Kareem A. Simpson is a current Artist in Residence for The "Crafting Stories, Making History: the African American Experience in Covington, KY" project at Kenton County Public Library. The project has been made possible in part by funding from the Library of Congress.
Just a few short months ago, I was named this year’s Kenton County Public Library (KCPL) Writer-in-Residence and it's a thrill of a lifetime, because I can honestly say that, outside of my close family members, my relationship with KCPL is one of the longest I’ve had my entire life.
While a resident writer, I plan to complete my fiction novel, Moon Song, that uses at least one collection available through the Library of Congress (LOC) and is set in the year of 1988 in and around Covington’s historically African American Eastside neighborhood. Over the next few months, I plan to share the progress of my work with the community through workshops, performances, and other engagement activities.
My love for writing, as well as reading and fact finding was cultivated within KCPL’s Mary Ann Mongan Covington branch. Some of my first memories in life are visiting the library, walking through the muted grand foyer and past the stoic grandfather clock up the stairs to the library’s Childrens Department where a world of ideas was open to me in the form of books.
As a lifelong reader and writer, libraries have always been a sacred place for me. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who read to me from day one, and those were always my favorite childhood memories. She began taking me to the library as a toddler. When I graduated from high school, the library was where I sought out my first “real” job and when I returned from a four-and-a-half-year career in the US Army, I again found employment at the very same library.
Our local library is very important to me. So, working on a project which connects KCPL with the LOC, the most prestigious library in the nation, I am over-the-hill with excitement.
I’m especially thrilled about doing a deep dive into the LOC’s collection, Chronicling America and the African American Newspapers. It will be riveting to see how African American communities have been chronicled and the disparity in coverage of our community, especially Covington’s Eastside neighborhood, throughout the years. I hope to show how the Eastside residents aren’t as one dimensional as the local region has stereotyped them to be.
Now, as an author, a community enthusiast and a lover of all things creative, it was an amazing experience to be invited to serve in this role as Writer-in-Residence at KCPL. It feels like visiting an old, familiar friend. As soon as I walk inside the Covington Library, it feels like home.
We are thrilled to have Kareem A. Simpson as Artist in Residence until April 2023. Learn about his previous work in the links below.