UNC Asheville’s Visiting Writers Series begins again this September, with monthly talks through the spring semester. Frank X Walker, founder of the Affrilachian Poets collective, starts the series with a lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25 in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center, Manheimer Room. His lecture is free and open to the public.
Walker, UNC Asheville’s Goodman Endowed Visiting Artist, is the editor of America! What’s My Name? The “Other” Poets Unfurl the Flag and Eclipsing a Nappy New Millennium, and the author of numerous poetry collections, including Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers; Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York, winner of the 35th Annual Lillian Smith Book Award; and Affrilachia, a Kentucky Public Librarians’ Choice Award nominee. He is also credited for coining the term “Affrilachian” in response to the conception that all Appalachians are poor, rural, and white. In 2013, Walker became the first African-American to be named Kentucky’s poet laureate, and in 2014 he was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry.
The Affrilachian Poets, which Walker cofounded in 1991, is a multicultural collective dedicated to defying the stereotype of Appalachia as a racially homogenized rural region. The group includes poets, playwrights, and writers of many ethnicities and backgrounds who consider Appalachia home. “Affrilachian” is now an entry in the Oxford American Dictionary, second edition.
UNC Asheville’s Visiting Writer Series continues throughout the academic year, all events are free and open to everyone.
Therese Anne Fowler and Denise Kiernan: Therese Anne Fowler, author of the New York Times best-selling Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, and the forthcoming novel, A Well-Behaved Woman, based on the life of Alva Vanderbilt, will be in conversation with Denise Kiernan, author of The New York Times best-selling books, Girls of Atomic City and The Last Castle, a narrative nonfiction following the Gilded Age journey of the Vanderbilts of the Biltmore House fame. 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center, Ingles Mountain View Room.
Cris Beam: Cris Beam, whose most recent work is I Feel You: The Surprising Power of Extreme Empathy, is the author of several books focusing on the lives of transgender teenagers, as well as a nonfiction book exploring the American foster care system. 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 in UNC Asheville’s Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall.
Crystal Hana Kim: Crystal Hana Kim’s debut novel, If You Leave Me, published by William Morrow of HarperCollins in 2018, earned a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. The story explores war, family, and forbidden love, and is among the Center for Fiction’s 2018 First Novel Prize Long List. 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19 in UNC Asheville’s Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall.
Will Johnson: American singer-songwriter Will Johnson will be in conversation with UNC Asheville Writer-in-Residence Wiley Cash. Johnson is the lead singer of the bands Centro-matic and South San Gabriel, and has been called “one of the most prolific artists in American indie rock.” Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind than Home and The Last Ballad. 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5 in UNC Asheville’s Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall.
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