Professional News

New University Press of Kentucky imprint awarding $5,000 to Black fiction writers

Screen Door Press logo
Screen Door Press logo | Courtesy KY Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 2, 2024) — The call for submissions for Screen Door Press, the new publishing imprint by the University Press of Kentucky, is open Feb. 1 through March 15. Sponsored in partnership with the Thomas D. Clark Foundation, the imprint will award $5,000 to each of the two authors whose work will be selected.

Edited by critically acclaimed author Crystal Wilkinson, the imprint is dedicated to discovering unique, exceptional, and varied voices within Black literary traditions. The imprint will celebrate the very best in fiction — short stories, novellas, and novels — across a broad range of categories. The goal of Screen Door Press is to publish thought-provoking books that feature relatable characters, strong narratives, and beautiful language to champion diverse views from throughout the Black diaspora.

Each year, up to two outstanding submissions will be selected for publication. Submission materials must include a full manuscript, cover letter, author bio or resume/CV, and the author’s contact information. Submissions will go through the University Press of Kentucky’s normal publication process, including peer review, editorial board approval, copyediting, production and marketing. The first imprint titles will be published in Spring 2025.

Crystal Wilkinson, a recent fellowship recipient of the Academy of American Poets, is the award-winning author of "Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts," a culinary memoir; "Perfect Black," a collection of poems; and three works of fiction — "The Birds of Opulence," "Water Street," and "Blackberries, Blackberries." She is the recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry, O. Henry Prize, USA Artists Fellowship and an Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. She has received recognition from the Yaddo Foundation, Hedgebrook, The Vermont Studio Center for the Arts, The Hermitage Foundation and others. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including most recently in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, STORY, Agni Literary Journal, Emergence, Oxford American and Southern Cultures. She was Poet Laureate of Kentucky from 2021 to 2023. Wilkinson currently teaches creative writing at the University of Kentucky where she is a Bush-Holbrook Endowed Professor.

Wilkinson is also co-editor of the University Press of Kentucky series "Appalachian Futures: Black, Native, and Queer Voices." Poems from Wilkinson’s "Perfect Black" were featured in season 1, episode 3 “Appalachia,” of the new Hulu documentary and travel show "Searching for Soul Food."

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.