Venable joins ET Writers Hall of Fame

News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall fo Fame Thursday night.
Congrats, Sam! Much deserved.
The annual induction ceremony, which is held each year to benefit the Friends of Literacy, has become one of my favorite annual events. There are always heartfelt speeches about the joy of reading and the importance of the written word, sentiments that are near and dear to my heart.
Also, one of the people who has benefited from the FOL programs reads a personal essay. These are incredibly moving stories about rising from despair and failure to hope and success through the power of education.
The keynoter this year was Rheta Grimsley Johnson, who I first heard of when she was writing for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis and I was at another Scripps paper, The Albuquerque Tribune. I’d never met her, though, until last night.
Rheta spoke about the significance of being a Southern writer. She said her column has had its longest run in the Knoxville News Sentinel — 27 years and counting.