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The Back Page: Byron Crawford’s Kentucky Living Columns

In this new collection, veteran television and newspaper journalist Byron Crawford shares stories about Kentucky’s rural people and places, ranging from the playful to the poignant to the profound. Meet Justin the donkey, companion of racehorses and connoisseur of marigolds. Read tales of panther sightings, snake crossings and haunted happenings. Reminisce about country stores, telephone operators and pool halls. Hear quiet voices of sacrifice, courage, service and love.  Since 2011, Crawford has written the back page of Kentucky Living magazine, the state’s most widely circulated publication, and each month, readers enjoy his unique gift for “finding the little story within the big story,” as he puts it.

By Byron Crawford
6×9 inches
304 pages
ISBN 978-1-953058-86-7
Pub date: August 2023


“Byron Crawford is to Kentucky storytelling what Cawood Ledford was to Kentucky basketball. When Byron writes or speaks, he can bring back the smell of burley tobacco hanging in the barn, the call of the bobwhite quail, or the sound of a BB hitting a tin can. And when I read his writing, I hear his voice telling the story.”

—Tim Farmer, former host and executive producer of KET’s Kentucky Afield, now host and producer of Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen and 2023 Distinguished Rural Kentuckian

“Byron Crawford has told rural Kentuckians’ stories for decades and he has told them with affection and respect. That is what has set him apart. As my father Wendell Berry says, ‘Byron is a fine storyteller of the old school. I am still telling stories that I heard him tell years ago.’” 

—Mary Berry, executive director of the Berry Center

“Byron Crawford, the country boy who took on all media with commonsense and great judgment—to be appreciated by all.”

—Al Purnell, former president and spokesperson for Purnell’s ‘Old Folks’ Country Sausage and 2022 Distinguished Rural Kentuckian

“From 1979 to 2008, Byron Crawford produced three highly readable columns a week for the The Courier-Journal, about interesting people in Kentucky who might otherwise have gone unnoticed. I’m delighted that he has continued to do great work for Kentucky Living magazine, as evidenced by this collection of his back page essays.”

—Paul Janensch, former executive editor of The Courier-Journal and professor emeritus of journalism at Quinnipiac University


Byron Crawford grew up on a family farm in Lincoln County, attended Murray State University and, in his early career, worked as a news reporter at radio stations WAKY in Louisville and WCKY in Cincinnati and at WHAS Radio and Television in Louisville, where he hosted the popular traveling feature series, Sideroads. In 1979, he became the Kentucky Columnist for the state’s largest newspaper, The Courier-Journal, and spent nearly 30 years traveling to every corner of Kentucky, writing stories about fascinating people and places. Crawford hosted the first five seasons of Kentucky Educational Television’s Emmy Award-winning Kentucky Life series and has authored four books of Kentucky stories.

He joined Kentucky Living after retirement from The Courier-Journal, and now writes the magazine’s back page essays. He was named 2017 Distinguished Rural Kentuckian, which is the highest honor bestowed by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.

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