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Celebration of Poet George Ella Lyon To Take Place in Harlan April 30

CONTACT: Robert Gipe, Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College Appalachian Program Director, robert.gipe@kctcs.edu or 606-589-3130

There will be a celebration of the life and work of Kentucky poet laureate and Harlan County native George Ella Lyon at the Harlan Extension Depot on Saturday April 30, 2016 in Harlan, Kentucky. The George Ellabration, which is sponsored by several organizations in Harlan County, will include testimonials, readings from Lyons work by friends and colleagues, live music, an art exhibit, a dramatic enactment of one of Lyons books for children, a presentation of poems by local students inspired by Lyons work, words from Lyon herself, and more. The event will begin at 4pm and includes a potluck dinner at 6pm, with the ceremony concluding at 8pm. Following the event, there will be a concert at the Portal in downtown Harlan by the Kudzu Killers, Karly Dawn and the Hillfolk, and the Woodsheep. The event at the Depot is free and open to the public. There may be a nominal cover charge for the concert at the Portal.

Lyon grew up in Harlan County surrounded by the stories of her extended family. Lyons father, dry cleaner Robert Hoskins, read poems aloud and sang to Lyon as a child. Her mother, Gladys Hoskins, played imagination games with her. Lyon began writing poems in third grade, and studied piano, voice, and flute. She has also been a dedicated fan and player of folk music since her teens. Lyon graduated from Centre College and holds a master of arts in English from the University of Arkansas and doctorate in English from Indiana University. Lyon has taught writing on many campuses and spoken at hundreds of schools, libraries, and conferences throughout the country. The mother of two grown sons, she is married to musician and writer Steve Lyon and lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Writing in many genres for readers of all ages, George Ella Lyon has published over forty books. Of her poetry collection She Let Herself Go, The Washington Independent Review of Books said, Lyon, with joy and conviction, teaches us how to write. The trick is to make life right so each day is energized, restoring the writer to herself. . . . [E]ach poem makes you feel better than the one before. Kirkus Reviews calls her novel for young adults, Holding on to Zoe, an intriguing window into the life of a damaged teen. Booklist reviewer wrote of the novel With a Hammer for My Heart, Lyon gives readers a story rich in precise, gorgeous language that glows like a sword on the forge and cuts as deep. . . . Tragedies old and new weave a tiny Kentucky town into the center of the universe. Publishers Weekly called her picture book Which Side Are You On? The Story of a Song a high-stakes account of grace under pressure. Lyons books have received many awards, including ALAs Schneider Family Book Award, a Jane Addams Honor, a Golden Kite, the Appalachian Book of the Year, and the Bluegrass Award. Shes had numerous Notable and Best Book citations, and her poem Where Im From is used as a writing model around the world.

Gov. Steve Beshear appointed George Ella Lyon to serve as Kentucky Poet Laureate for the 2015 2016 term. As poet laureate, Lyon promotes the arts and leads the state in literary endeavors through readings and public presentations at meetings, seminars, conferences and events, including Kentucky Writers' Day. Lyon was formally inducted at a public ceremony and reception, in conjunction with Kentucky Writers' Day, on April 24, 2015, in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. The Kentucky Poet Laureate nomination and selection process is coordinated and administered by the Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency. An independent panel reviews the nominations and submits its recommendation to the Governor for appointment.

The George Ellabration is sponsored by The Harlan County Arts Council, The Harlan County Historical Network, Harlan Tourism and Convention Commission, Harlan County Community Foundation, Harlan County Public Library, and the Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College Appalachian Program. For more information, contact Robert Gipe, SKCTC Appalachian Program Director at robert.gipe@kctcs.edu or 606-589-3130.

Support for the George Ellabration comes from the SKCTC Appalachian Program, Harlan Tourism and Convention Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

George Ella Bration Flyer