About Janet Steele Holloway


Award-winning Kentucky based author and entrepreneur, Janet Holloway’s talents are apparent in the dizzying array of work she’s done in her lifetime, ranging from high school Spanish and English teacher in Michigan, to theatre production in NYC, public relations for renowned theatre producer Jean Dalrymple, youth worker in East Harlem, university instructor and state director of both the New Jersey and Kentucky Small Business Development Center Networks. After sixteen years in small business development, in 1990 she started her own enterprise, Women Leading Kentucky, a non-profit that provides leadership opportunities for women and scholarships for women attending KY colleges/universities.  Women Leading KY has provided more than $200,000 in scholarships and still attracts hundreds to their events. Her first two books:  A Willful Child (2012) and Leaving: Sometimes You Have to Leave (2017), are memoirs.

She received her B.A. from Marshall University, an MSW from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and is ABD from Columbia University. She lives in Lexington KY with her rescued Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Sadie.  Janet is an avid reader, arts supporter, and committed to collaboration and diversity in her work. Also, Janet enjoys mentoring women at the early stages of their career, as well as women in transition.

Awards & Recognition


Awards & Recognitions

  • Articles and short stories have appeared in Entrepreneur magazine, Business Lexington, Silver Threads, Cake & Whiskey, Appalachian Heritage, West Virgi2nia South
  • Received Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train, a literary magazine
  • Her poem Where I Come From was accepted and appears the national iamfrom website.
  • Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning, Harriet Rose Legacy Award
  • Winner, Isabel Yates Community Service Award, 2021
  • West Virginia State Writer’s Conference, 2nd place winner in creative fiction for her short story, The Letters
  • Recognized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Senate in 2017 for her service  of creating  the non-profit leadership program, Women Leading Kentucky, and her initiative to bring the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) to the Commonwealth.

Award-Winning Short Stories

Excerpts from Award-winning Short Stories

  • The Letters:   “…I began to wonder if I had the same genes that drove my mother’s need for excitement and control, for that adrenaline rush that came with each win, that feeling of being alive. Did I secretly, unconsciously enjoy the excitement, the danger?” (1st place winner of the KY Next Great Writer’s Contest)
  • The Parties & the Music:   “Laughing and gossiping, she took her time deciding what jewelry to wear, holding up various earrings, turning her head this way and that, while Betty, using the Maybelline brush, gave careful attention to her dark eyebrows. At ten years of age, I’d lie on the bed watching them and listening to their stories and the clinking of ice in their glasses; the combined smell of Seagrams 7, Tabu perfume and cigarette smoke filling my imagination about what it meant to be a grown-up woman.“ (Honorary Mention: Harriett Rose Writers Competition, 2011
  • A Willful Child:  “On the way back, I thought of nothing but the ice cream in my hand. Then, for some reason, I stopped. I stopped and looked at the highway. I was tempted, but why? Because it was there? Because I was free, for that moment, of my mother’s requirements? Because, at three years of age, I was angry with her? I looked to the left and I looked to the right, just like I’d been taught. I put one foot on the black top, then pulled it back, very, very slowly.”(Honorary Mention: Best Writers Competition, Carnegie Center, 2008)


Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do

Janet’s latest book, Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, continues her remembrances of her pioneering, pistol-packing, bootlegging granny who helped raise her. “The title of this book describes my granny best,” the author says.  Janet is and has been a visionary pioneer herself. Founder of Women Leading Kentucky, Janet’s roots began in the shadows of the infamous Devil Anse Hatfield (Hatfield/McCoy feud).  The house her granny built for her parents was on Hatfield land, and is now owned by Jack Hatfield and is a Hatfield & McCoy Museum in Sarah Ann (Logan County) West Virginia.

Community Outreach


Women Leading Kentucky

Some Leaders are Born Women

Role:  Founder & Board of Directors

Mission:  Women Leading Kentucky is a non-membership organization, creating business and leadership networking opportunities for women at all stages of their careers, enabling them to lead, learn, achieve and give back.

Inspiration: “I founded the organization in 1999 to empower women, and I’m proud to say that the organization is still viable in 2016, offering education, networking, scholarships (more than $150,000 since inception), and the Martha Layne Collins leadership award to recognize women across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” – Janet

More Info:  www.womenleadingky.com

The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning

Empowering people to explore and express their voices.

Role: Board member 2010-Present;  Chair of the Board 2013-2017; Member Hall of Fame Committee

Mission: Empowering people to explore and express their voices through imaginative learning and the literary arts. The Carnegie Center is a non-profit family learning center devoted to helping all citizens improve their quality of life. Our open-door policy invites people young and old to learn something new. We offer seasonal classes in Writing, Computer Literacy, graphic design, and Language; tutoring for students grades K-12; vibrant youth and family programs and exhibits, readings, and other arts-related events designed to encourage among Central Kentuckians an appreciation for all art forms and for learning in general.

Inspiration: “The Center is committed to providing a voice for the community, various programs that enrich learning at every level. I am and always have been supportive of education.” – Janet

More Info:  www.carnegiecenterlex.org

Art Connects

Creating more arts awareness and vitality in the community.

Role:  Board of Directors and Consultant

Mission:  Art Connects, a non-profit organisation, seeks to strengthen the arts in Lexington by providing services, programs, education and resources to artists and arts providers in order to foster a more vibrant and arts conscious community.

Inspiration:  “I’m committed to introducing and exposing children and adults to the arts.” – Janet

More Info: www.artconnectslex.org

Janet's Books


“Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do”

by Janet Holloway

Questions of Identity and Abandonment


“Leaving: Sometimes You Have to Leave”


A story of Betrayals and Beginnings


“A Willful Child”


A Story of Resilience & Resourcefulness

Rave Reviews