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Wilkinson, Kentucky Poet Laurette, to speak at Liberty Education Center April 14

Crystal Wilkinson

By Gerard Flanagan, news writer/photographer/social media, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University’s Liberty Education Center will welcome Crystal Wilkinson, a native of Casey County and Kentucky Poet Laureate, for a presentation at the Liberty Education Center, 1 Petty John St., Liberty, Ky., at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 14.

The presentation will be followed by a meet and greet and book signing at approximately 6:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to all events.

In 2021, Wilkinson was named the Poet Laureate for Kentucky.

“Ms. Wilkinson will be speaking of her time growing up in rural Kentucky and how her childhood being raised in the ‘hills and hollers’ shaped who she is today,” Meagan Davidson, director of the Campbellsville University Liberty Education Center, said.

Additionally, on April 14, Wilkinson will conduct a book reading and presentation at an assembly at Casey County High School. She will also participate in a creative writing workshop with members of the Casey County High School creative writing club at 11 a.m. in the Casey County Public Library.

Wilkinson, who lives in Lexington, Ky., is an award-winning author of “The Birds of Opulence,” which won the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence, “Water Street” and “Blackberries, Blueberries.”

Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Wilkinson has received recognition from 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 Oxford American and Southern Cultures.

“The Birds of Opulence,” Wilkinson’s most recent novel, is a lyrical exploration of love and loss, which centers on several generations of women in a bucolic southern black township as they live with and sometimes surrender to madness.

Her collection, Perfect Black, was published in August 2021.

Wilkinson, who identifies as a Southern, feminist fiction writer, teaches at the University of Kentucky, where she is associate professor of English in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. She is a 2020 USA Artist Fellowship Recipient.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that has enrolled up to 12,000 students yearly. The university offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is