03 Jan

Kentucky Humanities announces 2024 Kentucky Reads

Kentucky Humanities has selected Fenton Johnson’s Scissors, Paper, Rock for its 2024 Kentucky Reads. The novel will serve as a focal point for community-wide book discussions that promote a shared literary experience and celebrate the diverse voices and stories that shape Kentucky’s rich cultural landscape.


Kentucky Reads will offer scholar-led discussions of Scissors, Paper, Rock  to community organizations throughout the Commonwealth. Any non-profit organization in Kentucky can host a discussion of Scissors, Paper, Rock for a booking fee of $50, and each host organization will be provided with 15 copies of the novel to share among participating members. Publicity materials to promote the discussion will also be provided. A list of scholars can be found at


Scissors, Paper, Rock delves into the complexities of human relationships, identity, and the search for self-discovery. Fenton Johnson, an accomplished author, and native Kentuckian, brings his unique storytelling prowess to illuminate the intricacies of life and connections that bind us together.


“We are thrilled to announce Scissors, Paper, Rock as the 2024 Kentucky Reads book,” said Bill Goodman, Kentucky Humanities Executive Director. “Fenton Johnson’s narrative explores themes that resonate with our shared humanity, and we believe it will spark meaningful conversations and connections among readers across the state. We invite everyone to join us on this literary journey as we read and reflect on Scissors, Paper, Rock,” added Goodman. “Through the power of storytelling, we hope to strengthen the bonds that connect us and celebrate the diversity of Kentucky’s cultural tapestry.”


Fenton Johnson is the author of three novels and four works of creative nonfiction, most recently At the Center of All Beauty:  Solitude and the Creative Life, New York Times Editors’ Pick.  At various times a contributor to National Public Radio, Harper’s Magazine, and the New York Times Magazine, he has received numerous literary awards.  He has taught in the nation’s leading creative writing programs and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona.  He continues to lecture and teach nationally.

Kentucky Humanities’ first edition of Kentucky Reads, in 2018, featured Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, All the King’s Men. In 2020, Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter was chosen, followed by Crystal Wilkinson’s The Birds of Opulence in 2021, and Bobbie Ann Mason’s Dear Ann in 2022. Last year, Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman’s Daughter was selected.