Award Categories


Works Adapting Poe

Any artistic work that presents the historical facts of Poe’s life and likeness, or faithful adaptation or performance of Poe’s writing. Examples might include: a stage, film or recorded audio performance of Poe’s prose or poetry; musicals or compositions; portraiture or other artistic rendering of Poe’s likeness. Non-period or modern-day adaptations may qualify in this category provided the entry is clearly presented as a directly representative of Poe’s life or works. Historical biography also qualifies in this category due to the narrative nature of such works. Please note the Saturday Visiter Awards are focused primarily on artistic rather than academic works; critical or academic treatises do not qualify for entry. 


Original Works Inspired by Poe

Any original work that draws direct inspiration from Poe’s life or writing. Examples might include Poe or an historical person significant to Poe’s life as character in film, novel or play; use of some element of Poe’s written works (setting, character, plot) for sequel, prequel or basis for original story. In every case the entrant must clearly state and illustrate how Poe inspired the work. A dramatic telling or narrative of Poe’s life that purposely changes the historical facts for storytelling purposes might also qualify for this category. 



Regional Honor (non-medal)

Historical Poe sites in Baltimore, Bronx and Richmond may select an entry to highlight as their “Poe Places” SVA Regional Honor. The purpose is to recognize an artist or work within the Poe site's city or region. Honorees will be announced with the nominees list and presented by a representative from that location. This pick is not an SVA contender unless it has been selected one of the slate of official nominees. Regional Highlight honorees will receive an invitation to the SVA awards ceremony.

SVA Presenter & Guest of Honor

Louis Bayard

A New York Times Notable author, Louis Bayard has been nominated for both the Edgar® and Dagger awards, and his story, “Banana Triangle Six,” was chosen for The Best American Mystery Stories 2018. He is also a nationally recognized essayist and critic whose articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Salon. His other novels include Fool's Errand and Endangered Species (Alyson). An instructor at George Washington University, he is on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and was the author of the popular Downton Abbey recaps for the New York Times.

The Saturday Visiter Awards is pleased to welcome the author of The Pale Blue Eye as our presenter and Guest of Honor at this year's ceremony, Saturday, October 5th, 2019.

"At West Point Academy in 1830, the calm of an October evening is shattered by the discovery of a young cadet's body swinging from a rope. The next morning, an even greater horror comes to light. Someone has removed the dead man's heart. Augustus Landor, who acquired some renown in his years as a New York City police detective, is called in to discreetly investigate. It's a baffling case Landor must pursue in secret, for the scandal could do irreparable damage to the fledgling institution. But he finds help from an unexpected ally: a moody, young cadet with a penchant for drink, two volumes of poetry to his name, and a murky past that changes from telling to telling. The strange and haunted Southern poet for whom Landor develops a fatherly affection, is named Edgar Allan Poe."

Louis Bayard, author
Louis Bayard, author

SVA Judges Panel

Chris Semtner

The Curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, Chris Semtner is an internationally exhibited fine artist whose paintings have entered numerous public collections including the Virginia Historical Society and the University of Maryland.  Semtner has written several books and chapters on topics including Poe, visual art, and cryptography in addition to contributing articles to, Resources for American Literary Studies, Crime Writers’ Chronicle, and The Edgar Allan Poe Review. He has curated critically acclaimed exhibits for museums and galleries across the country with his Library of Virginia exhibit Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster earning the praise of The New York Times. His exhibits for the Poe Museum brought that institution awards and honors from TIME Magazine, USA Today, and several others. 

In search of innovative ways to bring Poe to new audiences, Semtner has collaborated on Poe-themed performances with groups including the Latin Ballet of Virginia, the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery, and Engaging History Productions. Semtner has appeared on BBC4, PBS, Travel Channel, Military History, NPR, CNN, and other networks. He regularly speaks about a variety of unusual, obscure, and macabre subjects to groups of all ages around the country and as far away as Japan. His most recent book, The Poe Shrine: Building the World’s Finest Edgar Allan Poe Collection, tells the strange but true stories behind the Poe Museum’s artifacts. 

