Ratliff, Howell to Join Settlement Staff

The Settlement is pleased to announce the addition of two new members of our cultural programs team: Brett Ratliff and Rebecca Gayle Howell!


Brett Ratliff

Brett Ratliff
Director of Cultural Heritage Programs

Brett Ratliff’s homeplace is Van Lear, Kentucky, the historic coal camp that gave birth to Loretta Lynn.  A musician and community organizer, Ratliff has been an activist for the connection between the arts, foodways, and economic development since graduating from Morehead State University in 2007.  Ratliff has worked toward the wellness of his region with such organizations as Appalshop and Hindman Settlement School, and he has founded festivals, such as the Morehead Old Time Music Festival and the Lexington Old Time Gathering.  For the past year he has lived in Little Rock, AR, working as Program Coordinator for the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Currently he is pursing his MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts through Goddard College.


Rebecca Gayle Howell

Rebecca Gayle Howell
James Still Writer-In-Residence

Native to Kentucky, Rebecca Gayle Howell is a writer, translator, and editor. Her debut poetry collection, Render /An Apocalypse, was a finalist for ForeWord’s Book of the Year and the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature. Howell’s latest book, American Purgatory, was released to both the United Kingdom and the United States in 2017 and was selected by Don Share for The Sexton Prize. Among Howell’s honors are fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Carson McCullers Center, and the Kentucky Arts Council, as well as a Pushcart Prize. She holds a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University, where she specialized in Southern literature from a global perspective, and an M.F.A. in poetry and translation from Drew University; since 2014 she has been poetry editor for the Oxford American.


This addition comes in response to rapid growth of our programming which has necessitated the split of our current Program Director’s responsibilities into two parts—our Cultural Heritage Programs and our Community Agriculture and Business Programs. Current Program Director, Jacob Mack-Boll, will focus on agriculture programming.

Ratliff and Howell will assume their positions on May 15.