magazine called Billy C. Clark's autobiography, "A
Long Row to Hoe," "as authentically American
as 'Huckleberry Finn.'"
2, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) --
Renowned Appalachian writer and educator Billy C.
Clark will read from his works in the University of
Kentucky's William T. Young Library auditorium at
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4. The reading is free and
open to the public.
UK student and Ashland native, Clark is the author
of seven novels and four books of short stories. Clark
began publishing short stories as a student at UK
in the early 1950s. In 1960, his widely praised autobiography,
"A Long Row to Hoe," was published, then reprinted
in 1992. Time magazine called the story "as authentically
American as 'Huckleberry Finn.'"
of the Big Sandy region of Eastern Kentucky, Clark
was born in Catlettsburg in 1928. His fiction is noted
for its sensitive portrayal of local life and lore,
and his responsiveness to the surrounding natural
beauty of the Appalachian region. Clark is writer-in-residence
at Virginia's Longwood College and is the founding
editor of Virginia Writing. He has received numerous
awards, including the Appalachian Treasure Award,
given annually by Morehead State University to recognize
dedication in promoting and preserving the cultural
heritage of Appalachia.
poverty, Clark was the first member of his family
to receive an education.
home at age 11 and, for the next five years, lived
on the third floor of the Catlettsburg city office
building. He cleaned the jails, wound the town clock
and served as a volunteer firefighter to put himself
where I lived with my family is long gone," Clark
has written, "but it is not what I look for when I
come back to Catlettsburg. The city building seems
like my home, because I lived there, in a small room
upon the top floor, sleeping on an old Army cot."
another home on the Big Sandy River. His deep love
and connection with life on the river is a major subject
of his writing.
his first novel, "Song of the River," at age 14 and
published it years later in its original form. It
was one of dozens of fading manuscripts his wife retrieved
from the back seat of his '48 Plymouth after they
were married. Writer Wade Hall has called "Song of
the River" "a national treasure."
most recent book, "By Way of the Forked Stick," is
a collection of short stories published in 2000 by
the University of Tennessee Press.
C. Clark reading is the final event in a yearlong
Half-Century of Excellence celebration by the UK College
of Arts and Sciences Department of English Creative
Writing Program. The reading is sponsored by the Department
of English, the UK College of Arts and Sciences, the
UK Appalachian Center and the UK Appalachian Studies