Making a Difference:
KET Arts Programming
KET is supportive of the arts, literature, theater, poetry, history—all of my passions.
Newport’s Sheila Williams thinks a lot about place. Not just geography, but her place in the world, the settings for her novels, the places she’s been, and where she now finds herself.
So as someone who describes herself as passionate about history, heritage, and the arts, it’s only natural the writer turns to KET to give shape to her writing and to nourish her soul.
“One of the first things I did when I moved here was to make a conscious and focused effort to become more fluent in what Kentucky is about,” said the Columbus, OH, native from the parlor of her Northern Kentucky home.
“KET is supportive of the arts, literature, theater, poetry, history—all of my passions,” she said. “I knew a lot about Ohio, but I didn’t know as much about Kentucky, and so I had to learn. And there was so much to learn! And KET was part of that education.”
A novelist, Williams has been featured by the KET series Kentucky Muse in its “A Novel Approach” program. Two of her books, Dancing on the Edge of the Roof and its sequel, On the Right Side of a Dream, have been featured by bookclub@ket as well. But as you listen to Williams, it’s easy to believe she has gotten as much, or more, from the living-room side of the screen.
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“The next passion for me is history, and that’s storytelling at its best,” she said. “Where the River Bends: A History of Northern Kentucky is a beautiful piece about where I live. As an adopted Kentuckian, it was delightful for me to watch this unfold and learn more about home, and of course the Ohio River.”
Currently incorporating history into her own writing, Williams found the acclaimed documentary a welcome and essential resource. “My second book, The Shade of My Own Tree, was set in Kentucky and was very much inspired by Kentucky, where I live—and the river. Where the River Bends was perfect because it went right along with what was in my head when I wrote the novel.”
As someone who lives with history all around her—from the wraparound porch to the parlor of her 1881 house, to the documented stop on the antebellum Underground Railroad just two blocks away—Williams naturally seeks out the historical and cultural resources offered by KET.
“I have learned a lot about my part of the world and it’s great,” she said. “I feel like KET has been part of my orientation to being a good citizen of Kentucky.”
Williams was recently captivated by the Kentucky Muse production “Murder, They Wrote,” a behind-the-scenes look at the first International Mystery Writers’ Festival at Owensboro’s RiverPark Center in June 2007.
“That was a very original and interesting piece of programming,” she said. “You’ve got the combination of writing; the suspense component, which is fantastic; and you have theater, which is just great. People don’t go to live theater as they used to. These plays were definitely enthralling, and I just had a great time sitting on the couch watching the different whodunits.”
From new mystery authors to internationally renowned writers such as Wendell Berry, Williams said, this world of ideas is available through KET for all Kentuckians to explore.
“We have a great literary tradition in Kentucky, and a good deal of that is supported by KET.”