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.​

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.