Campus News

'Behind the Blue': 'The Birds of Opulence' With Crystal Wilkinson

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 7, 2021) — Crystal Wilkinson is an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky and an award-winning author. Her novel, "The Birds of Opulence," was the winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. She is also the author of "Water Street" and "Blackberries, Blackberries." She also 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 Oxford American and Southern Cultures. 

Most recently, she was named the state’s poet laureate for 2021-2022, the first time a Black woman has been appointed to the prestigious post.

In this episode of "Behind the Blue," Wilkinson discusses growing up in Appalachian Kentucky, her love of writing and teaching, and what she is focused on now in her creative work.

"Behind the Blue" is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue. Transcripts for this or other episodes of "Behind the Blue" can be downloaded from the show’s blog page.

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The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.