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The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts is pleased to welcome acclaimed novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet Crystal Wilkinson as the fifth recipient of VCCA’s Anne Spencer Fellowship, established in 2017 in honor of Harlem Renaissance poet and civil rights activist Anne Spencer.

As the 2024 Anne Spencer Fellow, Wilkinson will spend a month in residence at VCCA this summer and will present her work in a community event in partnership with the Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum. The event is free and open to the public:

  • When: Thursday, July 18, 2024, 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Where: Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum, 1313 Pierce Street, Lynchburg, VA

Crystal Wilkinson, 2024 Anne Spencer Fellow

Crystal Wilkinson, a recent fellowship recipient of the Academy of American Poets, is the award-winning author of Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts, a culinary memoir; Perfect Black, a collection of poems; and three works of fiction — The Birds of Opulence, Water Street, and Blackberries, Blackberries. She is the recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry, an O. Henry Prize, a USA Artists Fellowship, and an Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence.

Her short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, STORY, Agni Literary Journal, Emergence, Oxford American, and Southern Cultures. She was Poet Laureate of Kentucky from 2021 to 2023. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Kentucky where she is a Bush-Holbrook Endowed Professor.

Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum

1313 Pierce Street
Lynchburg, Virginia

Located in historic Lynchburg, Virginia, the Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum is the former home of renowned Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer and is named a Virginia Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. With up to 95% of the original house and cottage furnishings still in place today, it is considered one of the most intact house museums in the United States. Anne Spencer’s garden is also the only known restored garden of an African American in the United States. Anne Spencer was a poet, civil rights leader, advocate, and librarian. Her home and garden served as a gathering place for leading African Americans such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Martin Luther King, Jr.