Sarah Kelley

Writer and Editor

Louisville, Kentucky

Sarah Kelley

I'm a veteran journalist whose résumé includes stints at a digital news startup, two alt-weeklies, a D.C. daily paper and the Legal Times. I recently left life in the newsroom to pursue freelance writing and editing full time.



At Ostra, Creativity Rules

Adam Burress traces his culinary lineage to an unlikely beginning. “On my 16th birthday, I got hired on at Taco Bell, and it was the best job I’ve ever had,” he says. It didn’t take long for Burress to begin tinkering with recipes the taco chain had likely designed to appeal to the widest swath of tame American palates.
Louisville Magazine Link to Story

The Return of the Pine Room

Phyllis Ward and her college friends were regulars at the old Pine Room, a well-known watering hole situated on a quaint stretch of River Road in historic Harrods Creek. The neighborhood bar and restaurant served cheap libations, country cooking and seafood, but Ward says the main attraction was Mabel — a charismatic pianist who played jazz and familiar ballads on a baby grand bathed in candlelight.
Louisville Magazine Link to Story

V-Grits and False Idol Might Turn Us Vegan

Kristina Addington was raised on hearty Southern staples like chicken and dumplings, biscuits and gravy, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. “And there was always bacon in the green beans,” says Addington, who grew up in Shelby County but spent summers visiting relatives in the tiny Appalachian town of Whitesburg.
Louisville Magazine Link to Story

R&B Group WOKE Sings Out Against Inequality

The members of the R&B group WOKE have been on the brink of commercial success time and again over the past two decades, only to see it slip through their fingers. “We’ve been at the door of some major-label situations, but for some reason or another it just didn’t happen,” group member Lamont Connor says.
Louisville Magazine Link to Story

StageOne Director Idris Goodwin on What Theatre Teaches Us

Idris Goodwin spent the first decade of childhood in a quiet, residential enclave of Detroit, where his father worked as an auto-industry executive. But by the late 1980s, a growing drug epidemic began infiltrating the neighborhood, prompting his family to flee to the suburbs. “Suburban living is one of those things that, when you’re in it, you’re not thrilled.
Louisville Magazine Link to Story

From Hoops to Horses with David Levitch

David Levitch is on the phone again, pacing back and forth. He walks fast, talks faster. The gist of the call, based on what I can parse, is that a notable horse owner just bought a promising two-year-old Thoroughbred. The horse is going to run on grass in an upcoming race, and Levitch thinks it’s a solid bet.
Louisville Magazine Link to Story

Kentucky Medicaid campaign picks up anti-Obamacare push

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's Medicaid campaign picks up anti-Obamacare push where Congress left off.
Medium Link to Story

A history of violence

It was still dark when Amanda Ross walked out the front door of her downtown Lexington townhouse on the morning of Sept. 11, 2009, embarking on her regular weekday commute to the state Capitol. Two days earlier, Ross left work at 1 p.m. following a terrifying encounter with ex-fiancé Steve Nunn. The pair’s volatile relationship had ended in early 2009, and a domestic violence order prohibited Nunn — a former state lawmaker and the son of a past governor — from coming near Ross.
Louisville Eccentric Observer Link to Story

To Have, But Not To Hold

How the grisly murder and dismemberment of a young man led a well-off pilot to wed a woman serving life for the crime. The two-hour drive along Interstate 40 ended as usual for Timothy McDonald—at the Tennessee Prison for Women. He strolled past rows of menacing razor-wire fences without a second glance, as he had countless times before.
Nashville Scene Link to Story

Cancer, Interrupted

I owe a debt of gratitude to Angelina Jolie, which is unexpected given my cynical self typically scoffs at rich Hollywood types with whom I can’t relate. But as it turns out, I do have one thing in common with arguably the world’s most attractive human — we both are genetically flawed. The average woman has a 7 percent chance of getting breast cancer.
Louisville Eccentric Observer Link to Story

Witness to an Execution

Evidence suggesting Philip Workman didn’t fire the shot that killed a cop was not enough to stop his lethal injection. It’s almost 1 a.m., the time Philip Workman is scheduled to die by lethal injection. Seven media witnesses wait inside a beige cinder-block room deep in the bowels of Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.
Nashville Scene Link to Story

Tabitha Tuders

Five years ago, 13-year-old Tabitha Tuders walked to the bus stop. Her family hasn’t heard from her since. The tiny clapboard house on Lillian Street is bustling with visitors on a balmy winter afternoon. Nearly a dozen rowdy children are playing tag in the backyard, their carefree laughter in stark contrast to the forlorn faces of older guests quietly conversing on the porch.
Nashville Scene Link to Story


Sarah Kelley

Sarah Kelley recently made the leap to full-time freelance after 17 years in the newsroom. She previously helmed the editorial operations at Insider Louisville, an online local news startup, and LEO Weekly, Louisville's alternative newsweekly.

As a reporter, Sarah has pursued a wide range of beats, though much of her long-form writing has focused on criminal justice — from covering federal courts in Washington, D.C., to investigating prosecutorial misconduct in capital cases.



  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Reporting
  • Long-form Journalism
  • Narrative storytelling