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All the King’s Men


Tue, February 26th
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Category:


543-7675 ext. 2552


Mt. Washington Branch
214 N. Bardstown Road
Mt. Washington, KY 40047 United States

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Join us to explore literature, history, contemporary society, journalism, and politics through the lens of All the King’s Men, the timeless, Pulitzer Prize–winning novel written by Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren.

Enjoy a thoughtful and insightful discussion of this celebrated book with Dr. Conor Picken of Bellarmine University! This discussion is part of the Kentucky Reads project, which uses All the King’s Men as a guide for starting a statewide conversation about contemporary populism, political discourse, and their relationship to journalism.

Registered participants will be provided a copy of the book to read and follow during the discussion.

Robert Penn Warren—born in Guthrie,KY—was awarded the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for best novel for All the King’s Men. A landmark work of modern American literature, All the King’s Men is rated as the 36th greatest novel of the 20th century by Modern Library, and it was also chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 best novels since 1923. Warren’s novel has been adapted to film twice: the 2006 version stars Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Anthony Hopkins; the original 1949 adaptation with Broderick Crawford received three Academy Awards, including Best Picture and a Best Actor award for Crawford.

Through the perspective of a newspaper columnist and personal aide to the governor, the book follows the rise and fall of Willie Stark, a fictional character who is loosely based on Huey P. Long, a real-life Louisiana governor and senator who became known as the “Kingfish” due to his slogan “Every man a king.” In the book, Stark begins his political career as an idealistic man of the people but soon becomes corrupted by success, caught between dreams of service and lust for power.

Dr. Conor Picken is the director of the Compassio Learning Community at Bellarmine Univerisity, where he teaches English and Interdisciplinary Studies. His teaching focuses on American literature, southern literature, modernism, and social change. His publications include contributions to Mississippi Quarterly, Critical Insights: American Multicultural Identity, and Rieger and Hamblin’s There Ought to Be a Law: Prohibition in Faulkner and Warren.

Kentucky Reads is a statewide literacy initiative of Kentucky Humanities centered around community discussions of Warren’s novel, with particular attention to how it depicts the role of rural journalism and media in politics. The conversation also encourages participants to consider the ways in which “journalism is critical to creating an informed populace and preserving democracy.” Kentucky Reads: All the King’s Men is part of the larger Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to “deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry.”

For more information about Kentucky Reads and events taking place throughout the state, visit kyhumanities.org.

For ages 18 and up.
Registration is required for a select number of reserved seats and to receive a copy of the book. Additional seating and book copies will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Questions? E-mail ladonna@bcplib.org.