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UK Political Science Professor Wins Carnegie Center Prize for Writing 

By Richard LeComte 

A portrait of a professor.
Ellen Riggle

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Ellen Riggle, professor of political science and gender and women's studies in the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts & Sciences, has received the Harriett A. Rose Legacies prize from the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington. 

The prize goes to writers 55 and older who submit poems, stories, essays or memoirs drawn from the writer’s personal history.   

Readings by contest winners will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, at the Carnegie Center, 251 W Secod St.  

Riggle received first place for a series of five poems. They are titled: “The LADIES Room,” “The Ladies ROOM,” “Law: …sex as assigned on a person’s birth certificate," “Queer” and “Hyper-Vigilance.”    

“The poems are all inspired by the intersection of my personal experiences with my research and scholarship," she said. “In the poems I give voice to my own experiences and to the experiences of many others in the current political and cultural context of continued stigmatization and attacks on LGBTQ people in the United States and especially here in Kentucky. Poetry is a form that distills and communicates ideas from my research articles and talks for a broader audience.” 

Harriett Rose, for whom the award is named, earned her doctorate in psychology at UK in 1964. From 1964 through 1985, she worked as director of the Counseling and Testing Center at UK. A former Carnegie nonfiction class participant, Rose, while in her upper 70s, started a 16-year career as a local newspaper columnist and then at age 95 published her autobiography, titled “Not Necessarily Kosher”; she died in 2021 at 100.