By Cassondra Kirby/Editor

Despite several offers from other colleges, two nationallyknown Kentucky writers are coming to Eastern in what some are calling the blockbuster hiring of Kentucky writers in the past 20 years.Silas House, author of the national best seller “A Parchment of Leaves,” and Frank X Walker, a poet who helped coin the term “Affrilachian,” will teach creative writing and other courses in Eastern’s Department of English. They will begin full-time, tenure-track positions in the fall.

Charles Sweet, chair of the English department, said the hirings help Eastern reach its goal of becoming a leading comprehensive university and earning national distinction.

“We are obviously the cream of the Commonwealth when it comes to creative writing programs,” Sweet said. “We are now a strong presence in the region and we will be noticed on a national level for our creative writing.”

Sweet said Eastern has already gained some attention nationally with the announcement of the hiring in USA Today.

“When a college is usually mentioned (in USA Today) what do you usually find out? Well, there was a fire at one, a shooting at another,” Sweet said.

Sweet said the hirings have generated excitement among the English department faculty.

“I think there’s a tremendous sense of enthusiasm over what will happen,” he said. “I think it is a morale booster not just for the department but for the entire university.”

Sweet said the hiring of House and Walker reminded him of recruiting time for athletic departments.

“It’s like recruiting for Danny Hope and Travis Ford, but this time we got the big signees,” he said.

Sweet would not comment on the exact salary House and Walker will receive, but said the two will be paid at market rate.

“In other words, we did not have to break the bank to sign them,” he said. “We are signing them with basically what’s in line at Eastern for new assistant professors in English.”

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