UNC Asheville Visiting Writer Series Begins September 14

August 29, 2023

Poet Donika Kelly and memoirist Melissa Febos will begin UNC Asheville’s Visiting Writer Series with a reading at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 14. The series will continue with presentations by award-winning author and former Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson on October 18, and poet Eric Tran on November 2. All readings in this series will be held in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith Union, Blue Ridge Room. These events are free and open to the public.

September 14, 7 p.m. – An Evening with Poet Donika Kelly and Memoirist Melissa Febos

Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly is the author of “The Renunciations,” winner of the Anisfield-Wolf book award in poetry, and “Bestiary,” the winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and a Kate Tufts Discovery Award. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and founding member of the collective Poets at the End of the World. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Iowa, where she teaches creative writing.

Melissa Febos is the bestselling author of four books, including “Girlhood,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and has been

Melissa Febos

translated into seven languages, and “Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative.” Her fifth book, “The Dry Season,” is forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf. Her work has recently appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Sun, The New York Times Magazine, The Best American Essays, Vogue, and New York Review of Books. Febos is a professor of English at the University of Iowa.

October 18, 6 p.m. – Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts: Affrilachian Author Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson

Drawing from material from her forthcoming food memoir with recipes, “Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts,” Wilkinson will explore how food functions as inspiration, a tie to one’s past, and an important marker of cultural identity. This is the third in the Thomas Howerton lecture series, “Diverse Roots at the Common Table: Culinary Conversations in the American South.”

Wilkinson, a recent fellowship recipient of the Academy of American Poets, is also the author of a culinary memoir, “Perfect Black,” a collection of poems, and three works of fiction—“The Birds of Opulence,” “Water Street,” and “Blackberries, Blackberries.” She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky, where she is Bush-Holbrook Professor in Creative Writing.

Register in advance for this webinar: https://forms.gle/PtvrKjWAK7mg82167

November 2, 7 p.m. – An Evening with Poet Eric Tran

Eric Tran

Tran is a queer Vietnamese poet and the author of “Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke,” winner of the Oregon Book Award and finalist for the Thom Gunn Award, and “The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer.” His poetry has been featured in All Things Considered, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily, and has received recognition from Best of the Net, Prairie Schooner, and New Delta Review, among other publications. He is a psychiatrist in Portland, Oregon.

For more information, please contact UNC Asheville Professor of English Lori Horvitz by email at lhorvitz@unca.edu.