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2018 ALER Conference

November 8 - 11, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky

Kentucky spirit defines the culture and compassion, the arts and parks, and the creative energy of Louisville. It’s this same spirit that built Louisville itself - a city steeped in heritage, reinvented by innovation, authenticity with originality, and quirkiness with friendliness in a way that’s completely unique to Kentucky.  Louisville provides visitors an entirely different type of Southern. From boundary pushing twists on Southern cuisine that have made it one of the “10 Best New Food Cities” in America to one-of-a-kind attractions like the legendary Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and the Muhammad Ali Center.

Keynote Speakers

Brendan Kiely

Thursday Evening Author's Presentation

Brendan Kiely is the author of The Last True Love Story, The Gospel of Winter, and coauthor of All American Boys. Brendan's novels have been awarded the American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, Kirkus Reviews selection for best books of the year, The Walter Award, and the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award. He has a new book that will be out soon.

Erica Abrams Locklear

Friday Keynote Address

Reading about Getting Above Your Raising: What Fictional Portrayals of Appalachian Literacies Tell Us about Identity Conflicts

Dr. Abrams Locklear will discuss both the benefits and the perils of acquiring new literacies for Appalachian learners and women in particular. Drawing from historical, contemporary, and fictional examples, Abrams Locklear asks what happens when pursuing new literacies has the potential to strain important familial and communal bonds. Using the New Opportunity School for Women as an example, she posits that reading and discussing fictional depictions of those same identity conflicts in the classroom opens a crucial space for addressing the pain sometimes associated with education.

Erica Abrams Locklear is an associate professor in the English department at UNC Asheville. Her first book, Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment: Appalachian Women's Literacies, was published by Ohio University Press in 2011 as part of their Series in Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Appalachia. Her research interests include Appalachia, literacy, the South, foodways, and gendered issues within each of these categories. Her current project, Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain Food and People, explores depictions of Appalachian food in multiple outlets ranging from local color literature to missionary publications to contemporary fiction and poetry. University of Georgia Press will publish it as part of their Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place series. She has also published in The Southern Literary Journal, Appalachian Heritage, North Carolina Folklore Journal, and various essay collections.

George Ella Lyon

Saturday Awards Breakfast Keynote

George Ella Lyon has written many books in almost every genre, but is known for her poetry.  She and her husband are activists for Kentucky environmental issues.  Lyon’s work has received many awards including the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Award, a Jane Addams Honor, a Golden Kite and the Kentucky Bluegrass Award. George Ella Lyon was named Kentucky Poet Laureate from 2015-2016. In her own words, she explains "In 1993 I wrote a poem called 'Where I’m From.' The process was so rich that I used it as a prompt in a teacher workshop. They liked it, too, and passed it on. Now, thanks to unnumbered teachers and the Internet, “Where I’m From” has gone around the world. There are more poem videos on youtube than I can watch, bilingual anthologies, culinary adaptations, collections from substance abuse facilities, refugee camps, prisons. It has shown up paired with photos in a Berkeley gallery, in theater pieces & obituaries, on memorial cards. Why did this happen? What does it tell us about the deep need everyone feels to be asked who they are? To have their authentic voice welcomed? And how can we answer that need in ways that go beyond one assignment, one poem? How can we help people claim their voices and empower them to speak out in their own behalf? To find community? To make change? Grace Paley said, “Every time you speak the truth, you’re making justice in this world.” I want to look at some ways we can help each other give that truth a voice."  

Contact Us by Mail
Dr. April Blakely, Bus. Manager
4076 Loblolly Lane
Richmond, KY 40475
United States
ALER seeks to stimulate the self-development and professional growth of professors, teachers, reading specialists and students at all educational levels. We encourage the continuing improvement of college and university curricula and assist preparation programs for teachers and reading specialists. Our members work at the forefront of policy, pedagogy and practice.  Further, we encourage the continuing improvement of administrative, clinical, diagnostic and instructional practices related to the learning process.
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