There is something in Kentucky’s water when it comes to writing, Kentucky native and author Silas House said, and writers can express the feelings of others whose voices often go unheard.
“That’s the job of the writer, to articulate the things that are very hard to articulate,” he said.
House and 12 fellow Kentucky writers will speak about “resistance, persistence, equality and freedom” at “Writers Persist” on Wednesday at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning at 6 p.m.
The writers will include 2015-16 Kentucky Poet Laureate George Ella Lyon, Affrilachian poet Bianca Spriggs, and best-selling authors Kim Edwards and Bobbie Ann Mason. Local musician Carla Gover will play an interlude, the Facebook event said.
Executive Director of the Carnegie Center Neil Chethik said the center is “absolutely thrilled” to provide space for “Writers Persist,” as it falls within the center’s goal to empower writers. He said writers tend to dig deeper than many people, and he is excited to see what kind of solutions the writers will have for various social and political problems we have to today.
“A part of our mission is to let writers explore and express their voice,” Chethik said.
House has not been planning “Writers Persist” for very long — probably around a month or so, he said — but he feels as if its message is needed now. In both Kentucky and around the country, many across both party lines feel as if there is a disconnect between legislators and their constituents. He said in times like these, art is important to express how people are afraid or concerned.
“In times of turmoil in our state and in our nation, when people feel as if their legislators aren’t representing them, they turn to their artists,” House said.
House recalled an instance when he went to a town hall meeting regarding an environmental issue, and a woman in the audience stood up and said, “All you writers in the audience, please go out and tell our stories because our legislators aren’t listening to us.”
“I think that a writer’s job is to entertain of course,” House says. “But I, myself, and the writers who are speaking that night, I think all of us feel a responsibility to try to articulate that fear and frustration and hope.”
Another reason that these writers are attending “Writers Persist,” House said, is the importance of reading and getting an education is something that is being lost in America. House said he finds “anti-intellectualism” terrifying.
Also, the traditional news media has been accused of being a part of a propaganda machine, which House finds alarming, he said. “Writers Persist” is free, but donations will be accepted for Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit that promotes press freedom around the world.
The writers will share poetry, fiction pieces and non-fiction works that will articulate everything from hope to frustration, House said. The night also is not about berating any one politician, but it will be about empowering the people to let their voice be heard, House said.
“We want it to be a positive night,” House said. “That’s why it’s called ‘Writers Persist.’ I think that word (persist) has a real positive connotation about the people having power and speaking on that power.”
If you go
Who: Tom Eblen, Kim Edwards, Manuel Gonzales, Silas House, Jason Howard, George Ella Lyon, Maurice Manning, Bobbie Ann Mason, Gurney Norman, Erik Reece, Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Carter Sickels, Bianca Spriggs. Music by Carla Gover.
When: 6-7:30 p.m. April 26
Where: Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, 251 W. Second St.