Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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UMW professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet to read at National Book Festival

The University of Mary Washington today issued the following press release:

 Claudia Emerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and English professor at the University of Mary Washington, will read from her work at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. Emerson’s reading will take 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 is free and open to the public.           

Emerson will 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 include Michael Cunningham, Dave Eggers and Rita Dove. A book signing session will follow 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, will 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 joins the poets laureate from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Maine and California. A book signing session will follow 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, brings together more than 100 authors, illustrators and poets for two days of readings and book signings on the National Mall. Presenters are divided into the Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Contemporary Life, Poetry & Prose, Children and Teens pavilions. Headlining authors include David McCullough, Garrison Keillor and Toni Morrison. For more information about the festival, visit