The University of Louisville Kentucky Author Forumis a non-profit, nationally-recognized literary event. Author Forum programs carefully match an author and interviewer; their hour-long candid conversation takes place before a live audience in the Bomhard Theater ofKentucky Performing Arts in Louisville. The event is recorded and distributed by KET, airing as the series “Great Conversations” on PBS member stations across the country. The events are also recorded and developed into podcasts by Louisville Public Media and available online and downloadable.
The University of Louisville Kentucky Author Forum was originally created as a cultural, educational effort, sponsored by the University of Louisville, in honor of its bicentennial. These programs have blossomed into one of the best author series on public television, with “Great Conversations” now available nationwide on PBS stations and as podcasts. The vision of Mary Moss Greenebaum, founder and producer of the Author Forum, was that the University of Louisville, given its academic and cultural relationship with the Louisville community, was a natural focal point to create a world-class author event.
The first Forum- Senator Bill Bradley, in conversation with Eleanor Clift- took place on May 13, 1996, in The Kentucky Center’s Bomhard Theater, on a stage set by Bittners. Describing her vision of the Kentucky Author Forum, whose format remains consistent today, Mary Moss Greenebaum said, “I sought from the beginning to create a particular mood for the Forum: the audience should feel they are eavesdropping on a conversation they never expected to hear. Where else could one possibly hear Jane Goodall saying goodnight- in chimpanzee-to her interviewer, Dr. Richard Wrangham, Chair of Anthropology at Harvard?”
The staging of each evening Forum in the Bomhard Theater of Kentucky Performing Arts is skillfully designed by Bittners.The set recreates a handsome library room, including an Oriental carpet provided by Frances Lee Jasper. Author and interviewer are seated in traditional leather desk chairs and face each other across a reproduction of an antique partner’s desk. Under the artistic eye of Bittners, surrounding furnishings create an intimate mood for this national dialogue.
The hour-long evening interview is recorded by WFPL, Louisville’s NPR News Station, and developed into podcasts which can be found on WFPL’s website as well as downloaded wherever podcasts are found. Each Forum conversation is also recorded by KET, Kentucky Educational Television, and made available PBS member stations nationwide, where it airs as part of the series “Great Conversations.” Past interviews are available to stream online on KET’s website or available for purchase on DVD by calling 1-800-945-9167.
Our media partner is Louisville’s own Courier-Journal newspaper, which provides the public with a book review prior to each Forum and helps advertise the events. Each author visit includes book sales and signings, coordinated by Louisville’s oldest independent, Carmichael’s Bookstore. Carmichael’s first opened its doors in Louisville in 1978, and in 2009 Carmichael’s was named “Book Seller of the Year” by Publishers Weekly.Louisville Free Public Library provides a curated selections of library books at each Forum and screens the interviews, free-of-charge, for those who could not attend the events in person.
The open book logo, seen at the top of the page, was created for Kentucky Author Forum by designer Julius Friedman.