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University of Mississippi Professor Chris Offutt named winner of 2017 Kentucky Literary Award

University of Mississippi Professor Chris Offutt named winner of 2017 Kentucky Literary Award

The Southern Kentucky Book Fest partnership announced Chris Offutt as the winner of this year’s Kentucky Literary Award (KYLA) for his book My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (New York, New York). First awarded in 2003 and reintroduced in 2012 after a brief hiatus, the Kentucky Literary Award is a celebration of Kentucky Literature. Eligible books include those written by Kentuckians or books with a substantial Kentucky theme. Fiction and nonfiction books are recognized in alternating years, this year being the year for non-fiction. 

The New York Times calls the book “A generous reminiscence ... ruminative and melancholy ... Offutt somehow manages to summon compassion for his father. That, ultimately, is what makes this memoir so unexpectedly moving.” 

Offutt, a Kentucky native, is an award-winning author and screenwriter, who has written fiction and nonfiction, this title being his second memoir. Offutt is an assistant professor of English and Screenwriting at the University of Mississippi. His first book, a collection of stories called Kentucky Straight, was published in 1992. He has worked as a screenwriter for shows such as Weeds and True Blood

“Chris Offutt cuts his relationship with his dead father open and reveals it to the world in My Father the Pornographer. In this angst-ridden memoir set in Appalachian Kentucky, Offutt tackles the often difficult relationship between a strong, driven father and a son yearning for a ‘normal’ father-son bond. The fact that Chris Offutt’s father was a prolific pornographic and science fiction novelist only increases the anguish. The unique nature of this memoir intrigued all the members of the selection committee, but it was Offutt’s crisp, honest prose that resulted in it winning the award,” said Jonathan Jeffrey, KYLA selection committee member.

The award announcement was made at the Knicely Conference Center at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest Meet the Authors Reception on April 21--the night before the main Book Fest event. Offutt was recognized with a commemorative certificate and a monetary gift received by his sister Scotty Hyde.

The Southern Kentucky Book Fest partners include Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Warren County Public Library, and WKU Libraries. The award was made possible with the generous support of Friends of WKU Libraries. For information about the award, visit

Contact: Jennifer Wilson, (270) 745-6977 or

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 Last Modified 5/2/17