Virgina Literary Awards

Acccording to tomorrow's uncredited story in the Richmond Times Dispatch, which I'm guessing may be a press release reprint, Shenandoah editor R.T. Smith, who received the Library of Virginia 2002 poetry award for Messenger is again the recipient of the poetry prize for Outlaw Style: Poems which the of judges hailed as offering

a brooding understanding of both the riches and horrors of Southern culture.
He won out over other poetry finalists Blessings and Inclemencies by Constance Merritt and Littlefoot: A Poem by Charles Wright.

Wesley C. Hogan, assistant professor of history and co-director of the Institute for the Study of Race Relations at Virginia State University, won the non-fiction award for Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC's Dream for a New America which

explores how the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee broke open the caste system in the South and offers new insights into the internal dynamics of SNCC as well as the larger civil-rights and black-power movements.

The judges felt that ...[she] reminds us of the ongoing quest for democracy while highlighting its complexity and fragility and thatHogan's voluminous research and graceful style engaged the reader from beginning to end.

The other finalists for the nonfiction prize were Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life and Peter Wallenstein for Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Honnorable mention went to What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War by Chandra Manning.

For the first time since the inception of the Library of Virginia Literary two awards for fiction to creative wrting professors. George Mason University's Helon Habila for Measuring Time and Old Dominion Universaity's Janet Peery for What the Thunder Said, are winners for the best work of fiction. The judges felt that the literary styles of both, though different, were

equally impressive and equally worthy of the award. "Measuring Time" plays with our conceptions of history, showing it as something lived and told rather than documented. In "What the Thunder Said," the language and structure of the novel appear effortless, the judges said, the narrative voice is authentic and evocative of the Depression during the Dust Bowl years and Peery's prose is beautifully lyrical.

This year's other fiction finalist was The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown, who won the category in 2005 for Confinement and in 2001 for The Hatbox Baby.
. . .

The winner of the People's Choice Award in the fiction category is Puss'n Cahoots by Rita Mae Brown and in the nonfiction category, Unruly Americans by Woody Holton. The finalists for these awards are selected by a panel of independent Virginia booksellers and librarians from the list of books nominated for the Library's Literary Awards and winners are decided by readers voting online and in libraries.

David Wojahn, who teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and directs its creative writing program, received the Weinstein Poetry Prize. His first book, "Icehouse Lights," won the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. He is the author of six collections of poetry. The Weinstein Prize winner is selected separately from the Library of Virginia's Literary Awards by a special board of curators.

Pamela Duncan Edwards was honored for "The Old House," winner of the second annual Whitney and Scott Cardozo Award for Children's Literature.

Rita Dove is the recipient of the 2008 Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award. A former Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, Dove is the youngest person -- and the first African-American -- to receive this highest official honor in American letters. She held the position for two years. In 2004, then-Gov. Mark R. Warner appointed her Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a two-year position. Dove is Commonwealth Professor of Poetry at the University of Virginia.