Crystal Wilkinson, the Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Berea College in Kentucky, has won the 2016 Weatherford Award for Fiction from the Appalachian Studies Association and the 2017 Judy Gaines Young Book Award from Transylvania University. Both awards honor books about the Appalachian region or are authored by writers from Appalachia.
Wilkinson is being honored for her novel Birds of Opulence (University of Kentucky Press, 2016). The book tells the story of several generations of women in the Goode-Brown family in the fictional Southern Black township of Opulence.
A native of Hamilton, Ohio, Wilkerson grew up on her grandparents’ farm in Indian Creek, Kentucky. She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, where she majored in journalism. Wilkerson holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Spaulding University in Louisville, Kentucky.
Before coming to Berea College in 2014, Wilkerson taught at Eastern Kentucky University, Indiana University in Bloomington, and Morehead State University in Kentucky. She previously published the short story collections Blackberries, Blackberries (Lake Union Publishing, 2011) and Water Street (Lake Union Publishing, 2011).