Centre College’s Creative Writing program will host contemporary fiction writer Crystal Wilkinson for a reading on Tuesday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Vahlkamp Theatre. The Kentucky author is acclaimed for her fictional works, in addition to her passion for promoting the creative work of African-Americans in Appalachia through her organization Affrilachian Poets, which she co-founded with Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker.
Wilkinson is the author of Birds of Opulence, Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries, among other notable collections. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including most recently the Oxford American and the Appalachian anthology Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean.
“Wilkinson has just published an extraordinary novel called Birds of Opulence—which we are reading in one of my creative writing classes—about several generations of women living in a rural Kentucky community from the 1960s through the 1990s,” says Associate Professor of English and Centre’s Director of Creative Writing Lisa Williams. “Not only is the novel fascinating for its revelation of women’s lives—particularly African-American women and girls in a small Kentucky town during this period—but it is some of the most lyrical writing I have read by any contemporary fiction writer.
“From the creation of character and place to the craft of each sentence and short chapter, Crystal Wilkinson’s book is simply a stunning, revelatory, work of fiction,” she adds.
Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Wilkinson has received numerous accolades for her work, including recognition from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Arts Council, the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts in Mt. St. Francis, Ind., and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. She is also a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature.
Wilkinson graduted from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in journalism in 1985 and later earned an M.F.A. in creative writing at Spalding University in Louisville. She currently teaches at Kentucky’s Berea College, where she is the Appalachian Writer-in-Residence. Wilkinson and her partner, poet and artist Ron Davis, own Wild Fig Books & Coffee in Lexington.
Prior to the reading, a meet-and-greet reception with Wilkinson will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Grissom Reading Room on the main floor of the Grace Doherty Library in Crounse Hall.
by Centre College News
March 8, 2016