The One Book Read project first came to West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) in 2008. It is a community effort to encourage reading across various groups of people and to assist in the elimination of illiteracy in our region. The project encourages the community, area school districts, and colleges to read the same book and come together to discuss it in a variety of settings.
One Book partners join together to plan a variety of events and activities related to the book within the community. This year WKCTC held a photo contest and a social media contest. The winners of each contest will be announced at the free author opening reception Tuesday, March 13. Winners will receive cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. The winners of the photo competition will be on display at the Clemens Fine Arts Center on the campus of WKCTC through March 23.
The culmination of the One Book project is the author’s visit to the Clemens Theatre on March 13 for a special presentation.
Karen Thompson Walker will visit WKCTC and share the book with the community on March 13 & 14. An Opening Reception will be held at 6 pm on Tuesday, March 13 in the Student Center on WKCTC’s campus. At 7pm, Walker will be speaking to the public at the Clemens Theatre about the book, writing, and the importance of reading. The night will end with a book signing in the Student Center at 8:15 pm.
On Wednesday, March 14, at 11am in Clemens Theatre, there will be a student presentation. To find out more about the One Book Read and the authors visit, please go to onebookread.com.
This year’s One Book Read is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council.
Karen Thompson Walker was born and raised in San Diego, California, where her book, The Age of Miracles is set. She studied English and creative writing at University of California, Los Angeles, where she wrote for the UCLA paper, the Daily Bruin. After college, she worked as a newspaper reporter in the San Diego area before moving to New York City to attend Columbia University. There she received a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts.
While working as a book editor at the publishing house Simon & Schuster she wrote The Age of Miracles - in the mornings before work, and sometimes while riding the subway. She received the 2011 Sirenland Fellowship as well as a Bomb Magazine fiction prize. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband.
Walker got the idea for The Age of Miracles from a newspaper article about the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004. The earthquake that preceded the tsunami was so strong that it affected the speed of the earth on its axis, shortening the length of a day by fractions of a second.
“I just found that very haunting,” Walker says. “Something we think of as stable and steady - sunset and sunrise.” She took the tragedy and ran with it, writing a short story inspired by it. Then, years later, she returned to finish it. The story evolved from the concept of the earth speeding up to the earth slowing down.
The complex science in the book becomes less important than the people because of the narration. The tragedy in the book is from a child, Julia’s, perspective. She is a sharp child, drawing the reader in with her personality. The book balances humor well with tough material: Julia is funny and brings humor to the page. It doesn’t let humor overpower the seriousness of the issue. The message is clear - we have to take care of our world. Walker said she is not a “doomsayer” but, “I am drawn to stories that have some sort of threat or danger; it has a way of raising the stakes.”