Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies

at Western Kentucky University

Rob Hale

Picture © Rob Hale

Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies

Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11086
Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101-1086

Dr. Rob Hale Coordinator of the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies, is a professor and Department Head of English at Western Kentucky University. His primary teaching area is 19th-century British literature, especially the poetry of William Wordsworth. He serves as Liaison between the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies and the Robert Penn Warren Circle.

Jonathan Jeffery, Coordinator of the Robert Penn Warren Library, is Library Special Collections Professor at Western Kentucky University.

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 functions—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. Dr. Marla Zubel at is Liaison with the Advisory Group.

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 lettersóone 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 at Western Kentucky University and in Guthrie, Kentucky, Warren's birthplace. The symposium is exploratory and celebratory, merging scholarly discussions of Warren's literary works with field trips and social events.

Each year the Advisory Group offers the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for an outstanding work of literary scholarship or criticism published in that year that exemplifies in the broadest sense the spirit, scope, and standards represented by the critical tradition established by Warren and Brooks. In particular, the award is intended to recognize and honor work that employs in a significant way the methods associated with "close reading" of the texts. During the Robert Penn Warren Circle symposium weekend, the winner of the Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism presents a lecture at Western Kentucky University.

For questions regarding the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies, please contact Rob Hale at

For questions regarding the Robert Penn Warren Library and Warren Collection, please contact Jonathan Jeffrey at 270-745-5265 or