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July 2001
Kentuckiana
by Johnny Payne

About the author

Johnny Payne is professor of English and creative writing and chair of the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the author of the novels Kentuckiana, North of Patagonia, Chalk Lake, and Baja and of the musical The Devil in Disputanta, set in Rockcastle County in 1930. Payne was named FAU’s Researcher of the Year for 2001. He has done speaking tours and consulting for the State Department and the U.S. Embassy of Peru. Recently, University of New Mexico Press published his fieldwork compilation, She-Calf and Other Quechua Folk Tales.


Bio from the 2000 Kentucky Book Fair:

Payne, the author of Kentuckiana, returns to the Book Fair as a translator of a collection of Sun Inventions and Perfumes of Carthage: Two Novellas by one of Uruguay’s best-known authors, Teresa Porzecanski.

This volume, which tells about the life and loves of immigrants to South America, was recently nominated for the Best in Sephardic Prize by the Jewish Book Council.

Payne also compiled, edited, and translated She-Calf and Other Quechua Folk Tales, a collection of 31 folk tales told by Quechua Indians in highland Peru. The bilingual edition, the first collection of stories from the Cusco region to be published in English, captures a rich but fast-disappearing oral tradition. The ethnographic introduction, a poignant recreation of what living and working with Quechua speakers reveals to a perceptive and appreciative outsider, is conversational, witty, and memorable for its insights.


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