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Author Gurney Norman to read from work

Author Gurney Norman will read from his newly published book Ancient Creek at 7 p.m, Friday, December 14, at The Cozy Corner as a feature of the Artwalk in Whitesburg.

First recorded as a spoken word album by Appalshop in 1975, the story appears in book form for the first time, published by Old Cove Press.

The volume features Norman’s original tale and essays about Ancient Creek by Annalucia Accardo, Dee David, Kevin I. Eyster and Jim Wayne Miller. A digitally remastered CD of the 1975 reading is being published by Appalshop concurrently with the book. The book and CD feature cover art by Kentucky artist Pam Oldfield Meade.

Born in Grundy, Va., Norman lived much of his childhood in Letcher and Perry counties and in Lee County, Va. He attended the University of Kentucky where he majored in journalism and English and became a reporter for the Hazard Herald.

After studying creative writing at Stanford University, he joined the University of Kentucky faculty as an English professor, a position he has held since 1979. He is the author of Divine Right’s Trip and Kinfolks, and co- editor of essay collections Back Talk from an American Region: Confronting Appalachian Stereotypes and An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature.

Norman wrote and narrated three documentaries for Kentucky Educational Television on Kentucky history, landscape and culture, and in 1990 Appalshop produced a film based on his story “Fat Monroe”. Directed by Andrew Garrison, the film starred Ned Beatty and was featured at the New York Film Festival. Garrison completed two other films based on Norman’s work, “Maxine” and “Night Ride”, which were featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

In 2009, Norman was appointed Kentucky Poet Laureate by Gov. Steve Beshear. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Berea College.

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