More than a dozen Kentucky authors want us to know they are "(Still) Here for Haiti."
That's the name of a fund-raising event Wednesday at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, 251 West Second Street. Writers will read from their own works or the works of authors they admire.
Bianca Spriggs, who is organizing the event, hopes the weather won't be a problem by the time the program starts at 6 p.m.
The event was postponed a week already, and rescheduling busy authors isn't easy, Spriggs said. Author Frank X. Walker has had to bow out of the event this go-round because of conflicts in his schedule.
Crystal Wilkinson, award-winning author of Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street, will read from the novel she is writing, Opulence.
"They're saying we are only reading for five or 10 minutes," Wilkinson said. "I'm reading a chapter about a burial and death of a baby. It's a harrowing chapter."
But it isn't depressing, she said. "It's where a young woman is calling on her ancestors. It's spiritual."
Spriggs, events coordinator for the Lexington Arts League and a free-lance writing instructor, said she approached Carnegie Center officials with her idea of having writers getting more involved in the Haiti relief efforts. They gave her the space and a few e-mails and phone numbers of popular and successful authors.
"Everybody pretty much took the time off or they had an opening in their schedules," Spriggs said. "And the authors have gotten together and are pledging their own money."
The Morris Book Shop will have the authors' works available for purchase, with proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization providing medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. It was founded in France in 1971 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.
Also, Spriggs said, anyone donating $20 or more will receive an original print, Help for Haiti, by John P. Lackey of Homegrown Press. Checks should be made out to Doctors Without Borders, Spriggs said. "That would be best, but we will take cash."
Jan Isenhour, executive director of the Carnegie Center, will read from a novel she is working on that is set in a small Kentucky city. The piece is an exchange between a cleaning woman and her employer, she said.
"I was terrified to read it," Isenhour said, "but I wanted to read something that had a little heft to it. I wanted to pick something that would be a little riskier."
She said she had been advised to use lighter material for public readings, "but this doesn't feel like the time to read something funny."
Other authors scheduled to read their works include Kentucky poet laureate Gurney Norman; novelist and essayist Ed McClanahan; award-winning poet Nikky Finney; and award-winning poet, novelist and children's writer George Ella Lyon.
Admission is free. Third Street Stuff will provide coffee.