Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dr. James Robertson Speaking at Manassas Civil War Weekend

City of Manassas, VA . . . Retired Virginia Tech History Professor, prolific author and internationally-known Civil War expert Dr. James "Bud" Robertson has perfected many talents in a legendary career, but storytelling may be his proudest achievement.  Dr. Robertson discusses Civil War military maneuvers, tactics and artillery with ease, and just as easily captivates audiences with stories of romance, mothers, and horses.

Dr. Robertson will be the featured speaker during the Manassas Civil War Weekend, Aug. 23-25. Robertson's Saturday, Aug. 24 talk will be about theConfederate General Stonewall Jackson, Death and Birth of a Legend, at 4p.m. on the Manassas Museum Lawn. His Sunday talk, The Untold Civil War, based on his newest book, will be at 1 p.m. on Aug. 25 also on Manassas Museum lawn.  Both talks are free and part of a three-day weekend filled with living history, music, and events for all ages.

As a young man, Robertson's interest in history was piqued when he heard his grandmother tell tales about her father's Civil War exploits. Former students say the stories he told in packed lecture halls were so enthralling that they often forgot to take notes. His mix of humor, first-person stories, curious facts, and insight into the psyches of the people who started and fought the war continues to inspire both scholars and those with little interest in history. His success may be due to what he says he does: "I make history human. It's full of emotion. It's not memorization of dates and places."

He has authored and edited dozens of books, but Robertson's most well-known work is a 957-page award-winning volume on Stonewall Jackson, which took five years to research and two to write. While teaching and writing, he built the Virginia Tech Special Collections' Civil War research holdings, produced print and video material that has shaped Civil War history education in Virginia's public schools, and still serves as executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies <>.

President John F. Kennedy asked Robertson to serve as executive director of the national commission of the Civil War Centennial in 1961 after plans centered on a celebration rather than a dignified commemoration. Robertson successfully worked with 34 state and 100 local centennial commissions, all amid the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement. Robertson returned to the issue of commemorations 50 years later as a charter member of Virginia's Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, and has been influential in shaping the 150th observances throughout the Commonwealth.

Kennedy's aides also called Robertson to the White House on the evening of the president's assassination to redecorate the East Room as it looked when Lincoln's body lay in state in April of 1865. Robertson positioned the black bunting and located the Lincoln catafalque on which Kennedy's remains were laid.

When Hollywood came calling, producers used Robertson's book as the foundation for the portrayal of Jackson in the movie Gods and Generals, and Robertson served as the chief historical consultant for the film. Robertson has also made his mark in radio and television.

Over 14 years, Robertson wrote and narrated a collection of 350 radio commentaries that were aired on National Public Radio stations, and hosted a three-hour,award-winning Blue Ridge Public Television documentary entitled "Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance." Designed for use in the classroom, the program was broken down into nine 20-minute segments and distributed free to all public elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as every library system in Virginia. Robertson said he considers this "one of my greatest achievements."

Visit for a complete schedule of events for the Manassas Civil War Weekend.

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Patty Prince
Communications Coordinator

Monday, July 15, 2013

Calls for Prizes, Grants and Submissions


The Lincoln Library and Friends of the Lincoln Library are accepting poetry in five categories: Family, Friends, and Community; Creative Ideas for Change; A Time to Remember; Painting a Self-Portrait with Words; and Finding Beauty in Life.
Deadline: July 27, 2013

Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Los Angeles Review are given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay by a woman writer.

Deadline July 31, 2013

Blue Light Press is accepting manuscripts for the 2013 Blue Light Press Poetry and Chapbook Contest. For guidelines, e-mail: or visit their website. The winner will be published by Blue Light Press, receive a $100.00 honorarium and 50 copies of his or her book, which can be sold for $10.00 each, for a total of $600.00.
Deadline: Extended to July 30, 2013

The Comstock Review has extended the deadline for its Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award. They are looking for original, unpublished poetry not under consideration elsewhere. First Prize receives $1,000.
Postmarked by: August 1

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Snake Nation Press will be given annually for a poetry collection.
Deadline: August 31, 2013

Five awards of $6,000 each will be given twice yearly to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers with children. Five Promise Awards of $1,000 each will also be given twice yearly to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers with children. Writers with at least one child under the age of 18 are eligible.
Deadline: August 31, 2013

The Skagit River Poetry Foundation has announced a new Phyllis L. Ennes Poetry Contest open to all Pacific Northwest poets, from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana. Ellen Bass will serve as judge of the contest. Poets are asked to submit three previously unpublished works to
Deadline: October 15, 2013


Seven Kitchens Press sponsors the annual Robin Becker Chapbook Series for an original, unpublished poetry manuscript in English by a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or Queer writer. They will select one title from a writer with no previous poetry book or chapbook publication. The winner will receive 50 copies of their work.
Deadline: July 31, 2013

The Muse is an online bi-annual journal of poetry and representative poetic criticism. They are now accepting original, previously unpublished poetry submissions and research papers.
Deadline: November 10, 2013

FutureCycle Press is now reading poetry and flash fiction written in the English language for books, chapbooks, and anthologies to be published globally in both print-on-demand and Kindle ebook formats. They read year-round. Simultaneous submissions are okay.
Deadline: On-going

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Submission Guidelines for the Eleventh Annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize

The Eleventh Annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize for the winning book-length manuscript by a poet residing in the Mid-Atlantic states (DE, MD, VA, PA, NJ, NY, WVA, NC, and District of Columbia) will consist of $500, two cases of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Beer*, book publication by Broadkill River Press, and 10 copies of the book (in lieu of royalties).

