The UK will host a virtual event honoring the life and work of Bell Hooks


Writer’s bell hooks.

Bell Hook Institute

The University of Kentucky will host a symposium honoring the life and work of Kentucky author Bell Hooks.

The event, titled “bell hooks: a legacy rooted in love”, will feature speakers from across the state reflecting on the life and work of Hooks. The event is scheduled for Saturday, February 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. via Zoom and is open to the public. Participants can register for the event at UK website.

Hooks, who had a career as an author, critic, feminist and public intellectual, died in December. She was 69 and a longtime professor at Berea College. She was also the recipient of the 2021 Medallion for Intellectual Achievement in British Libraries.

Hooks was born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. She adopted her great-grandmother’s name as her lowercase pen name, saying she wanted to emphasize “the substance of the books, not who I am”.

She published her first book, “Isn’t it a Woman? Black Women and Feminism” in 1981. She wrote more than 40 books during her career, including essays, poetry, and children’s books. Her topics include feminism, racism, culture, politics, gender roles, love and spirituality.

At the symposium, “scholars, artists, and activists from across the state of Kentucky will present and engage in conversations that celebrate and reflect on Hooks’ work and its impact on literature and critical thought.” according to UK. The event is organized by UK Libraries and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Speakers include:

  • Crystal Wilkinson, Kentucky Poet Laureate and Associate Professor of English in the UK.
  • Attica Scott, Kentucky State Representative for District 41.
  • Kaila Adia Story, Podcaster and University of Louisville Audre Lorde Endowed Chair in Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
  • DeBraun Thomas, co-founder of “Take Back Cheapside” and producer/host of WUKY.
  • Mr. Shadee Malaklou, Inaugural Director of the Bell Hooks Center and Chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Berea College.
  • DaMaris Hill, British Associate Professor of Creative Writing, English and African American Studies.

Monica Kast covers higher education for the Herald-Leader and Previously, she covered higher education in Tennessee for the Knoxville News Sentinel. She is originally from Louisville, Kentucky.
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