James Still Writer-In-Residence Rebecca Gayle Howell was selected as the Southern Foodways Alliance’s 2018 John Egerton Scholar, honoring her work in foodways, literature, and social justice. As part of her role, Howell delivered the keynote address at SFA’s summer symposium, hosted in Lexington, Kentucky from June 21-23, 2018. Her talk was entitled: “The Tradition in my Head” and considers Kentucky’s unique artistic inheritance from an agrarian perspective.
John Egerton (1935 – 2013) was a beloved journalist who chronicled and championed the cause of civil rights in America, while contributing significantly to the country’s understanding of the common table. Raised in Cadiz, Kentucky, Egerton was the recipient the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and was instrumental in founding the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Howell is the James Still Writer-in-Residence at Hindman Settlement School. Her most recent collection is American Purgatory, selected by Don Share for Great Britain’s 2016 Sexton Prize and named a must-read book by Poetry London, The Millions, and the Courier-Journal. She is also the author of Render / An Apocalypse, which was selected by Nick Flynn for Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s 2013 First Book Prize. Both books were also finalists for the Weatherford Award in Appalachian Literature and Foreword Review’s Book of the Year. Render, which takes places on a hillside subsistence farm, received wide critical acclaim at the time of its publication and was most recently featured by Chef Edward Lee in the epigraph to his book, Buttermilk Graffiti.