The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame inducted seven members Thursday night: children's author Rebecca Caudill of Cumberland, historian Thomas D. Clark of Lexington, teacher and author James Baker Hall of Harrison County, historical novelist Janice Holt Giles of Adair County, poet Etheridge Knight of Paducah, Trappist monk Thomas Merton of Nelson County, and teacher and writer Jesse Stuart of Greenup County.
The hall of fame is organized by Lexington's Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, which hosted the celebration where the new inductees were announced.
"This group shows the range of Kentucky's great writers," Neil Chethik, executive director of the Carnegie Center, wrote in an e-mail before the ceremony. "Last year, we honored mostly poets and fiction writers. This year, we have our first children's writer (Caudill), first spiritual writer (Merton), first historian (Clark), and first writer connected to a political movement (Knight). And with James Baker Hall and Thomas Clark going in, it's a banner day for UK."
Knight was considered a part of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s.
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To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, a writer must be deceased, have written works considered to be enduring in stature, and be connected in a significant way to Kentucky.
Other 2014 nominees who were not inducted included James Lane Allen, Jim Wayne Miller, Guy Davenport, Alice Hegan Rice, Effie Waller Smith and Hunter S. Thompson.
In 2013, the hall of fame inducted its first six members: Harriette Arnow, William Wells Brown, Harry Caudill, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, James Still and Robert Penn Warren.