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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Montpelier Author Kekla Magoon Named National Book Award Finalist

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2021 at 2:16 PM

  • Courtesy of Kekla Magoon
  • Kekla Magoon
Updated at 3:58 p.m.

Kekla Magoon had just picked up groceries to cook dinner on Monday evening when she saw that she had missed a phone call.

“I didn’t even hear the phone ring,” the Montpelier author said on Wednesday. She was in the grocery store parking lot when she noticed a voicemail from a 212 number.

“I figured that might be related to publishing, so I listened,” she said. “And it was the executive director of the National Book Foundation.”

Magoon is one of five finalists for the 2021 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for her forthcoming nonfiction book Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People. “It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “A little surreal, also.”

She had known since September that she was on the long list for the prize, and she knew that the foundation planned to announce all 25 National Book Award finalists — five in each of five categories — on Tuesday, October 5, at 10 a.m. She hadn’t expected to hear anything until then. In a long “congratulatory voicemail with some logistics information,” foundation executive director Ruth Dickey asked Magoon to keep the news quiet and not to tell even her publisher.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Montpelier Author Kekla Magoon Long-Listed for National Book Award

Posted By on Tue, Sep 21, 2021 at 4:02 PM

  • Courtesy of Kekla Magoon
  • Kekla Magoon
Montpelier's Kekla Magoon has been long-listed for the prestigious National Book Award for Young People's Literature for her forthcoming nonfiction book Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People. The author of children's and young adult titles such as The Rock and the River and the Robyn Hoodlum series, Magoon is a faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Revolution in Our Time, which will be released on Tuesday, November 23, traces the Black Panther Party through its social and historical contexts, from slavery to the group's inception in 1966 to today's ongoing anti-racist efforts.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Vermont Book Award Becomes Three Separate Prizes

Posted By on Tue, Aug 31, 2021 at 6:02 PM

Martin Philip accepting the 2018 Vermont Book Award - COURTESY OF VERMONT COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS
  • Courtesy of Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • Martin Philip accepting the 2018 Vermont Book Award
The Vermont Book Award, which has been presented by Vermont College of Fine Arts since 2015, is changing. The 2022 prize will be awarded by a new coalition consisting of VCFA, the Vermont Department of Libraries and the Vermont Humanities Council.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

UVM Awards Inaugural Prize for Writing on Ecology and Economics

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 10:44 AM

Bathsheba Demuth with sled dogs - COURTESY OF THE GUND INSTITUTE
  • Courtesy of the Gund Institute
  • Bathsheba Demuth with sled dogs
The first Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics, named for a late fellow at the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Environment, was awarded this week to a book on the environmental history of the region surrounding the Bering Strait. The winner will receive $4,000 from a fund raised by Zencey before his death in 2019 at age 65.

Zencey was a scholar dedicated to advancing the idea of ecological economics, according to Taylor Ricketts, director of the Gund Institute. That means an approach to economics that “acknowledges the self-evident fact that the economy is operating inside the biosphere,” Ricketts explained. In other words, the economy is one system within a larger planetary system, and economic growth is limited by the physical limits of the environment.

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Friday, December 4, 2020

Season's Readings: Author Stephen Kiernan Dispenses Book Recs

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 6:19 PM

  • File/Courtesy of Beowulf Sheehan
  • Stephen P. Kiernan
A local, seasonal tradition kicked off this week in Charlotte, but people can (and do) participate from around the country.

The online event is a kind of literary "Dear Abby." It takes place on author Stephen Kiernan’s Facebook page, where he offers recommendations to holiday shoppers seeking his advice about books for people on their gift lists.

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Friday, October 23, 2020

Major Jackson to Leave UVM for Vanderbilt University

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2020 at 12:46 PM

Major Jackson at Leunig's Bistro - SALLY POLLAK/FILE ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak/File ©️ Seven Days
  • Major Jackson at Leunig's Bistro
Major Jackson and Daniel Fogel arrived at the University of Vermont in the fall of 2002, each moving to Vermont from Louisiana.

