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April's Book
by Gurney Norman

KET Productions with Gurney Norman

Gurney Norman has participated in several KET video productions as host, writer, or subject. For information on purchasing any of these videos, email or call (800) 945-9167.

From This Valley

Amid the breathtaking beauty of the 1,000-foot gorge known as the Breaks of the Sandy, Kentucky author Gurney Norman begins a journey along the Big Sandy River to explore the history and culture of its people. While hiking the woodsy trails and canoeing the quiet creek water, Norman reflects on the rich heritage of the region, which has produced an abundance of writers, historians, musicians, and artists. The program recounts both notable events from the region’s history, including the explorations of frontiersman Daniel Boone and the tragic Hatfield-McCoy feud, and its modern-day traditions and success stories.

This KET production first aired in August 1997. (60 minutes)

At the Forks of Troublesome

Taped during the 1992 Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at the Hindman Settlement School, this KET special spotlights Kentucky writers reading from their works and sharing insights into the sources of their inspiration.

Says writer Leatha Kendrick: “When you come into the Settlement School and you get to the bottom of the hill, you cross Troublesome Creek on the little wooden bridge. And you literally enter a place. It’s not a place that exists all the time; it’s more like Brigadoon. It sort of appears once a year and is there, and is real while it’s there, but is not there the rest of the time.”

At the Forks of Troublesome features readings and interviews with writers Lee Smith, George Ella Lyon, Gurney Norman, Jim Wayne Miller, Ed McClanahan, and the late James Still. This KET production premiered in 1993. (60 minutes)

Video excerpt: Gurney Norman reading [requires RealPlayer®]

Wilderness Road

In the late 1700s, settlers along the eastern seaboard began the first leg of their westward migration, traveling through Cumberland Gap and the primeval forests of Eastern Kentucky into the rich grasslands of Central Kentucky and Tennessee. KET’s Wilderness Road takes viewers along the famous route journeyed first by buffalo and Indians, and later by early pioneers. Kentucky author Gurney Norman guides viewers through the road’s history beginning at Kingsport, Tennessee and ending in Boonesborough.

Among those sharing facts and folklore in Wilderness Road are retired U.S. forester John F. King, a Cherokee teacher, and a Laurel County farmer whose land is crossed by the historic route. (60 minutes)

Time on the River

The Kentucky River has played a critical role in the settlement and growth of Kentucky. Boonesborough, Kentucky’s first permanent settlement, was established on its banks in 1775; later, it carried steamboats and logs for the timber industry. In the 19th century, Frankfort was designated the state capital in part because the river provided easy access. Author Gurney Norman brings the story up to date by exploring the contemporary uses of the river and investigating the controversies that swirl around it. His guided tour takes viewers from the river’s headwaters in the Eastern Kentucky mountains to its confluence with the Ohio River near Carrollton. (60 minutes)

John Morgan’s Portraits of Kentucky

Writer Gurney Norman hosts a tribute to late KET producer John Morgan, with whom he collaborated on three documentaries. Morgan’s innate storytelling abilities, combined with his wonderful visual sense, make his works truly memorable; and his subjects—land, rivers, culture, folk traditions—are close to Kentuckians’ hearts.

The tribute program features clips from some of KET’s most watched and most enjoyed local specials: On the Ohio with John Ed Pearce, Time on the River, Along Kentucky Eighty, The Haunting Tradition, and more. Interviews with Morgan and the people with whom he has worked offer insights into how these programs were created. (30 minutes)

Videotapes are available from KET Tape Duplication, 600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502-2296, (800) 945-9167,

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