Alumni College – The New Essential Kentucky Novels with Professor Kathleen Driskell, MFA, Chair, Professor of Creative Writing, School of Creative and Professional Writing
This mini “course,” part of an offering we are calling “Alumni College,” invites you to join esteemed novelists and Spalding MFA Alumni Silas House, Crystal Wilkinson, and Katy Yocom who will provide short readings from their new nationally recognized novels that are set in Kentucky. Chair of the Spalding School of Writing Kathleen Driskell will provide introductions and moderate a panel discussion after the readings. The trio of acclaimed prize-winning novelists will discuss Kentucky as a fictional setting, what their novels add to the landscape of Kentucky literature, as well as their new fiction projects.
Kathleen Driskell is the author of the poetry collections Blue Etiquette: Poems, a finalist for the Weatherford Award; Next Door to the Dead, a Kentucky Voices selection by the University Press of Kentucky and winner of the 2018 Judy Gaines Young Book Award; Seed Across Snow, a Poetry Foundation national bestseller; Laughing Sickness and Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem. Individual poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, North American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Greensboro Review, Rattle, and Mid-American Review, among others, and have been featured in anthologies and online at Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. Her awards include grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and she has received prizes from the Associated Writing Programs and Frankfort Arts Foundation. She is a trustee of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and founded and served two terms as chair of the Low-Residency MFA Directors’ Caucus which meets annually at the national AWP conference. She received the Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award from Spalding University and served as the faculty representative to the Spalding Board of Trustees. Driskell received her MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Silas House is the author of six novels: Southernmost (long-listed for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction), Same Sun Here (co-written with Neela Vaswani), Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, The Coal Tattoo, and Eli the Good; two plays, The Hurting Part and Long Time Traveling; and a work of creative nonfiction, Something’s Rising (co-written with Jason Howard). His work can be found in The New York Times, Oxford American and The Southeast Review, as well as in anthologies including New Stories from the South 2004. Silas is a two-time finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Novel of the Year, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Appalachian Writer of the Year and the Lee Smith Award. He received his MFA in Writing from Spalding University.
Crystal Wilkinson is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in the Oxford American and Southern Cultures. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University.
Katy Yocom writes about animals, the environment, love, and loss. Her debut novel, Three Ways to Disappear, won the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, the First Horizon Award, and the Micro Press Award and was named a Barnes & Noble Top Indie Favorite. Other awards include the Al Smith Fellowship for artistic excellence from the Kentucky Arts Council and grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, LitHub, American Way in-flight magazine, Salon, Necessary Fiction, Terrain.org, The Louisville Review, and elsewhere. She serves on the board of directors of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, co-hosts Spalding at 21c reading series, and holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University as well as a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.