The Affrilachian Poets, a collective of more than 60 writers, musicians and artists in the Appalachian region, will visit UVa-Wise on March 14 for a reading set for 6 pm in the Rhododendron Room of the Slemp Student Center.

According to the poets’ website, Frank X Walker, the founder of the Affrilachian Poets, coined the term Affrilachian to describe the African American presence in Appalachia. Walker, Dorian Hairston, Asha French, Bernard Clay, Yvonne Johnson and Bianca Spriggs will participate in the reading. The event is free and open to the public.

The Affrilachian Poets have been participating in a national reading tour for 25 years. According to the website, their readings, usually a collection of four or more writers, musicians, or artists, are an energetic and inspiring celebration of all the many cultures that make our Appalachian region both unique and special.

Since 1991, the Affrilachian Poets have been writing together, defying the persistent stereotype of a racially homogenized rural region. Through their writing and the very existence of their enclave, the Affrilachian Poets continue to reveal relationships that link identity to familial roots, socio-economic stratification and cultural influence, and an inherent connection to the land.

Walker is the recipient of two honorary doctorates and an NAACP Image award. He was named poet Laureate of Kentucky in 2013. A nationally recognized teacher, film producer, and poet, who currently teaches writing at the University of Kentucky, Walker has published seven award winning books, founded the journal Pluck, and produced or was featured in five films.

His writing is nationally recognized and frequently anthologized. He was the first Kentucky writer to be featured on NPR’s This I Believe. In addition, he has held board positions on the Kentucky Humanities Council, Appalshop, and the Hindman Settlement School, as well as served a government appointment to the Cabinet for Education, Arts & Humanities and the Committee on Gifted Education.

The event is funded through Wise Writes, UVa-Wise Student Government Association and the UVa-Wise Lecture Committee.