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  News - June, 2002  

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Book News

Tribute to The Mother of the Roanoke County Library System

Often the person who creates the love of reading in a child is a librarian.  Such a librarian was Blanche Brewster Pedneau, who died on May 30, 2002, at age 99.  Pedneau's endless energy built the Roanoke County Library System, which is said to be the busiest public library system in Virginia west of Richmond.

The Roanoke County Free Library was founded in 1932 with 350 books in the Roanoke County Junior Woman's Clubhouse.  Pedneau, an elementary school teacher, was hired as the original librarian.

She would take summer leaves to pursue and eventually earn a graduate degree in library science from Columbia University in New York.  By 1945, Pedneau had been instrumental in making the small library into the Roanoke County Public Library.  She established a bookmobile program and served as Director Roanoke County Library Services. She retired in 1967 as her pet project -- the bond referendum for the creation of five library branches -- was passed.  Pedneau served on the Library Board until it was discontinued in 1975.  Her portrait hangs in the main library.

Among the numerous children she touched with her devotion for reading, was her nephew author Brewster Milton Robertson.  He remembers his Aunt Blanche as someone who was always excited about work, and as a dedicated reader who loved reading to groups of children.

2001 Michael Shaara Award

Marly Youmans, author of The Wolf Pit (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001), is the recipient of the 2001 Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. 

Marly Youmans is a native and longtime resident of the Carolinas who now lives in Cooperstown, New York, with her husband and children. As a child she lived in Gramercy and Baton Rouge, where her father completed a Ph.D. at LSU and her mother worked at the State Library. Educated at Hollins, Brown, and Chapel Hill, she was tenured as an associate professor in the SUNY system before writing full time. Other works include: Little Jordan (David R. Godine, Publisher, 1995); Catherwood (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996); The Curse of the Raven Mocker, a fantasy novel set in the Carolina and Tennessee mountains (Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers, Fall 2003); and Claire, a collection of poems (Louisiana State University Press, Fall 2003.) Recently Youmans completed another novel, A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage.

The award ceremony will take place on June 26, 2002 at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis.  Youmans will read from her winning novel; a reception and book signing, featuring both the winner and Jeff Shaara, will follow the ceremony.  The presentation is free and open to the public.

The $1,500 annual award is funded by novelist Jeff Shaara and created by Shaara and the U.S. Civil War Center, a department of the LSU Libraries Special Collections.

Jeff Shaara's father, Michael Shaara, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for the Civil War novel, The Killer Angels, on which the movie Gettysburg was based. Historians and novelists frequently point to The Killer Angels as the book that inspired them to write about the Civil War. Jeff Shaara serves on the U.S. Civil War Center's National Advisory Board. He is the
author of the Civil War novels Gods and Generals, and The Last Full Measure. This fall Warner Brothers will release a film based on Jeff Shaara's novel Gods and Generals (directed by Ron Maxwell and produced by Ted Turner Pictures).

  • Franklin awarded the Gold Medal in History

  • Historian John Hope Franklin was awarded the Gold Medal in History by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City on May 15, 2002.  The Gold Medal was presented in recognition of his long and distinguished career as a scholar, intellectual leader and civil rights advocate.

    Franklin's 1947 book, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans is considered to be one of the definitive works on the black experience.  The 87-year-old Duke University professor emeritus is currently writing his autobiography, The Vintage Years.

    PAS Compiles Submission Guidelines

    The Publishers Association of the South (PAS, ) is offering a collection of editorial and manuscript submission guidelines from its publishing house members. This handy reference is available for sale to prospective authors, librarians, and other interested parties at $20 per copy.

    To obtain a copy of this publication, contact the PAS office:
    (850) 914-0766 or fax (850) 769-4348.

    4412 Fletcher St.
    Panama City, FL 32405-1017

    Southern Mystery Event

    The Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America will hold a one-day workshop on Saturday, July 20th, at the Bay Minette Public Library in Bay Minette, Alabama.  Participating speakers include: Sonny Brewer, Carolyn Haines, Martin Hegwood, Gwen Hunter, Dean James, Brewster Milton Robertson, and Les Standiford.  For more information, read the registration form.

    Call for Papers

    Essay Collection: The Native American South (deadline: June 1, 2002)


    Appalachian Writers Association Contests for 2002 (deadline: June 1, 2002)

    Kentucky Writers Coalition Fiction Chapbook Award (deadline:June 30, 2002)

    Panama City Writers Association Writing Contest (deadline: June, 30, 2002)

    Tennessee Writers Alliance 2002 Literary Award Competition (deadline: July 15, 2002)

    News from Past Issues
    2002: 04 03 02 01
    2001: 12 11 10 09 08  07 06 05 04 03 02 01 

    2000: 12 11  10  09  08 

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