Lexington author’s ‘Perfect Black’ wins 2022 NAACP Image Award

Award-winning author Crystal Wilkinson current Kentucky Poet Laureate

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Author and Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson is the recipient of the 2022 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry for her book Perfect Black.

Perfect Black was previously the recipient of the Thomas D. Clark Medallion Award, which has been awarded annually since 1994 to writers whose literary achievements highlight Kentucky history and culture. In April of 2021, Perfect Black was listed in The New York Times’ “4 Poetry Books to Read This Week!”  

An homage to the author’s rural roots in Southern Appalachia, Perfect Black is an intimate portrait of Wilkinson’s life and the experiences that have shaped her character and imbued her style of storytelling with the richness that helped catapult her to the position of Poet Laureate of Kentucky. This collection is written with a vividness of language punctuated by the striking illustrations of Wilkinson’s longtime partner, Ronald W. Davis.

Crystal Wilkinson is the first Black woman to hold the appointment of Poet Laureate of Kentucky. She is the author of The Birds of Opulence, winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award; Blackberries, Blackberries, winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature; and Water Street, a finalist for both the United Kingdom’s Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. The winner of a 2020 USA Artist Fellowship, Wilkinson serves as associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

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