Literary Festival Looks At Community Building Through Literature

Posted by White Whale Team

The 36th annual Emory & Henry Literary Festival featured author and independent bookstore owner Crystal Wilkinson.

The 36th annual Emory & Henry Literary Festival examined the topic of building community through Appalachian Literature as viewed by the work of author and independent bookstore owner Crystal Wilkinson.

The two-day event took place on Nov. 9-10 in the black box theatre of the Woodrow W. McGlothlin Center for the Arts on the E&H campus, and featured scholarly panels on Wilkinson’s work, as well as a featured reading by the author herself.

Wilkinson is the author of a novel, The Birds of Opulence, and two collections of short stories, Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street. She is the recipient of the 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, the Judy Gaines Prize, and the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been a finalist for the Hurston Wright Award and the Orange Prize. She and her partner Ron Davis co-own Wild Fig Books and Coffee in Lexington, Kentucky.

Participants contributing to the discussion and celebration of the life and work of Wilkinson included Forrest Yerman, Jacinda Townsend, Alysia Hoover-Thompson, Amanda Halliburton, Thomas Alan Holmes, Ronald Davis, Marianne Worthington, Morris Grubbs, Bethann Bowman, Shauna Kirlew and Theresa Burriss.

The festival began in 1982 with a program devoted to Sherwood Anderson, who spent the final 15 years of his life in nearby Smyth County, Virginia. Since that inaugural occasion, the festival has honored a living writer with strong ties to the Appalachian region who comes to campus for a reading, a public interview, and a series of presentations about her/his work. Building on this tradition, the festival also includes a contextual emphasis of importance to the featured author’s work, bringing together scholars and writers on a specific topic.

  • Featured author Crystal Wilkinson speaks to the crowd at the Literary Festival
    Featured author Crystal Wilkinson speaks to the crowd at the Literary Festival

Location:

McGlothlin Center for the Arts

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