2017 Kentucky Book Fair Moving to Lexington

Oct 20, 2017

Kentucky Humanities Council Director Bill Goodman
Credit Stu Johnson

For the first time in its nearly four decade existence, the Kentucky Book Fair will be held outside the state’s capital city next month.  

The 36th occurrence of the annual literary event will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.


For the past several years the book fair that attracts well over a hundred authors and hundreds more reading enthusiasts has been held at the Frankfort Convention Center.  

Kentucky Humanities Council Director Bill Goodman says he got a call from state Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Secretary Don Parkinson in early summer, who told him work was underway to demolish the Frankfort Center.

“I said Mr. Secretary, thank you for the alert.  What do you think we ought to do?

...He said “I have no idea”. 

“So, I came out in the hallway, gathered my staff together and said we’ve got a challenge.”

Goodman says another site in Frankfort with the appropriate capacity could not be found.  He says other locations in Kentucky were considered before landing at the Alltech Arena at the Horse Park.  

While’s it’s being hailed by its organizers as a good location with way more space, there is interest in getting such an event to downtown Lexington.  

Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning Director Neil Chethik says the opening of a new convention center might pave the way for a broader event. 

“We could create a literary festival around it, so that the businesses around it would participate.  They would have events or they would have meals that might be connected with an author or they would be a part of it,” said Chethik.

Some 184 writers, many well-known to Kentucky readers, are signed up for the book fair November 18.  A kids day event is planned for the day before.