Campus News

University Press of Kentucky Debuts Newest Series: ‘Appalachian Futures’

Appalachian Futures: Black, Native, & Queer Voices digital flyer
Image by University Press of Kentucky.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 30, 2021) — The University Press of Kentucky is debuting its newest series, “Appalachian Futures: Black, Native, and Queer Voices,” edited by University of Kentucky faculty member and Kentucky's recently named Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson, alongside Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle and Davis Shoulders.

This book series gives voice to Black, Native, Latinx, Asian, queer, and other nonwhite or ignored identities within the Appalachian region and does not seek to define the region. Reading from Appalachia rather than about Appalachia, it will observe the process of becoming by amplifying the experiences that a multiplicity of writers, activists, organizers, and everyday people find within its boundaries and in their absence from this place. 

The collection will advance a creative ecosystem unrivaled within traditional cultural hubs, creating a space for the voices and stories of Appalachia’s future. 

“This series reminds us that Appalachian literature is an ever-changing, complex organism with ancient bones and a fearless heart,” said Clapsaddle.

The advisory board for the compilation includes several UK faculty members and alumni, including alumni Ricardo Nazario y Colón and Jason Howard, and faculty members Ann KingsolverShauna M. Morgan and Gerald L. Smith.

“This series is for Appalachians who know the multiplicity of voices here and have yet to see them in print. We see you, and it’s time the world knows you exist,” Shoulders said.

Crystal Wilkinson is the author of “Perfect Black,” “The Birds of Opulence,” “Blackberries, Blackberries” and “Water Street.” She was named a 2020 USA Fellow by United States Artists and teaches in the College of Arts and Sciences, where she is associate professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program. 

The press is actively accepting submissions. For more information or to submit a proposal or manuscript for consideration, please contact Editor at Large Abby Freeland at

The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that includes all of the state universities, six private colleges and two historical societies. The press’ editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at the University of Kentucky, which provides financial support toward operating and publishing expenses.​

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.