Noted journalists Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” and Jim Acosta of CNN will be speaking and signing their books at the 38th annual Kentucky Book Fair on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington.
Overall, 200 national and regional authors will be signing books and meeting patrons at the event founded by the late State Journal Editor Carl West and held in Frankfort for the first 35 years. As always, the book fair will have many bestselling and award-winning authors. The 9 a.m.-4 p.m. fair is free, including parking.
Pelley will speak on the Main Stage at 11:30 a.m. and will sign his book, “Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times,” from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Pelley introduces unforgettable people who discovered the meaning of their lives in the historic events of our times. The book is for readers who believe values matter, and truth is worth telling.
Pelley — known for his work on “60 Minutes and “CBS Evening News,” is a reporter and photographer whose work has been recognized with numerous honors, including 37 Emmy Awards.
Acosta will be signing “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America,” from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 3:30-4 p.m. He will speak on the Main Stage at 2:30 p.m. His book is an explosive, first-hand account of the dangers he faces reporting on the current White House while fighting on the front lines in the war on truth.
Acosta is CNN’s chief White House correspondent. He covers presidential press conferences, visits by heads of state and issues impacting the executive branch of the federal government.
Here are other book fair highlights:
• Wendell Berry — recipient of the first Kentucky Humanities Carl West Literary Award on Oct. 24 at the Paul Sawyier Public Library — will bring to the book fair “What I Stand On: The Collected Essays of Wendell Berry,” a special two-volume edition. Always a bestselling author at the book fair, Berry is a novelist, poet, farmer and environmental writer and activist. He has had more than 50 books published.
He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2010; elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013; and received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle in 2016.
• Debut author Tanya Amyx Berry, wife of Wendell Berry, will sign her book, “For the Hog Killing, 1979,” and will speak on the Main Stage at 12:30 p.m. At a farm in Henry County, Tanya Berry photographed a celebratory ritual of farm life: hog killing. The photographs, collected for the first time alongside Wendell Berry’s expressive essay, reveal the American agrarian tradition. Tanya is an artist and agrarian who is deeply entwined with the Kentucky community surrounding the Berry hillside farm.
• Elliot Ackerman — a decorated Marine war veteran and National Book Award finalist — will sign “Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning,” from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. He also will speak on the South Stage at 9:30 a.m. His book is an astonishing reckoning with the nature of combat and the human costs of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Ackerman is the author of three novels, including “Waiting for Eden.” His work has appeared in The New York Times and many other publications. He is a former White House Fellow.
• Andrew Shaffer, New York Times bestselling author of the “Obama Biden Mystery” series, will be at the book fair with “An Obama Biden Mystery #2: Hope Rides Again.” Obama and Biden reprise their roles as BFFs-turned detectives as they chase Obama’s stolen cell phone through the mean streets of Chicago and into a conspiracy.
• New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka will sign his young adult book, “Hey, Kiddo,” a profoundly important graphic memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction and finding the art that helps you survive. He also will speak at 1:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. Krosoczka is a National Book Award Finalist with more than 30 books published, including his “Lunch Lady” graphic novels. He recently launched a new story arc in the “Jedi Academy” series.
• Debut author Katy Yocom will bring her book of fiction, “Three Ways to Disappear,” to Alltech Arena. Two sisters riven by tragedy struggle to heal themselves and their family. Set in Kentucky and on an Indian tiger reserve, her story is about saving all that is precious, from endangered species to familial bonds. Yocom received a 2019 Al Smith Fellowship Award and holds an MFA from Spalding University where she is associate director of the School of Creative and Professional Writing.
• Another debut author Casey Cep will sign her nonfiction book, “Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee,” from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and will speak on the Main Stage at 9:30 a.m. In her book, the Rev. Willie Maxwell was accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice until a relative shot him dead. Attending the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had come back to Alabama with the idea of writing her own “In Cold Blood.” Cep, who earned degrees at Harvard and Oxford, brings the story to life while offering a portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers.
• Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman will bring “Sounds Like Titanic: A Memoir,” to the book fair and will speak with Casey Cep on the Main Stage at 9:30 a.m. When aspiring violinist Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham: the group “performs” to music blaring from a CD. The peculiar mastermind behind this scheme — The Composer — gaslights audiences with music suspiciously like the “Titanic” movie soundtrack. Hindman teaches at Northern Kentucky University.
• Popular Kentucky writer George Ella Lyon and her son, Benn Lyon, will sign a children’s book titled “Trains Run.” It’s the fourth book in her transportation series. She has published award-winning books for readers of all ages, and her poem, “Where I’m From,” has been used as a model by teachers around the world. Originally from the mountains of Kentucky, George Ella Lyon works as a freelance writer and teacher based in Lexington.
• Beloved children’s author/illustrator Rosemary Wells will bring “Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble” to the book fair. She has published dozens of books for young readers, including the “Max & Ruby” series. Wells also will be speaking on the South Stage at 12:30 p.m.
• In addition to signing their books through the day, well-known poets Frank X Walker and Adrian Matejka will speak at 2:30 p.m. on the South Stage. Walker, a former Kentucky poet laureate, will bring “Last Will, Last Testament.” Matejka, the current poet laureate of Indiana, is a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist. In his fourth poetry collection, “Map to the Stars,” Metejka navigates the tensions between race, geography and poverty in America during the Reagan Era.
• Jeff Worley, Kentucky’s current poet laureate, will sign “Lucky Talk,” a chapbook of short poems, which are the distillation of his wit and wisdom accumulated over 70 years.