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Black Appalachia

LISTEN: Being Black In Appalachia, A Conversation With Author Crystal Wilkinson

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Listen to the broadcast version of this interview, originally aired on West Virginia Morning on Oct. 2, 2019.

Author Crystal Wilkinson is the 2019 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University.

Wilkinson’s second book Water Street was chosen by the West Virginia Library Commission as this year’s One Book One West Virginia common read.

Author Crystal Wilkinson. Photo: Courtesy of Wilkinson

Wilkinson was born in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1962, but she grew up in Kentucky with her grandparents Silas and Christine Wilkinson.

Her grandfather was a farmer who grew tobacco, corn and sorghum, and her grandmother worked in the homes of local schoolteachers in Casey County.

Wilkinson studied journalism at Eastern Kentucky University, and then she received her MFA degree in creative writing at Spalding University in Louisville.

Wilkinson is a member of the Affrilachian Poets founded by Frank X. Walker.

In 2000, Wilkinson wrote her first book, Blackberries, Blackberries; in 2002, she published Water Street; and in 2016 she published The Birds of Opulence.

Wilkinson is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky in the MFA in Creative Writing program.

This article was originally published by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.