Chris Semtner, Poe Museum (Richmond)
Chris Semtner, Poe Museum (Richmond)

Katie Marquette


Katie Marquette is an independent radio producer and sound design consultant based in Baltimore, Maryland. She has worked on a number of local projects for 88.1, WYPR, Baltimore’s NPR station, including an original podcast, The Noir and Bizarre, featuring many Poe-related events! Katie has a master’s degree in conflict resolution and believes in the power of innovative storytelling to connect and reconcile diverse communities. She loves Baltimore's strange and wonderful history - and of course, Poe! 

Katie Marquette, Noir and Bizarre
Katie Marquette, Noir and Bizarre

Vivian Davis

Vivian Davis has been in the museum field for over 10 years, working for various  non-profit organizations in New York City and is currently the Education Coordinator at The Bronx County Historical Society.  Graduating with a BA in American Studies and MA in American History, Vivian’s interests have meandered towards the lesser known stories of Edgar Allan Poe's life in New York City and The Bronx.

Vivian Davis, The Poe Cottage
(Bronx County Historical Society)
Vivian Davis, The Poe Cottage (Bronx County Historical Society)

J.W. Ocker

J.W. Ocker is the Edgar Award-winning author of strange travelogues Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe, A Season with the Witch, and the Grimpendium books, as well as the children’s novel Death and Douglas. He is also the creator of OTIS: Odd Things I’ve Seen ( Ocker’s work has appeared in The Boston Globe, CNN, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and other places people stick writing. He’s from Maryland but has lived in New Hampshire for a decade. 

J.W. Ocker, Poe-Land
J.W. Ocker, Poe-Land

Scott Peeples

Scott Peeples is co-editor (with J. Gerald Kennedy) of The Oxford Handbook of Edgar Allan Poe and author of the books Edgar Allan Poe Revisited and The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe. A former president of the Poe Studies Association, he currently serves as Consulting Editor for the journal Poe Studies and as an editorial board member of the Edgar Allan Poe Review. Peeples served as a consultant and interview subject for the 2017 American Masters documentary Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive, and in 2018 wrote a TED-Ed lesson on Poe. He is a member of the Richmond Poe Museum's board of directors.

Scott Peeples, College of Charleston
Scott Peeples, College of Charleston

Thomas Brown

Thomas Brown, a Baltimore native, owns and operates a wood shop specializing in historically accurate reproductions of antique architectural milllwork.  A student of Early American and Renaissance English history, his first woodworking job was an apprenticeship with local craftsman James Cox making renaissance and medieval stringed instruments.  Then after switching between eight different Majors (one being English Literature) in various Colleges all over America, he finally completed a self-designed degree in Creative Anachronism at Stevenson University. 

Shortly after marrying his very bright and remarkably patient wife Kathleen (formerly President of the Poe Society of Baltimore) in 1991 and settling down in Ruxton, he founded Thomas Brown, Woodwright LLC.  In terms of his devotion to literature, we note that he provides for the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s use his Fearelesse Folio Actors’ Editions, working scripts which he developed in conjunction with his friend and mentor Lewis Shaw specifically to facilitate Early Practice and Original Pronunciation productions.  They are assembled from the First Folio and Early Quartos and carefully emended, and formatted to capture the appearance of the early printed Works, but in a practical form that actors can use for rehearsal of the Plays.  On the woodworking side, he is also steadily improving their permanent Elizabethan Stage in Hampden. 

As a currently-serving member of the Poe Baltimore Board of Directors, Tom has been instrumental in repairing and improving the wooden features of Poe's Amity Street residence, starting with a new door which he fabricated based on the oldest known photograph of the house.   A fan of antique volumes and papers, Tom is also assembling a small library of original printings of Poe’s works written while he actually lived in Baltimore. 

Thomas Brown, Poe Baltimore
Thomas Brown, Poe Baltimore