Fredericksburg, Va. – Claudia Emerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and English professor at the University of Mary Washington, read from her work at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. Emerson’s reading took place on Saturday, September 24 from 2:35 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The festival was free and open to the public.
Emerson read from “Pharaoh, Pharaoh,” “Pinion: An Elegy,” “Late Wife” and her latest work, “Figure Studies,” as part of the Poetry & Prose pavilion at the festival. Fellow authors at the pavilion included Michael Cunningham, Dave Eggers and Rita Dove. A book signing session followed Emerson’s reading from 4 to 5 p.m.
In addition, Kelly Cherry, a 1961 alumna of the University of Mary Washington and Virginia poet laureate, read from her work on Sunday, September 25 from 1:55 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. in the State Poets Laureate pavilion. She has published 20 books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction; eight chapbooks; and translations of two classical plays. Cherry joined the poets laureate from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Maine and California. A book signing session followed Cherry’s reading from 3 to 4 p.m.
A recent inductee into the prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers, Emerson won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for “Late Wife.” A former Virginia poet laureate who joined the UMW faculty in 1998, she holds the Arrington distinguished chair of poetry at Mary Washington. Emerson received the Donald Justice Award for poetry from the fellowship in 2009.
The eleventh annual National Book Festival, sponsored and organized by the Library of Congress, brought together more than 100 authors, illustrators and poets for two days of readings and book signings on the National Mall. Presenters were divided into the Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Contemporary Life, Poetry & Prose, Children and Teens pavilions. Headlining authors included David McCullough, Garrison Keillor and Toni Morrison. For more information about the festival, visit www.loc.gov/bookfest.