Hall of Fame writers

As part of my work for the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning, I manage the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame process. For the February 2021 issue of Kentucky Monthly magazine, I wrote an interview feature about poet Nikky Finney and profiled five deceased inductees. In the February 2020 issue, I wrote interview features about novelist Sena Jeter Naslund and Gray Zeitz of Larkspur Press, who received the inaugural Kentucky Literary Impact Award. I also took this cover portrait of Naslund and an inside portrait of Zeitz and wrote bios of the three deceased inductees.

Bluegrass Renaissance 

My daughter, Mollie, and I contributed a chapter to the book Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852, published in 2012 by the University Press of Kentucky. Our chapter, "Horace Holley and the Struggle for Kentucky's Mind and Soul," looked at the rise and fall of Transylvania University in the 1820s, a fascinating story that would foreshadow higher education's struggles in Kentucky for the next two centuries. In the Indiana Magazine of History, reviewer James S. Humphreys, associate professor of History at Murray State University, wrote, "The Eblens' chapter stands out as especially interesting and well-written even in a volume of excellent contributions." Buy the book here.

Matthew Harris Jouett 

I wrote the afterword for Estill Curtis Pennington's landmark biography and catalogue of the most celebrated portrait painter in Kentucky history. My essay put Jouett into the context of his time and place, early Lexington's "Athens of the West" period. During those first three decades of the 19th century, Lexington was one of the most important and cultured cities in what was then the western United States.

Garden & Gun

My 1986 portrait of Kentucky writer James Still was featured in the February/March 2016 issue of Garden & Gun with Lee Smith's article, Finding My Way Home, about how Still and Eudora Welty shaped her writing career. I took the portrait the day after Still's 80th birthday for a profile of him that I wrote for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is shown standing outside a log cabin in Knott County, Kentucky, where he did much of his writing.


I wrote When Poverty Was the Enemy, Not the Poor for the October 2014 issue of Yes! magazine. The article profiled two pioneers of the 1960s War on Poverty in Eastern Kentucky and looked at the legacy of their program.

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