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UC hosts Author’s Row at 125th Homecoming Celebration


Williamsburg, Ky.—University of the Cumberlands (UC) hosted Author’s Row at its 125th Homecoming Celebration on Saturday, October 5. Nine authors gathered in UC’s Grace Crum Rollins Fine Arts Center to sign and promote their work. The authors were made up of UC alums, former and current professors, and Kentuckians, all with very different works but very real motivations.

“When you combine your passion with the talents that God gave you, you can use your gifts for Him,” said Christopher Epling, a cartoonist and children’s author whose faith directly impacts his work, as it does some of the other authors at the event.

Epling has won awards for both his cartoons and his children’s book “Erby's Turn to Rake,” but an award is the last reason he practices his art. Signing the Bible verse Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him” to his work before handing it to Author’s Row visitors, his motivation to share Christ’s story is evident.

Just like Epling, E. Pearl Anderson’s faith is woven into her works, whether poetry, painting or nursing, something she’s done for 51 years. A registered nurse in the field of gerontology, Anderson’s books “Patterns of Grace” and “Daylite's A-Comin’” are about the blessings of aging and her years as a nurse in a hospital. “Journey with the Wind” is a book of poems about youth, and “Knitted with Love” is her journal entries from mission trips to Russia. Anderson had all of these works available for purchase at Author’s Row.

Anderson’s husband and retired professor of Human Services at UC Carlos Anderson was also a visiting author, promoting his book, “Poetry Out of a Shoe Box.” Titled due to his first days sleeping in a shoebox, Mr. Anderson’s book is a diverse collection of poetry about family, nature, travel and history.

It is Jolina Petersheim’s Mennonite heritage that influenced her re-telling of the classic “The Scarlet Letter” in her book, “The Outcast.” Petersheim, a 2008 alum and stay-at-home mom, promoted her inaugural book at Author’s Row. “The Outcast” is the first Amish fiction published by Tyndale House in fifty years, and has been named a best seller by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Michael Capek, a UC graduate of 1969, was a high school English teacher for many years, and retired to write children’s books full time. “The Steamboat Shuffle”, “Emperor Qin's Terra Cotta Army”, “Easter Island” and “Jamaica”, books inspired by Capek’s interest in history and archaeology, were offered for sale at Author’s Row.

Dr. Eric Wake, 1965 alum and chair of UC’s History Department, was asked by President Jim Taylor to write a history of the University’s first 125 years. Wake employed both his profession as a historian and his many years at the University to write “A City Set on a Hill Cannot Be Hidden.” “It is about the remarkable change that has come across the University of the Cumberlands in its 125 years,” said Wake.

Kentucky native Donald Curtis’ motivation carried him for 20 years as he gathered stories for “And should we Die: The Cane Creek Mormon Massacre,” a detailed account of a violent and tragic event in Tennessee history. The work has been featured in several publications, including “Kentucky Explorer.”

Dr. Rayford Watts, 1963 alum and retired chair of UC’s English Department, offered several CD titles for sale. The discs featured Appalachian-based music written, composed and performed by himself with the help of friend and ’97 alum Virgil Bowlin. Watts recently wrote “Cumberlands,” a special song for the 125th Homecoming theatrical, “Shining Our Light.”

Perhaps one of the most touching motivations from the group of authors was the one behind “Doc: His Years as a Music Educator.” Lois Wortman, retired director of UC’s library, wrote the book about her late husband Dr. Harold Wortman, former head of UC’s Music Department. Wortman’s touching book not only tells the story of a man who inspired many during his years as a music instructor, but continues to inspire current students, with proceeds from book sales going towards the Harold Wortman Memorial Scholarship fund.

The motivation of each of the writers was present as they shared their work with alumni, students, faculty, staff and community members who visited Author’s Row. Each one left with a story, whether carrying a book or not, making the yearly Homecoming event a success once more.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; ten pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit