UK’s Crystal Wilkinson finalist for 2022 NAACP Image Award

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Public Relations) — Crystal Wilkinson, associate professor in the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, can add NAACP Image Award finalist to her expansive and impressive list of accolades.

The Kentucky Poet Laureate’s book of poetry, “Perfect Black” (University Press of Kentucky), is nominated in the category of “Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry.”

The NAACP Image Awards program highlights the achievements of people of color across television, music, literature and film, and the promotion of social justice through their creative endeavors.

“Me and my partner Ron Davis (who illustrated ‘Perfect Black’) are extremely honored to be a part of this tradition of celebrating Black advocacy and activism through art,” Wilkinson said. “As descendants of a long line of Kentuckians who have had the NAACP as an integral part of our history, we are doubly proud to represent literature on such a national scale through this nomination.”

On Jan. 18, the full list of nominees was announced in a special event hosted by actress and musician Kyla Pratt, “black-ish” actor Marcus Scribner and singer-songwriter Tinashe.

Winners will be revealed during the two-hour special, hosted by seven-time NAACP Image Awards winner Anthony Anderson beginning 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, on BET.

About “Perfect Black”

Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in southern Appalachia.

In “Perfect Black,” the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, lost fathers, mental illness, sexual abuse and religion. It is a captivating conversation about life, love, loss and pain — interwoven with striking illustrations by her longtime partner, Ronald W. Davis.

On Aug. 12, The New York Times listed “Perfect Black” as one of four poetry books to read that week.

About the Author

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 Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. She also is the winner of a 2020 USA Artist Fellowship.

Voting is now open to the public to determine the winners of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards. The NAACP will also recognize winners in non-televised Image Awards categories Feb. 21-23, which will stream online.

Click Here is the complete of nominees.

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