Gurney Norman first burst onto the literary scene in 1972, when his novel Divine Right’s Trip, the story of a young man’s journey home from California to Kentucky, appeared serially on the pages of The Last Whole Earth Catalog. In 1977, Norman published Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories, acclaimed by the New Yorker for its “telling, rich [surface] of everyday speech and gestures.” Kinfolks is a realistic, often funny portrayal of a large family from Eastern Kentucky—a territory Gurney Norman knows intimately. Born just across the state line in Virginia, Norman was raised in the small community of Allais near Hazard in Perry County. Like young Wilgus Collier, the main character in Kinfolks, he attended the University of Kentucky. Along with contemporaries Ken Kesey and Larry McMurtry, Norman won a Stegner Fellowship to study creative writing at Stanford University. After 15 years in California, he returned to Kentucky in 1980, where he’s been teaching and writing ever since.
Watch the program
Card catalog entry from the Library of Congress
Blurbs from the book cover
Transcript of bookclub@ket program
Amazon.com information page
Fat Monroe, a short film based on the first story in Kinfolks