Photo by Savannah Barnett

Photo by Savannah Barnett

Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson’s novels have won numerous awards. Her 2016 novel The Birds of Opulence was the Winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, the Appalachian Book of the Year Award, the Weatherford Award for Fiction, and the Judy Gaines Prize for Fiction. Her previous books, Blackberries, Blackberries, was a winner of the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature, and Water Street, a finalist for both the UK’s Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

She is also the recipient of awards and fellowships from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts and the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Scholarship Fund at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is the winner of the 2008 Denny Plattner Award in Poetry from Appalachian Heritage Magazine and the Sallie Bingham Award from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

Crystal currently teaches at the University of Kentucky, and she and her partner, poet and artist Ron Davis, are founders and editors of Mythium Literary Journal, and own Wild Fig Books & Coffee in Lexington, KY.


Crystal Wilkinson’s Opulence, Kentucky, is small geographically and in population, but the novel’s concerns are large―life, death, love, betrayal, despair, and hope. Wilkinson is a lyrical writer, and, once encountered in these pages, her characters and their stories linger in our memories long after the last page is turned. THE BIRDS OF OPULENCE is a novel to be read and reread
— Ron Rash, author of ABOVE THE WATERFALL