About the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies at WKU
Founded in 1987, the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies at Western Kentucky University exists to honor the achievements of America’s first poet laureate, the only person awarded Pulitzer Prizes for both poetry and fiction. The Center is uniquely positioned to accomplish its purpose because both the writer's life and work are deeply rooted in “Warren Country.” Therefore, the Center focuses its efforts on preserving Warren's regional heritage while promoting his considerable international reputation.
The activities of the Center fall into three major categories—education, research, and celebration. The Center’s educational purpose is to increase awareness of Warren's life and work and of the values which inform them both.
The Center houses personal items of Robert Penn Warren, and the items are on display to the public. The most valuable items and 2400 books from Warren's personal library are in the Warren Collection located in the Kentucky Museum Building on the Western Kentucky University Campus. Jonathan Jeffrey, Director of Special Collections, is in charge of this collection.
The Warren Center coordinates the Warren Library, collects Warren interviews, and catalogues popular culture treatments of the author's works, such as film or television productions. The Center also collects materials focused on Warren country, including family memorabilia, private letters, local reminiscences, and cultural or historical material associated with the region.
The Robert Penn Warren Advisory Group, distinguished individuals from across the nation, provides valuable recommendations.
The Robert Penn Warren Center Committee has the responsibility for planning, directing, and securing resources to support ongoing programs. With cooperation of these groups, the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies realizes its purpose: celebrating the life and work of a versatile and prolific man of letters—one of America’s greatest.
Each April, close to the birth date of Robert Penn Warren, the Center, in collaboration with the Warren Circle, holds a weekend symposium. The symposium is exploratory and celebratory, merging scholarly discussions of Warren's literary works with field trips and social events.
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