Kentucky writer Crystal Wilkinson’s childhood was a far cry from the stereotypical experience of African Americans growing up in urban centers. An only child raised on a 60-acre farm in Casey County, she roamed the countryside and entertained herself by reading and writing. Those rural roots provide the basis for most of the 18 stories in Blackberries, Blackberries, a book she calls “a praise song to the varied experiences of the country black woman.” The stories in this rich and varied mix range from “Tipping the Scales,” the funny and compassionate story of a large woman who finally comes into her own, to “No Ugly Ways,” in which a mother recounts how the ugliness of the world has damaged and almost destroyed her beautiful, gentle daughter. For Wilkinson, the image of blackberries provides a perfect metaphor for the women in her stories. People must risk “the prick of the briars to reach the sweet, dark fruit ... and I decided that was a good description of us rural black women.”
Publisher’s information from Toby Press; includes an excerpt
Transcript of bookclub@ket program
You have to risk the briar bush to reach the sweet, dark fruit. I’m natural just like a blackberry.
—Crystal E. Wilkinson