The rules are: Manuscripts must be received by midnight, September 2, 2013 (Labor Day). Manuscripts received after Labor Day will not be considered. Eligible poets must reside in the above listed states and be twenty-one years of age or older by the date of the award. * The manuscript is to be submitted electronically in one MS Word document attachment. Send to Prize co-ordinator Linda Blaskey at Snail mail submissions will not be accepted.

Send two title pages with each submission: one with the title of the manuscript, your name, address, phone numbers and e-mail address; the second with just the manuscript title. No manuscript is to have any author-identifying information other than the one title page and will be rejected if it does. The manuscript should have an acknowledgement page of poems previously published, and in which publications and/or web-sites they appeared. Judging is blind and double-tiered.

The manuscript must be book-length (between 48 and seventy eight pages of original work – no translations) and no more than roughly thirty lines to a page, including the poem’s title and two line-spaces between the title and the body of the poem. A poem may be more than one page. The book’s dimensions will be 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches, with a minimum of half-inch side margins, and printed in 12 point type, so avoid very long lines.

The award will be presented to the poet on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at the Dogfish Head Brewpub and Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The winner must agree to attend this event and to read from their winning book at a reception honoring the winner. The prize will be officially awarded by Sam Calagione, Founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Distillery, or by another company official.

The author of the winning manuscript also agrees to provide, within ten days of notification, a color head-shot photograph for the back cover and a dedication for the interior of the book. The winner agrees to travel to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware at the winner’s expense for awarding of the prize. Dogfish Head will provide the winner one night’s lodging in Rehoboth Beach where Dogfish Rehoboth Brew Pub and Restaurant is located.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales retains the right to use any of the winning work in promotional materials.

For questions and more information contact Linda Blaskey, Prize co-ordinator, at

For more information about Dogfish Head, go to

Monday, July 1, 2013

Save the Date for Fall for the Book: Our Own Claudia Lefeve will be there!

Write by the Rails is a cosponsor of Fall for the Book, thanks to a $300 grant from the Virginia Writers Club.

The 15th annual Fall for the Book welcomes its largest line-up ever of cookbook authors and food writers. From surveys of ethnic flavors through a healthy dollop of school spirit and to a memoir of modern-day agricultural struggles—and tastings, don’t forget the tastings!—the festival offers a little something for all palates on Thursday, September 26, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus. A 6 p.m. panel discussion with all of the participants below is followed by cooking demonstrations, tastings, and book sales and signings from 7-9 p.m.

Norman Davis is the co-owner of The Sweet Life, a custom cakery in Annandale, Virginia. Davis and partner Zane Beg have competed in twelve Food Network Challenges and four with TLC/Discovery, have been seen on the Oprah Show, and have designed cakes for the Washington Post, President Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell, T. Boone Pickens, and singer Patti Labelle, among others, and People Magazine chose The Sweet Life to represent Virginia in their feature “A Cake From Every State.”

Since opening their first restaurant in Washington, D.C., the highly acclaimed Equinox, more than a decade ago, Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray have risen to the top of the city’s vibrant culinary scene, and their Harvest Moon Hospitality Group now includes four restaurants, two catering companies, and partnerships with leading brands and institutions. Their book, The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes, examines the couple’s culinary and personal lives, reveals how rewarding the sharing of two people’s traditions—and meals—can be, and proves them once more as pioneers in the movement to promote regionality and seasonality on the plate.

A Taste of Virginia Tech offers recipes from the best of Blacksburg’s eateries, both on- and off-campus, and explores the college’s culinary history through essays, remembrances, and more. Editors Krista Gallagher and Kris Schoels are both proud VT alums; Gallagher majored in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, and Schoels earned her degree in Fashions Merchandising.

Forrest Pritchard’s memoir Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm offers glimpses into the business, politics, and personal struggles of modern-day agriculture, and charts the author’s own journey from lost profits to renewed prospects for the future. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly praised the book’s “remarkable odyssey of food from farm to table” and called Pritchard himself “a born storyteller.”

Michael Stein is a staff writer for the blog, which “seeks to promote and grow the DC area’s craft beer culture through its locally focused beer website and its tasting and educational events.”

From beet soup, pierogies, and potato pancakes to mazurkas, babas, and more, Peter and Laura Zeranski’s Polish Classic Cooking and Polish Classic Desserts offer not just a tour of Poland’s culinary landscape but also a taste of the country’s history, heritage, and customs as well. Including the most iconic national dishes as well as a wide range of flavors from peasant fare to haute cuisine, these books seek both to preserve the traditions of Polish cooking and to update techniques for the modern kitchen.