20th century Kentucky cooks, collected from handwritten books, diaries, scrapbook clippings, and out-of-print cookbooks from the UK Special Collections Research Center. This assemblage brings together a variety of classic dishes, complete with descriptions of each recipe’s origin and helpful tips for the modern chef. The authors, who carefully tested each dish, provide recipe modifications and substitutions for rare and hard-to-find ingredients.

For fans of the history of Kentucky and/or the history of wars, author and former UK administrator David J. Bettez’s "Kentucky and the Great War: World War I on the Home Front" makes a great gift. It provides the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of World War I on Bluegrass society, politics, economy and culture, contextualizing the state’s involvement within the national experience. Bettez exhaustively researched study examines the Kentucky Council of Defense — which sponsored local war-effort activities — military mobilization and preparation, opposition and dissent, and the role of religion and higher education in shaping the state’s response to the war. The Thomas D. Clark Medallion winner, also describes the efforts of Kentuckians who served abroad in military and civilian capacities, and post-war memorialization of their contributions, making it the perfect companion to commemorate the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into the war.

For the outdoor enthusiast or backyard naturalist, "Amphibians and Reptiles of Land Between the Lakes," by David H. Snyder, A. Floyd Scott, Edmund J. Zimmerer and David F. Frymire, is a definitive guide to the amphibians and reptiles of a unique region applicable to the wider ecosystem of Western and Central Kentucky and Tennessee. The book offers detailed descriptions and stunning color photographs of the salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards and snakes found in the region. Each entry includes the species’ scientific and common names as well as information on its distribution, habitat and natural history. This handy reference illustrates the collective ecological effect that these under-appreciated species have on the habitats in which they thrive.

For readers from Central Kentucky or those interested in Civil War history, "Kentucky Rebel Town: The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County," by UK alumnus William A. Penn, provides a detailed account of the military action that took place in this Kentucky region during the war. Because of its political leanings and strategic position along the Kentucky Central Railroad, Harrison County became the target of multiple raids by Confederate general John Hunt Morgan. Conflict in the area culminated in the Second Battle of Cynthiana, in which Morgan’s men clashed with Union troops led by Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge (the “Butcher of Kentucky”), resulting in the destruction of much of the town by fire. Featuring new maps that clearly illustrate the combat strategies in the various engagements, this book provides an illuminating look at divided loyalties and dissent in Union Kentucky.

Of specific interest in Western Kentucky is a biography of one of the state's favorite sons. In "Alben Barkley: A Life in Politics," historian James K. Libbey offers the first full-length biography of this larger-than-life personality, following Barkley in his transition from local politician to congressman, then senator, senate majority leader, vice president, and senator once again. Born to poor tenant farmers in a log cabin in Graves County, Barkley rose to achieve a national political stature equaled by few of his contemporaries. Libbey also reveals Barkley’s human side, from his extremely humble beginnings to his dramatic and chilling final speech at Washington and Lee University in 1956, when he said, “I would rather be a servant in the house of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty,” delivering the legendary quote moments before succumbing to a massive heart attack. A significant contribution to American history, this definitive biography offers a long overdue look at the “Iron Man” of politics.

Of specific interest in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are a pair of newly reissued Secketary Hawkins novels by Robert F. Schulkers. Long before Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys, Secketary Hawkins and his gang of “Fair and Square” boys were solving mysteries and stopping crimes along the riverbanks of the Ohio River. Beginning in 1918, the members of the Fair and Square Club captured the imagination of thousands of children and adults alike, as they explored the diverse Kentucky landscape in pursuit of adventure, mystery and doing good. For over three decades, Schulkers’ creation provided inspiration to many young readers, including Harper Lee, who references his work in her iconic novel "To Kill a Mockingbird." Schulkers’ stories made their debut in The Cincinnati Enquirer, taking the nation by storm with weekly installments of "Stoner’s Boy" and "The Gray Ghost." Now both novels are available once again.

Place orders by Dec. 9 to guarantee holiday delivery from the sale. For those worried about delivery deadlines, many UPK books can be found at bookstores throughout the state. Sale runs through Jan. 31, 2017

VIDEO: 5 Questions With … UK Special Collections Deirdre Scaggs


Video produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.

Unique research collections are central to the mission of UK Libraries and guarding, maintaining, preserving and sharing these treasures is the work of Associate Dean for Special Collections Research Center Deirdre Scaggs.

The UK Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection and the digital library, ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As associate dean, Scaggs is responsible for the Commonwealth’s largest repository of privately generated primary resource material and rare printed resources. In addition, she serves as director of the Ford Center, which supports access to primary source materials pertaining to public policy, politics and Congress. 

Scaggs, who holds a master's degree in library and information science with a concentration in archival studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's of fine arts degree from Ohio State University, previously served UK as director of Archives. She is an active member of the Society of American Archivists and previously served as chair of the Visual Materials Section. She was elected to the 2009-2012 term of Council for the Midwest Archives Conference, the largest regional archival organization.

Scaggs' specialties include photographic history and visual materials. Her research interests include the history of women, the effectiveness of archival outreach programs, and strategies for meeting the demands of 21st century researchers while building a strong archival program.

As you hear in the monthly feature, "5 Questions With….," Scaggs' passion for her work often bleeds into her projects outside the office. She is the author of "Images of America: Women in Lexington," had 60 photographs published in Kate Black's "Row by Row: Talking with Kentucky Gardeners," and is co-author of the cookbook "The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook," which was recently published in paperback by University Press of Kentucky.