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.
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.
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.
***New! The Young SVA Category will open to Maryland High School Students on May 30. See new guidelines & eligibility.***
Sponsored and presented by the Baltimore National Heritage Area, explorebaltimore.org
Lynn Cullen’s novel, Mrs. Poe, a national bestseller, was named a Book of the Week by People Magazine, a Target Book Club Pick, an NPR 2013 Great Read, an Indie Next List selection, a Penny’s Pick at Costco, an Oprah Book of the Week, and Best of 2013 by Atlanta Magazine. Her novel, Twain's End, was a People Magazine Book of the Week, an Indie Next Pick, a Townsend Prize finalist, named a Book All Georgians Should Read by the Georgia Center for the Book, and was featured, as was Mrs. Poe, in the New York Times Book Review Shortlist. She received the Georgia Author of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in June 2020 for The Sisters of Summit Avenue, a Publisher’s Weekly Buzz Book.
Her novels have been translated into seventeen languages and she has appeared on PBS American Masters. She yearns to reach new readers who love to read the kind of books she pines for--books that make you marvel at our resilience and at our potential goodness. Her next book, The Woman with the Cure, a novel about the race for the polio vaccine, will be released February 2023.
Lynn Cullen, Bestselling Author of Mrs. Poe
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 Biography.com, 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)
Jessica Williams is Associate Director of Special Events and Westminster Preservation Trust, Inc., at the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, earning a BS in Journalism from Bowie State University and a MA in Mass Communications from Towson University. Jessica has worked in higher education for more than 7 years marketing and planning events, teaching first year courses and training students and staff in Gallup - Clifton Strengths. Prior to higher education, Jessica worked for the Baltimore Museum of Industry as the Director of Marketing and Events for 9 years. It was this position that provided her fondness for history which later led her to Westminster Preservation Trust, Inc.
Jessica enjoys working with the student population at UMB; assisting with their development as they enter the workforce. She also appreciates the relationships she's formed with the community by providing Westminster Hall and Burying Ground as a site for events, tours, lectures and more. When Jessica isn't driving her 17 and 13-year-old to work and extra-curricular activities, she enjoys traveling, dinner and wine tastings with her husband, craft shows, farmers markets and reading.
Jessica Williams, Westminster Preservation Trust, Inc.
Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities at the College of the Holy Cross, is an expert on both Poe and Nabokov. Beth coedited Detecting Texts: The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism and has published essays on Poe's tales and 19th-century popular interests such as ventriloquism, natural history, and daguerreotypes. "The Horror of Taking a Picture in Poe's 'Tell-Tale Heart," part of a larger project on early photography and Poe's invention of narrative genres, won the Gargano Award for an outstanding essay on Poe.
A past president of the Poe Studies Association, she now serves on the board of the Edgar Allan Poe Review. Beth was twice elected president of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society and spent a decade as coeditor of NABOKV-L, the Vladimir Nabokov Electronic Forum; she coedited a book on Nabokov and has published over 30 essays on his work, one of which received the 2021 Barabtarlo Prize. She is also a poet and a sculptor.
Dr. Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, College of the Holy Cross, Poe Studies Association
Roger McCormack, the education coordinator at The Bronx County Historical Society, is pleased
to be a SVA judge!
The Bronx County Historical Society’s education coordinator is in charge of tours of The
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage in Fordham, the oldest Poe Museum, first opened in 1913. The cottage was built in 1812, and is a New York City and State landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic house museum is famous as the final home of the writer. Mr. McCormack is excited to infuse his passion for Poe and the Bronx as an SVA Judge!
Roger McCormack, The Poe Cottage, Bronx County Historical Society
John Edward Martin is a librarian, scholar, and teacher from Texas with particular interests in gothic and horror fiction & film, comics studies, and religion & literature. He is currently the Book Review Editor for The Edgar Allan Poe Review and an active member of the Poe Studies Association. He has published scholarly articles on Poe’s poetry & letters and on the pedagogy of horror, and currently has a book chapter on Poe, women, and comics under review. He has recently done presentations on Poe & comics for the Poe Studies Association and the Free Library of Philadelphia. He holds a Ph.D. in American literature from Northwestern University and an MS in Library Science from the University of North Texas.
Dr. John Edward Martin, Poe Studies Association
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
In April 2019, Shauntee was selected as the Baltimore National Heritage Area (BNHA) executive director. She has been with BNHA since 2008, spearheading multiple heritage tourism projects and initiatives, including coordinating the heritage area’s Urban Rangers program which staffs Poe House, the multiple tours offered to heritage travelers, as well as BNHA’s Heritage Neighborhood initiative promoting heritage and cultural resources in our many neighborhoods. In addition to her passion for history, Shauntee brings to the heritage area her experience in publications management and corporate operations.
Shauntee Daniels, Baltimore National Heritage Area
Michael Coleman is an education skills development professional, and a member of the Poe Baltimore Board of Directors. He holds a Master’s Degree in Creativity & The Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. His undergraduate work in English & Literature focused on early American writers, especially Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
As a child, Michael was an avid reader. His interest with Poe began with The Gold Bug and Decent into the Maelstrom at a very young age. For several years, other Poe stories would be included in his readings, but it wasn’t until 7thgrade, when he was “forced” to memorize the poem Annabel Lee, that Michael began to feel a bond with the author, a relationship that continues to this day.
By day, Michael manages professional credentialing programs. He has helped develop over 30 courses in the areas of commercial real estate, banking, personal and professional development, and others. He has penned over 150 articles covering all topics within commercial real estate, as well as on topics spanning from editing to health and fitness. He is also an editor, having worked on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and other works.
In his spare time, Michael is a fitness and martial arts instructor. He holds a black belt in Tang Soo Do and a blue belt in Brazilian Jui Jitsu.
Michael Coleman, Poe Baltimore
Maya Wilson, a Baltimore native, has a degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh, with specializations in Africana studies and theater arts. Her work in these disciplines allows her to combine her passion for social justice with an interest in community organizing and engaging inner-city youth in the social and political process. Maya has previously taught middle school social studies at Green Street Academy and currently teaches 9th and 11th grade Government and World History at Baltimore City College High School, working with general and special education students. She has worked as an Urban Ranger with the Baltimore National Heritage Area, specifically with the Edgar Allan Poe Museum and Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Baltimore. Maya is an avid reader and supporter of the arts. She thrives on encouraging activism around the topics and places she loves, particularly history and culture.
Maya Wilson, Baltimore National Heritage Area