Arts and Culture

This weekend, the 36th annual Kentucky Book Fair will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, featuring more than 180 local and national authors.

The event begins on Friday with the KBF Kids Day, during which more than 900 elementary and middle school student from 15 Kentucky schools will meet and interact with children’s authors in a series of presentations.

Kentucky Book Fair Manager Brooke Raby says these free events aid in accessibility and instilling an early love of reading.

“It’s a really neat thing to watch a kid connect with an author and if they are a reluctant reader, to see reading in a new light because they have this interesting new insight into how books work or how book was written, and it feels more personal them,” Raby said. “And one of the greatest things about Kids Day is we are reaching out into counties where access to books can be limited in some ways.”

On Saturday, the fair continues, featuring panels with bestselling authors including Wendell Berry, Rita Mae Brown, Ally Condie, Wayne Flynt, Jamie Ford, bell hooks, Loyal Jones, George Ella Lyon, Bobbie Ann Mason, Crystal Wilkinson and the current Kentucky poet laureate Frederick Smock.

“The purpose of the book fair is to create a celebration of reading and writing in the Commonwealth,” Raby said. “To that end, we invite a lot of authors who are from Kentucky, they are Kentucky natives or they currently live in Kentucky. We often look for folks outside the state who are writing books that are relevant to issues in Kentucky as well.”

A full list of authors and panels is available here.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.