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Crystal Wilkinson Reading

On January 28th nationally renowned author Crystal Wilkinson gave a reading and book signing in the Milano Reading room of the Downtown Library.

Matthew Saporito

Third-year MFA fiction writer, Matt Saporito, introduced Crystal to the crowd. He discussed the importance and immediacy of her writing, especially her most recent novel The Birds of Opulence, which he could not put down.

Crystal opened the event with a few poems she wrote for a forthcoming collection. She also spoke about her grandparents’ influence on her writing and informed the audience on the definition of a water witch. She then read her short story “The Way We Live Now” recently published in AGNI and an excerpt from The Birds of Opulence

Crystal Wilkinson Reading

After the reading, Crystal answered questions about her writing process, which she said usually begins around 3:00 am. She also talked about the influence of music, specifically by Prince, on her writing and life in general. 

The English Department is so thankful to have such a generous and ground-breaking author like Crystal share her work with WVU students and the Morgantown community. 

Crystal Wilkinson Poster

Crystal Wilkinson is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from the Yaddo Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center for the Arts, The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in The Kenyon Review, STORY, Agni Literary Journal, Oxford American and Southern Cultures.  She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky where she is Associate Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program.