Jackson, a poet, was a young faculty member joining the English department from Xavier University in New Orleans. Fogel, a Henry James scholar and university administrator, arrived from Louisiana State University to serve as UVM’s 25th president.  The two met that fall at an English department picnic, recalled Fogel, who’s now a professor in the department.

“I met Major, read some of his poems, and immediately began [working] from the president’s office and made sure that we retained him as long as we could,” Fogel said.

That effort was successful for nearly two decades: Jackson, 52, will leave UVM at the end of the semester for Vanderbilt University, where he’ll be the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English. During his tenure at UVM, Jackson emerged as a prominent American poet of his generation, publishing four volumes of poetry, including this year’s The Absurd Man, and editing the 2019 volume of The Best American Poetry.

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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Former Vermont Poet Laureate Louise Glück Awarded Nobel Prize

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 5:11 PM

  • Courtesy of Katherine Wolkoff/Steven Barclay Agency
  • Louise Glück
The Swedish Academy has announced that its choice for the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature is Louise Glück. Though she now resides in Cambridge, Mass., she lived for many years in Plainfield, Vt. In 1971, Glück was among the original members of the legendary creative writing faculty at Goddard College in the nation’s first low-residency program. In 1980 she was a founding board member of the New England Culinary Institute (her then-husband John Dranow was a cofounder of the school).

Glück served as Vermont’s poet laureate — known then as “state poet” — from 1994 to 1998, and as U.S. poet laureate 2003 to 2004.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

StoryWalk Comes to Leddy Park

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 11:55 AM

A StoryWalk post at Leddy Park - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • A StoryWalk post at Leddy Park
A path is for sharing. Along a path in Burlington's  Leddy Park, trees share the way with a children’s book, Pie is for Sharing.

The pages of the book are displayed on a set of posts at the edge of the path. As you walk the path you can read the book —  a combination of activities known as StoryWalk.

Pie is for Sharing
, a lovely book written by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard, is illustrated by Jason Chin, a children’s book artist and author who lives in South Burlington. He encountered his first StoryWalk about a decade ago at a zoo in New York City and has been a fan since.

In a phone call with Seven Days, Chin talked about why he likes StoryWalk, including the enjoyment of coming upon one when he’s out with his kids.

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Monday, September 14, 2020

Bookstock Kicks Off Its Virtual Event Series With Poet Reuben Jackson

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2020 at 6:25 PM

  • Courtesy of Reuben Jackson
  • Reuben Jackson
Bookstock, the Woodstock-based "festival of words," usually happens every July. This year — the fest's 12th — the organizers had already booked 40 authors when the pandemic hit, according to programming director Pam Ahlen. They made the tough decision to cancel the live event and replace it with a series of free livestreaming author talks, dubbed Virtual Bookstock 2020, in partnership with Woodstock's Norman Williams Public Library.

Virtual Bookstock kicks off on Thursday, September 17, and continues monthly through the end of the year. The first guest is poet Reuben Jackson, in conversation with author Jenna Blum.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

350Vermont Launches 'Climate + COVID-19: A Community Conversation' Zine

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 6:02 PM

  • Courtesy of Jean Cannon
  • 'Predator Summit'
The climate crisis and COVID-19 are two topics likely to be weighing on Vermonters' minds. In a new zine presented by the Burlington-based climate justice nonprofit 350Vermont, writers and artists explore the intersection of the pandemic and Earth's changing climate.

In early May, organizers, including project initiator and 350Vermont staff collective member Lily Jacobson, put out a call for submissions. They were looking  for stories, essays, poems, drawings, photos, and other types of writing and visual art to fill a DIY publication, serving as "an artistic dialogue around the connections between COVID-19 and climate justice, aka the climate crisis," according to the call for submissions.

The response was enthusiastic. In a phone call with Seven Days, Jacobson said the team received submissions from 40 people, some of whom sent multiple pieces. With such a large number of works, organizers decided to parcel the zine, called Climate + COVID-19: A Community Conversation, into two issues.

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