The Kentucky Book Fair was the first literary celebration of its kind here in the Commonwealth. The event has a rich history of supporting Kentucky authors—both well-known names like bell hooks and Silas House along with up-and-comers who've published their first books—while seeking out additional national bestsellers and inviting them to visit Kentucky to speak about their work. The Kentucky Book Fair was journalist Carl West’s brainchild, and a small volunteer committee helped to organize it for more than thirty-five years.
Historically, the Kentucky Book Fair’s home was in Frankfort, but it was moved to Lexington two years ago, and its production transitioned to Kentucky Humanities, where the staff transitioned the event to the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena. To further the impact and opportunity to highlight even more literary talent, the event was expanded it into a week-long festival in 2018. With that change, Kentucky Book Fair became the anchor for the Kentucky Book Festival, whose many events take place at venues across Lexington.