Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame Adds Five New Members

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The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame will induct five new members, two posthumously, March 23 in Lexington at the Kentucky Theatre.

A release from the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington says, the new members are:

  • Marsha Norman, a prolific playwright, screenwriter and novelist, is one of the best-known writers in American drama. She has won the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Awards and a long list of other major honors. Norman grew up near Audubon Park in Louisville.
  • Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for drama (2002), is a playwright, musician, novelist, essayist and performer who has been called one of the most creative forces in modern theater. She was born at Fort Knox and grew up there and in West Germany, California, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Maryland.
  • Richard Lawrence Taylor, a sixth-generation Kentuckian who lives near Frankfort, is the author of 12 books of poetry, two novels and four books of nonfiction. His primary material has been the colorful history and landscape of Kentucky.
  • Madison Julius Cawein was a nationally-recognized and popular Romantic poet from Louisville in the decades before and after the turn of the 20th century. Most of his poetry was about nature, extolling the beauty of his native Kentucky. Comparisons to the British poets Percy Shelley and John Keats earned him the nickname “Keats of Kentucky.” He was born in Louisville on March 23, 1865, one of four sons and a daughter of William Cawein, a confectioner, chef and herbal doctor, and Christina Stelsley Cawein, a spiritualist. He died in 1914.
  • Blanche Taylor Dickinson was a poet, short story writer and journalist whose poetry was published in a number of magazines and newspapers in the 1920s and has been widely anthologized with other Black poets of the Harlem Renaissance. Dickinson was born in Franklin on April 15, 1896 to a farmer, Thomas Taylor, and his wife, Laura. She attended segregated schools in Simpson County, Bowling Green Academy and Simmons College in Louisville and taught for several years in Black schools. She married truck driver Verdell Dickinson (1898-1978). One of her earliest published poems appeared in the local newspaper, The Franklin Favorite, in July 1925. At the time, Dickinson and her husband were living in his hometown of Trenton in nearby Todd County. She died in 1972.