About Us

Frank X Walker Bio

The first African American writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker has published eight collections of poetry, including Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, which was awarded the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Poetry and the Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Award for Poetry. He is also the author of Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, winner of the 2004 Lillian Smith Book Award, and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride, which he adapted for stage, earning him the Paul Green Foundation Playwrights Fellowship Award. His poetry was also dramatized for the 

2016 Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, WV and staged by Message Theater for the 2015 Breeders Cup Festival. A lover of comics, Walker curated “We Wear the Mask: Black 

Superheroes through the Ages,” an exhibit of his personal collection of action figures, comics, and related memorabilia at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center in 2015.

Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” and co-

founded the Affrilachian Poets, subsequently publishing the much-celebrated eponymous collection. His honors also include a 2004 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry, the 2008 and 2009 Denny C. Plattner Award for Outstanding Poetry in Appalachian Heritage, the 2013 West Virginia Humanities Council’s Appalachian Heritage Award, as well as fellowships and residences with Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Kentucky Arts Council. The recipient of honorary doctorates 

from University of Kentucky, Transylvania University, Spalding University and Centre College, Walker is the founding editor of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, and serves as Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.