Students filled the Faculty House last Friday, October 16 eager to see the cult classic Italian horror film “Suspiria” that was in its original 1977 form. Italian film expert Elizabeth Aslop from the English Department introduced the film and led a lively discussion at the end of the viewing. More than 40 students, faculty, and staff enjoyed complimentary food highlighting Italy with meatballs and bruschetta along with dessert options. Door prizes were given at the end of the night featuring a book and two Italian themed baskets of food, coffee, and treats. The next film and last one of the semester features Brazil with The Way He Looks on November 20.
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WKU Libraries, the Western Kentucky Reading Council, and the College of Educational and Behavioral Sciences partnered to celebrate International Literacy Day on Thursday, September 17 from 3-4:30pm. WKU students, faculty, and staff gave short stories, legends, myths, and true events of various international perspectives, including Library Professor Haiwang Yuan and ERC Coordinator and library faculty member Roxanne Spencer. Dr. Margaret Gichuru ended the afternoon talking to a large group of students about South Africa and the literacy efforts being made there.
The Faraway Flix International Film Series kicked off its year with the South African film “Tsotsi” at the Faculty House on Friday, September 18. Forty faculty, staff, and students attended the event, with a spread of specialized food highlighting the featured country of the month. Amy Hoffman, International Admissions Officer, and Dr. Saundra Ardrey, Politcial Science, talked about South Africa and led discussion after the film was over. The event was made possible with support from the International Student Office, Student Activities, Office of International Programs, WellU, and WKU Libraries.
Gathered together to celebrate her 90th Birthday at Federal Grove in Auburn, Kentucky and reflect on her long career at WKU. Nancy Baird described her “travels with Peggy” in Europe and Russia while Helen Crocker spoke of the friendship established among their group of former history professors from 1978 (Nancy Baird, Helen Crocker, Carol Crowe-Carraco, and Peggy plus Sally Ann Strickler, former Department Head of Library Public Services) which has lasted almost four decades, with gatherings to celebrate each of their birthdays every year. Elaine Moore, former Coordinator of Electronic Resources, now retired in Arizona, sent along greetings, pictures and stories from their trips to the International Reading Association in Norway and Sweden. Father Andy Garner of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church described Peggy’s many contributions to the church including her counseling of death row inmates at Eddyville and her work with the Detention Center in Bowling Green. Brian Coutts shared a story of their ill-fated trip to the Toledo District of Belize in 1993 and the “curse of the crystal skull” of Lubaantun.
With record numbers in sales, enthusiasts came in masses to hear, meet, and buy books from their favorite authors and illustrators at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest held April 18 at the Knicely Conference Center. Bestselling author Diana Gabaldon, known for her popular Outlander series, filled a room with more than 500 fans, some who waited for hours at the entrance, eager to get seats close to the author. Other well-known authors such as Jamie Ford, Terry Brooks, Mary McDonough, and Doreen Cronin brought in their own fan clubs.
“Book Fest was a tremendous success,” said Kristie Lowry, SOKY Book Fest organizer. “We are getting such positive remarks on social media, in-person, and through surveys given to participants.”
More than 1,200 attended the Friday prior to the main Book Fest event for Children’s Day and the Kentucky Writers Conference. According to Lowry, a new writing workshop for teens was also well attended. “We wanted to offer something specifically for those in grades 9-12 and the response was terrific. We definitely would like to continue this program next year.”
Bowling Green resident Crystal Bowling has attended the Writers Conference more than once. “I enjoy attending for the discussions and ideas, not only for the authors presenting, but for the writers in the audience. It’s a wonderful event with a sense of community,” said Bowling.
Noted as one of the largest book festivals in the state, SOKY Book Fest has been named by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) to the Top 10 Festivals & Events for Spring for the third consecutive year.
In addition to sales from the event, Book Fest is funded with grants and donations by companies and individuals. Corporate donors included: Platinum Level – Dollar General; Gold Level – Daily News, Jim Johnson; Silver Level – WKU Conferencing & Catering, West Sixth Brewing, WKU PBS; Bronze Level – Fruit of the Loom, Meijer, Smuckers; Patron Level – Bell Orr Ayers & Moore, WKU Department of English, Logan Aluminum and Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau.
WKU Libraries honored its graduating seniors and library assistant scholarship recipient this past week at a reception in Cravens Library. Fifteen library student assistants, some working as many as four years with the libraries, graduated this past weekend, including Emily Anderson, Kelsi Campbell, Danielle Davenport, Katie Decoursey, Ling Hao Liu, Christopher McConnell, Lyndsey Pender, Anna Pettus, Cecia Reyes, Ayaz Sadal, Kameron Simmons, Kelli Storm, Hieu Vo, Rachel Wyatt, and Anna Young. Dean Connie Foster recognized Abby Zibart, the library scholarship recipient, and also congratulated the graduating students. Library Department Heads Brian Coutts, Deana Groves, and Jonathan Jeffrey announced each student assistant from his and her respective work area and honored them with certificates, red towels, and a graduation gift from WKU Libraries. Each student picked out a book or video that will be housed in one of the libraries with a name plate in honor of the graduating student.
