ISSUED: 30 January 2024
MEDIA CONTACT: Cecelia Mason
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities, partnering with Shepherd’s Office of Diversity and Equity and Four Seasons Books, will present author Crystal Wilkinson on Thursday, February 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. Wilkinson will talk about her new book “Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts: Stories and Recipes from Five Generations of Black Country Cooks.” The program is free and open to the public.
“Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts” is described on Amazon as “A lyrical culinary journey that explores the hidden legacy of Black Appalachians, through powerful storytelling alongside nearly 40 comforting recipes, from the former poet laureate of Kentucky.” In the book, Wilkinson pays homage to the culinary talent of her ancestors—her kitchen ghosts—five generations of Black women who settled in Appalachia and made a life, a legacy, and a cuisine.
A recent fellowship recipient of the Academy of American Poets, Wilkinson is an award-winning author of the poetry collection “Perfect Black” and three works of fiction, “The Birds of Opulence,” “Water Street,” and “Blackberries, Blackberries.” Wilkinson is the recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry, an O. Henry Prize, a USA Artists Fellowship, an Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence, and a West Virginia Humanities Council Appalachia Heritage Writers Award.
A former poet laureate of Kentucky, Wilkinson’s short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies across the country, and she is featured in Shepherd’s “Anthology of Appalachian Writers Crystal Wilkinson Volume.” She is the Bush-Holbrook Professor of English at the University of Kentucky. Wilkinson was the 2020 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence and One Book One West Virginia author.
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