Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Crystal Wilkinson. Black Life. Appalachians.

Crystal Wilkinson's fiction explores the African American side of life in the U.S. Appalachian Mountain region. This experience has been nicknamed the "Affrilachian" experience

Her critically-acclaimed novels/short story collections, Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street, have made an impact on the literary scene. And given a region thought to not be very diverse a new light.

Born in Hamilton, Ohio, Wilkinson was raised in Indian Creek, Kentucky by her grandparents, and describes herself as a country girl who takes great pride in her Appalachian roots.

In Blackberries, Blackberries, the eighteen stories follow black, rural women in Kentucky who struggle with poverty, raising families, looking for love, and the spoken and unspoken rules of race and ethnicity in the South.

Water Street follows the fiction and interconnected lives of middle and working class black people in rural Kentucky -- lives which are often invisible in Appalachia -- and who happen to live on the same street, Water Street.

Crystal Wilkinson has been nominated for and received numerous awards for her writing. She's a professor and writing instructor.

And she's someone whose work I thought you might want to know about as you gear up for the mountains, beaches, lakefronts, or cabins for the weekend. Have a good one!

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