9th ANNUAL LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA AWARDS CELEBRATION
Richard Bland College Library Director, Dr. Virginia Cherry attended the 9th Annual Library of Virginia Awards Celebration honoring Virginia Authors & Friends on Saturday, October 21, 2006 at the Library of Virginia.
Dr. Cherry is a member of the Page Turner Society, a group dedicated to supporting the Annual Library of Virginia Awards Celebration.
The celebration was hosted by Daphne Maxwell Reid, actress and co-founder of New Millennium Studios.
The winners were:
Library of Virginia Literary Award for fiction: Geraldine Brooks for March.
“March was directly inspired by living in Waterford, where the scars of the Civil War remain vivid in the pocked bricks of the Baptist Church and in the small village graveyard where Union and Confederate dead lie side by side. Waterford was settled by Quakers in 1733 and I knew that a Quaker family had occupied our home during the 1860s. I wondered about that family, and how they had negotiated the moral choices that had confronted them as pacifists in a time of war, abolitionists in a slave state, Virginians who loved their home and neighbors. Thinking about them reminded me of that other idealist: Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott’s classic, Little Women, who has left his daughters to go ‘far away, where the fighting was’ as chaplain to the Union troops.”-Geraldine Brooks
Geraldine Brooks was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Sydney and worked for a time as a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald before moving to New York to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University. Brooks is the author of four books, two of which have been international best sellers. Brooks divides her time between homes in Waterford, Virginia, and Sydney. March won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2006.
Library of Virginia Literary Award for Nonfiction: A. Roger Ekirch for At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past.
“Although I think of myself as a morning person, nighttime has long appealed to me intellectually. Emotionally, too, I suppose. Past indifference by historians made the subject, early on, still more intriguing, as did my mounting realization of night’s profound importance before the Industrial Revolution. Rather than a natural hiatus, nighttime embodied a distinct culture with many of its own customs and rituals, scents, sights and sounds. What’s more, I grew steadily convinced that darkness afforded the greater part of humankind a sanctuary form everyday life the chance for men and women to express inner impulses and realize repressed desires. So, for all sorts of reasons, this book fired my imagination. Though the writing often resembled trench warfare—several yards, on a good day, gained, not lost—really, only rarely did my enthusiasm flag—usually in the small hours past midnight, long after any sensible soul, let alone a morning person, should have been abed.”—Roger Ekirch
Roger Ekrich, professor of early American history at Virginia Tech, is the author of three books and numerous articles that have appeared in the American Historical Review, the William and Mary Quarterly, Perspectives in American History, and several anthologies about the colonial South. He has won the James L. Clifford Prize and the Percy G. Adams Prize and has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Center for the Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry: Dabney Stuart for Family Preserve.
“About ten years ago, when I first considered gathering my family poems into one volume, I had no thought of publishing them. The poems were scattered about in my books over the previous thirty years, dispersed among poems dealing with all sorts of subject matter other than family. I tired out various selections and arrangements for a few years, alternately engaged and frustrated. Somewhere near the end of the last century I realized that simply shuffling around published work was unsatisfactory. I began tinkering with individual poems. I discovered I needed to reimagine and rewrite many of them; I saw, too, that I needed to compose new ones, and to open the manuscript to poems that had not appeared in my previous books. Once I began to create a new structure and coherence rather than perpetrate an assemblage, the work became fascinating to me, and it took off. Family Preserve, about one-third of which turned out to be new work, is the result of that labor. Its presence in the world still astonishes me, as gifts do. I am very grateful I didn’t give up on it.” —Dabney Stuart
The recipient of The Library of Virginia Literary Lifetime Achievement Award: Virginia-born novelist William Styron; awarded accepted by his wife.
Born and raised in Newport News, Styron traces his roots in the Old Dominion back to forebears who established themselves in tidewater Virginia in the latter half of the seventeenth century. Styron began writing as a teenager and became serious about the craft during his undergraduate days, first at Davidson College and then later at Duke University. Styron interrupted his education to enlist in the Marine Corp during World War II. On his return home, he completed his studies at Duke and moved to New York to work as an editor with McGraw-Hill and to write.
Styron published his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness, in 1951 at the age of twenty-six. The novel won the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Prix de Rome and launched his literary career. He worked for a time in Paris in the 1950s, where he and friends George Plimpton and Peter Matthiessen started the influential Paris Review. Two well-received books appeared in quick succession, The Long March (1957) and Set This House on Fire (1960); then in 1967, Random House released The Confessions of Nat Turner, the slave who sparked the rebellion, proved controversial, but it was also a brilliant and brave work that won Styron the prestigious Pulitzer Price for fiction.
In 1979, Styron published Sophie’s Choice, the poignant but tragic story of a Holocaust survivor who lost both her children in Auschwitz, Sophie’s Choice made Styron’s name a household word when the novel was made into an acclaimed motion picture. The Library of Virginia marked the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Sophie’s Choice with a yearlong series of literary events, a statewide reading program, and a black-tie gala in Styron’s honor.
He was a member of the prestigious Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Arts and Letters, Styron is recognized as one of the most significant and creative American writers of our time.
For the second year, Dr. Richard Love, Associate Professor of History at Richard Bland College, served as a 2006 Literary Awards Judge.
Dr. Love donated the following books to the RBC Library:
At Day's Close; Night in Times Past by A. Roger Ekirch
Thomas Paine and the Literature of Revolution by Edward Larkiin
The Peninsula Campaign of 1862 by Kevin Dougherty
Roberts Ridge by Malcolm MacPherson
Off-White A Memoir by Laurie Gunst
Worker Resistance Under Stalin by Jeffrey J. Rossman
Retreat From Gettysburg by Kent Masterson Brown
Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City by Anne Thomas Soffee
More Damning Than Slaughter; Desertion in the Confederate Army by Mark A. Weitz
The Confederate Battle Flag; America's Most Embattled Emblem by John M. Coski
Fearful Ravages Yellow Feber in New Orleans 1796-1905 by Benjamin Trask
Miz Suzie's Boy by Herman Dick Flora
Izzy's Fire by Nancy Wright Beasley
A View of Falls Church, Virginia 1881-1889; Diaries of Edmund Flagg by Connie Pendleton Stuntz
The First Emancipation; The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves by Andrew Levy
Attending Children; A Doctor's Education by Margaret E. Mohrmann