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Our 2004 Writing Awards

PUBLISHED: December 1, 2004

Honoring the best writing to appear in its pages in the past year, the Virginia Quarterly Review announced today the winners of its annual writing prizes for 2004. “The diversity of the writers recognized by our advisory board is a wonderful reflection of the journal itself,” says Ted Genoways, VQR’s editor. “There are winners who have received the Pulitzer Prize and the MacArthur ‘genius’ grant, but there are also winners who haven’t yet published books. I think this demonstrates our commitment to publishing the best work–regardless of a writer’s reputation.”

The VQR Prize Winners for 2004:

Staige D. Blackford Prize for Nonfiction:
Jenny S. Martinez for “José Padilla and the War on Rights” (Fall 2004 issue)
Martinez’s essay arose from her work as the lead counsel for José Padilla in the 2004 U.S. Supreme Court Case Rumsfeld v. Padilla, in which she and her colleagues successfully argued that the United States government could not hold “enemy combatants” in the war on terror indefinitely without a trial. Martinez is an international human rights lawyer and assistant professor of law at Stanford University.

Roger Wilkins for “Doing the Work: Why We Need Affirmative Action” (Winter 2004 issue)
Wilkins’ essay explores racism, segregation, and privilege in American culture and presents a powerful argument for the continuing need for affirmative action. Wilkins is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice. The author of several books including Jefferson’s Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism (Beacon, 2002), he is currently the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History and American Culture at George Mason University.

Emily Clark Balch Prize for Short Story:
Dean Bakopoulos for “Happy” (Summer 2004 issue)
Bakopoulos’s first novel, Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon, will be published by Harcourt in February 2005. Bakopoulos lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he is the executive director of the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry:
Linda Bierds for three poems in the Winter 2004 issue: “The Cats,” “Vespers,” and “DNA
Bierds has published six books of poetry, including The Seconds (Putnam, 2001). Winner of numerous awards, including a fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, she is the Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood Professor in the Humanities at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Albert Goldbarth for three poems in the Fall 2004 issue: “Stated Focus,” “The English Rat,” and “The Song of How We Believe
Goldbarth, a two-time recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award, is the author of over twenty works of poetry, fiction, and essays, including the forthcoming Budget Travel through Space and Time: Poems (Graywolf Press, March 2005). He is the Adele M. Davis Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Department of English at Wichita State University.

The Emily Clark Balch Prizes for short story and poetry were established in 1955. Past recipients include Wendell Berry, John Berryman, Hayden Carruth, Carolyn Forché, Donald Hall, Mary Oliver, and May Sarton. The Staige D. Blackford Prize for nonfiction, established in 2003, is named for the seventh editor of VQR who retired in 2003 after guiding the magazine for 28 years. Recipients are chosen by the editorial advisory board of VQR. Each prize includes a monetary award of $1,000.

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