The Department of English at Cumberlands has invited award-winning novelist, playwright and essayist Silas House to be the keynote speaker for this year’s Palmer Lecture. The lecture will take place Monday, April 15 at 6:30 p.m. in Gatliff Chapel.

Silas House is a Kentucky native and attended University of the Cumberlands before transferring and earning degrees from Eastern Kentucky University and Spalding University. He has written six novels, including Same Sun Here, which was co-authored with Neela Vaswani. House’s works frequent the New York Times, and he has had writings appear in Time, Oxford American and Newsday. 

“What I love about Silas is, no matter how well his writing has done, he never forgets his roots,” said Jamey Temple, Associate Professor of English. “He is a champion of rural people.”

Temple first met Silas House as a guest lecturer in her communication arts classes while she was attending Cumberlands. She was later fortunate enough to be taught by him while earning her Master of Fine Arts from Spalding University, where he still teaches fiction. 

“Silas is a phenomenal writer, but he also is an effective teacher,” said Temple. “These two qualities make him the perfect Palmer lecturer. Having him come present our Palmer Lecture feels timely and long overdue. Cumberlands is happy to welcome him back to campus.” 

Past speakers for the Palmer Lecture include former Poet Laureate Billy Collins, beloved Southern writer Lee Smith, novelist Crystal Wilkinson and former Kentucky Poet Laureate George Ella Lyon.

Cumberlands’ Department of English hosts the Palmer Lecture as well as occasional writing workshops for high school students. The Department also publishes an annual literary journal called Pensworth, which features writings from local high school students as well as Cumberlands students and alumni. More information can be found at