Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Kentucky by Heart: Carl West will always be an important part of the state’s literary heritage
Special to KyForward.com
I was saddened by the recent death of journalist Carl West, who helped fledgling writers like me have a chance to get our words out in public.
He founded the Kentucky Book Fair, now annually attended by thousands in downtown Frankfort. I’ve participated in the event six times as an author with my books, along with numerous times as a regular attendee. The KBF never ceases to be fun, inspiring, and a great networking experience for meeting authors, other book lovers, and people in the book business.
It also reminds Kentuckians that, in many ways, the state of Kentucky has a literary landscape that is operating at a higher level than is often portrayed in national discourse. Nationally recognized writers like Wendell Berry, Barbara Kingsolver, Bobbie Ann Mason and Silas House are all rooted in the fabric of the state, and, going further back, who hasn’t heard of Robert Penn Warren, from Guthrie—America’s first National Poet Laureate—and a fellow from W-Hollow by the name of Jesse Stuart.
Carl West understood that and his passion to portray and foster literacy led him to establish the KBF in 1981 from his post as the editor of the State Journal in Frankfort. This came after he returned to his state in 1978 from Washington, DC, where he worked as an award-winning journalist for Scripps-Howard.
Connie Crowe worked closely with Carl as the director of the KBF from 2002 until February of 2015.
“Carl was my mentor, boss, and friend,” she said. “I had no idea what I was doing (at first) or getting into,” she said. “Carl taught me to be a better writer and a better reader. He was the heart and soul of the Book Fair and we can only hope to carry on his legacy.”
To my unabashed sense of pride, Carl was raised in my old stomping grounds, Grants Lick, and he graduated from my alma mater, Campbell County High School. I recognized Carl’s name long before I began my own writing career about 15 years ago. I recall his byline in the Kentucky Post back in the ‘60s, and Aunt Doris and Uncle Donnie talked about going to school with him. A well-known journalist coming from Grants Lick was pretty exciting, I thought.
And though I certainly couldn’t rightfully call him a close friend, I enjoyed seeing Carl at least once per year at the KBF, or at events surrounding KBF. I introduced myself there in 2005 when I brought my first book, Tim Farmer: A Kentucky Woodsman Restored, and noted being from Grants Lick, like him.
He immediately starting asking me questions about my uncle and aunt, who he remembered from Campbell County High School. He seemed genuinely interested, and he never failed to remember me from that point forward, including this past book fair in 2015.
Though I’m not sure he researched it and it probably isn’t a fact, I still beam thinking about one thing he told me after first meeting him:
“You’re the only author who ever came from Grants Lick.” To be told that by Carl West, a Kentucky Journalism Hall of Famer, gave me inspiration to continue writing. I’ll never forget him, and Carl will be an important part of the state’s heritage for future generations.
Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of six books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and five in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4,” was released in 2015. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly KyForward and NKyTribune columnist and a member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Thursday, March 3, 2016
FRANKFORT - Carleton Lewis West, of Frankfort passed away Sun, Feb 28, 2016 after a short illness. He was 74 years old.
Carl was born in Cincinnati, OH on Jan 14, 1942 the son of the late John A. West and Dorothy Lewis West. He is survived by his brother, John A. West (Ginger) of Georgetown, SC; a niece, Sarah Windisch West-Hoover (Paul) of Parker, CO; a nephew, Timothy A. (Lea) West of Lexington, KY; and a great niece, Caroline Armstrong West. Also surviving is his beloved golden retriever, Mac.
Carl grew up at Kenton Farm, the West Family farm in Campbell County. He was a graduate of Campbell County High School and the University of Kentucky School of Journalism. He served briefly in the US Air Force. He began his journalism career as a reporter with the Kentucky Post in Covington, KY, later moving to Washington, DC where he was a reporter with Scripps Howard covering national stories including the Watergate Hearings.
In 1978 Carl returned to Kentucky to become the Editor of the State Journal where he served for 36 years, retiring two years ago with the title Editor Emeritus.
A private funeral service is planned. A Memorial Service to celebrate Carl's life will be held at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington on April 16, 2016 at 11am. He will be interred in the West Family plot in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, OH.
Arrangements are under the direction of Harrod Brothers Funeral Home. Condolences may be shared via the online guest book at www.harrodbrothers.com
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Monday, February 29, 2016
“He was a journalist’s journalist,” said longtime friend, Richard Wilson, a former reporter in The Courier-Journal’s Frankfort bureau.
A Campbell County native who studied journalism at the University of Kentucky and a former Kentucky Post reporter, West was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2003.
He was a Frankfort correspondent for the Kentucky Post and covered the White House and Pentagon in Washington for Scripps Howard News Service. He was editor of The State Journal from 1979 to 2012.
A career highlight was his coverage of Watergate, the scandal that drove President Richard Nixon from office.
After leaving Washington to work for The State Journal, West was a frequent panelist on Lexington WLEX-TV’s Your Government public-affairs show with host Sue Wylie.
Wylie said West had “a proprietary air about the show. He almost was like an assistant producer, especially in scheduling guests. He starred on the show. He was so talented but yet so modest.”
West also was a panelist on Kentucky Educational Television’s Comment on Kentucky, hosted by veteran Kentucky journalist Al Smith.
The fair, now in its 35th year, is one of the state’s most important annual literary and cultural events. Profits from it go to local libraries.
Al Cross, director of UK’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, said West won last year’s Al Smith Award for public service because of his work on the book fair.
Cross said West adopted the idea from the National Press Club’s book fair in Washington.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article63043462.html#storylink=cpy
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The 35th annual Kentucky Book Fair will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2016 at the Frankfort Convention Center. Children’s Day at the Book Fair will be Friday, November 4, 2016. Author attendance at the Kentucky Book Fair is by invitation only. The author selection committee will choose authors and titles from those submitted to us no later than May 15, 2016.
Monday, February 8, 2016
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Karen McElmurray was the moderator for the Appalachian Writing: Everything Old Is New Again. This panel was co-sponsored by the Kentucky Book Fair and the Kentucky Historical Society.
Panelists included Chris Scotton, author of The Secret Wisdom of the Earth; Robert Gipe, author of Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel; and David Joy, author of Where All Light Tends to Go.