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Kentucky Press author Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. to be nationally honored

By Jackie Wilson May 17, 2024

Cover of "Gay Poems for Red States"
Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr.'s book "Gay Poems for Red States" will be honored at the 2024 Stonewall Book Award. Courtesy KY Press

Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr.'s book "Gay Poems for Red States" will be honored at the 2024 Stonewall Book Award. Courtesy KY Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2024) — "Gay Poems for Red States," written by advocate, educator, poet and author Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. will be honored at the 2024 Stonewall Book Award – Barbara Gittings Literature Award ceremony, which will be held July 1 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in San Diego, California.

Sponsored by the American Library Association’s Rainbow Round Table and founded in 1971, the award acknowledges books for exceptional merit relating to the LGBTQ+ experience. "Gay Poems for Red States" was also featured on ALA’s “Over the Rainbow” Top 10 Book List.

Carver’s poetry collection, released by the University Press of Kentucky in June 2023, reveals his personal experiences as a gay man growing up in Appalachia and the pursuit of a life filled with beauty, pride and acceptance.

“This award isn't just about me,” said Carver. “It’s a promise to rural and Appalachian queer youth: We see you. We hear you. We care. Your life matters and it is going to be gorgeous and happy and powerful. We’re all excited to see it.”

The members of the 2024 Stonewall Book Awards Committee found "Gay Poems for Red States" “moving, approachable and very relatable.”

Additional recipients of the honor book award include: "GHOST :: SEEDS" by Sebastian Merrill, "More Sure: Poems and Interruptions" by A. Light Zachary and "The Skin and Its Girl: A Novel" by Sarah Cypher. "Freedom House" by KB Brookins was named the winner of the Stonewall Book Awards – Barbara Gittings Literature Award for Poetry for 2024.

Read more about Carver and his honor here

About University Press of Kentucky
The University Press of Kentucky is the statewide nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Serving all Kentucky state-sponsored institutions of higher learning as well as seven private colleges and Kentucky’s two major historical societies, it was organized in 1969 as successor to the University of Kentucky Press. The Press is dedicated to the publication of academic books of high scholarly merit as well as significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.