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 for 2021, the Young SVA Category is open to Maryland High School Students. See new guidelines & eligibility.***
Sponsored and presented by the Baltimore National Heritage Area, explorebaltimore.org
Rafael Álvarez is a native Baltimorean whose hometown has been the primary subject of his work since Jimmy Carter was president.
Alvarez learned to write on the City Desk of the Baltimore Sun, wrote for the HBO drama The Wire, has worked as a laborer on merchant ships and published many books. He is a long-time supporter of the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum.
Rafael's most recent collection of short stories is Basilio Boullosa Stars in the Fountain of Highlandtown.
Rafael Álvarez, Poet & Author
(photo credit Jennifer Bishop)
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)
Dr. Amy Branam Armiento serves as the president of the Poe Studies Association, an international organization that supports the scholarly and informal exchange of information on the life, works, times, and influence of Edgar Allan Poe. In addition, she is a professor of English at Frostburg State University.
Dr. Amy Branam Armiento, Poe Studies Association
Andrea Lewis is senior program officer at Maryland Humanities and director of the Maryland Center for the Book. She has worked for more than a decade in public libraries, and coordinated several statewide literature programs including One Maryland One Book, which draws nearly 20,000 participants each year; a Baltimore-based literary walking tour; and Veterans Book Group discussion programs in five counties. Andrea’s work has included programs with The National Gallery of Art, Folger Shakespeare Library, Scholastic, the Public Library Association and the Maryland State Department of Education, as well as more than 20 years overall spent working with public libraries in Maryland and across the country through consulting and committee work. Andrea has a B.A. in communication and art history from James Madison University, and an M.A. in public communication from The American University in Washington, D.C.
Andrea Lewis, Maryland Humanities, Maryland Center for the Book
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
Dean Browell leads consumer research firm, Feedback, as resident PhD and Principal with a passion for how generations interact online. His work can be seen across many industries including tourism, automotive, retail, healthcare, education and more. He is a Board Member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD), The Poe Museum, and University of Richmond’s Institute on Philanthropy where he has taught for over 10 years. He is also a playwright and teaches a Master’s level class in Digital Ethnography at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Business.
Dean Browell, Poe Museum (Richmond,) Virginia Commonwealth University
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