LEXINGTON — Eastern Kentucky author James Still was one of six writers inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame during its inaugural ceremony on Thursday.
Best known for his novel River of Earth, a tale about the hardships of life in Eastern Kentucky during the first half of the 20th century, Still is one of the state’s most influential writers, with later authors such as Silas House claiming Still as an influence. House went on to edit Still’s posthumously released work, Chinaberry.
Though James Still was best known for his prose, he also penned many poems which were released in collections. A native of Alabama, he lived much of his life in Knott County. He died in 2001 and is buried on the grounds of the Hindman Settlement School.
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame was Harry Caudill, a Letcher County native whose book, Night Comes to the Cumberlands, served as an eye-opener for many outside of the region concerning the plight of central Appalachia. He was also the subject of a recent series published by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame was limited to writers who are no longer living, and the four remaining inductees include Robert Penn Warren, Harriette Arnow, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, and William Wells Brown.
The Hall of Fame is hosted by the Carnegie Center in Lexington.