“We look forward to this time each semester to honor our graduating student workers,” said Amanda Hardin. “Some of them have been here for several semesters and through summers so they become like family to us. It’s just a small way to thank them for their time with us at WKU and show them how much we appreciate them.”
This year’s Southern Kentucky Bookfest held a morning session featuring cookbooks, in which a panel of five authors briefly discussed their new books and answered questions from the audience at the end. WKU Libraries Department of Library Public Services Head Dr. Brian Coutts moderated the session.
Gaylord Brewer, an English professor at MTSU and author of nine books of poetry and 800 other poems, spoke about his newest book The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink & Desire. Inspired by cooking elaborate meals and meeting chefs, his book is filled with great recipes and humorous commentary that leaves readers laughing out loud.
Morgantown, KY native Linda Hawkins has previously taught school, ran a daycare, and served as a crisis counselor for abused women and children and is now an award winning author. Her newest book Southern Seasons with Memory Making Recipes features her favorite recipes and remembrances to show readers how to get families involved in making meals and creating lasting memories.
John Van Willigen, professor emeritus of Anthropology at UK, has authored many books from Anthropology to tobacco culture to his classic Food and Everyday Life on Kentucky Family Farms, 1920-1950. With his new book Kentucky Cookbook Heritage he explores two hundred years of Southern cuisine and culture through a diverse range of topics from Nancy Green, the original Aunt Jemima, to Duncan Hines and charity cookbooks.
Fiona Young-Brown is a native of the United Kingdom, with a BA from the University of Hull, and Iowa transplant with graduate degrees in Women’s Studies and Japanese from the University of Iowa. Now writing local history, she discussed her newest book A Culinary History of Kentucky which includes delicious recipes like Mafia Jam Cake and Jefferson Davis Pie.
Aimee Zaring has an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding and has taught ESL for Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Jefferson County Schools, and Global LT. In her book Flavors From Home she shares stories from Kentucky’s various refugee communities and the recipes of their traditional dishes from steamed dumplings from Bhutan to twice fried green plantains from Cuba. This book is about how food gives refugees comforts from home while expanding cuisine in Kentucky.
WKU Libraries is one of several sponsors of this two week series of visiting speakers and documentary films. On Tuesday, March 17 at 4 p.m. at GRH 1074 Professor Luz Maria de la Torre, an indigenous activist and scholar from Otavalo, Ecuador talked about the role of indigenous women in changing ethnic relations in Ecuador. She’s currently a visiting professor and instructor of Quechua at UCLA. A reception followed. She also spoke to classes on campus.
On Wednesday, March 18 in MMTH 166, With My Heart in Yambo, an award winning documentary film directed by Maria Fernandez Restrepo was shown. The film describes how her two brothers were abducted by the police and later murdered more than 25 years ago. The documentary was introduced by Professor Sonia Lenk who had once met the Restrepos at their Quito store prior to the murders.
On Tuesday, March 24 at 4 p.m. at GRH 1074 Xavier Bonilla (aka Bonil), Ecuador’s most famous and controversial political cartoonist, spoke about “Political Humor/Cartoons in an Ecuadorian Context: A Free Press or Censorship.” He does cartoons for numerous periodicals and magazines in Ecuador including El Universo, Ecuador’s largest newspaper. Professor Melissa Stewart provided the translation, which was created by her Spanish Translation class. A reception followed. Bonilla also spoke to classes on campus and did media interviews with English and Spanish language press.
On Tuesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. in MMTH 166, Cesar’s Grill a 2013 documentary film directed by Dario Aguirre was shown. It describes how a vegetarian artist’s son living in Germany gets called back to Ecuador to help his father Cesar with his failing grill restaurant. It was recently nominated as the best documentary film at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The director prepared a special video introduction especially for this showing at WKU. Professor Fabian Alvarez served as moderator. The film opened in Ecuadorian theaters in April and has awards at several film festivals.
The Southern Kentucky Book Fest held its used book sale this past weekend. The event was delayed a day due to winter storm weather that kept the parking lots and roads snow covered on the original starting date Friday, March 6. The cold, snowy weather didn’t keep out the crowds as they eagerly sought out their favorite authors and books on Saturday and Sunday with the discount book day on Monday.