A celebration of the bell hooks Memorial Writing Contest will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Alhambra Theatre, where the Christian County Literacy Council will announce the contest winners and some of the writers will read from their essays and poems. Everyone who participated will receive a booklet with the writing submissions.
“We want the community to come out and see the talent,” literacy council executive director Francene Gilmer told Hoptown Chronicle.
bell hooks is the pen name of Hopkinsville native Gloria Jean Watkins, who died on Dec. 15 at her home in Berea. The author of some 40 books, she wrote about feminism and issues of race, gender and class.
The literacy council hopes to make the memorial writing contest an annual event, said Gilmer.
Twenty people ranging from elementary school students to adults submitted entries for the inaugural contest. The theme for the contest was “change.”
Gilmer said the example that hooks set in her writing life can serve as inspiration for others.
“She read and wrote every day. Her accomplishments point to the importance of writing,” said Gilmer, who has been a friend of the Watkins family since her childhood.
The literacy council wants to emphasize the fact that writing is an important skill for people in all walks of life.
“You don’t have to think of yourself as a published author,” said Gilmer. “Everyone should be comfortable writing a simple expression.”
The literacy council had three co-sponsors — Pennyroyal Arts Council, Hopkinsville Rotary Club and the Alhambra Theatre — for the writing contest. The writing contest is one of several events in Hopkinsville to celebrate the life of books hooks during Women’s History Month.