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Crystal Wilkinson to Participate in the Kentucky Book Festival with “Perfect Black”

Crystal Wilkinson to Participate in the Kentucky Book Festival with “Perfect Black”

August 22, 2023





What will Kentucky Book Festival visitors find on your table?

Four of my five books will appear on my table but I also hope folks will stop by the register at Joseph Beth and preorder Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts, a culinary memoir which will be released in January 2024.
1. Perfect Black–This NAACP Image Award winning collection of poems combines a deep love for rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling and muses on girlhood, motherhood, growing up in Southern Appalachia, and mental illness. It also contains striking illustrations by Crystal’s long-time partner, Ronald W. Davis (aka upfromsumdirt)

2. Birds of Opulence is the winner of an Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and is a lyrical novel of love and loss centering on several generations of women (who also appear in Wilkinson’s previous book Water Street) as they struggle with mental illness and their connections and disconnections with one another.

3. Water Street–in this critically acclaimed short story collection encompassing thirteen short stories, Wilkinson peels back the intricate layers that form the fabric of this community and its inhabitants–revealing emotionally raw, multifaceted tales of race, class, gender, mental illness and interpersonal relationships.

4. Blackberries, Blackberries is Wilkinson’s first award-winning collection and it is terse and transient, infused with humor, sadness and honesty in each slice of life from a rural Black township.


Whom do you invite to stop by? Who will benefit from reading your book?
Lovers of Kentucky stories are invited to stop by and get their books signed or to grab one of the books they might not have.


Is this your first time participating in Kentucky Book Festival? If yes – what are you looking forward to
the most? If you’ve participated before – what was your favorite experience at the Festival?
I look forward to connecting with Kentucky book lovers. I’ve been attending the book festival since before I was a published author more than 23 years ago.




Former Poet Laureate of Kentucky and 2022 NAACP Image Award Winner, Crystal Wilkinson has released a new book titled Perfect Black. This captivating collection of poetry and prose, beautifully blending her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling, all interwoven with striking illustrations from her long-time partner, Ronald W. Davis.

Photo by Carsen Bryant