Since 1987, The Northern Virginia Review (TNVR) has presented an eclectic collection of prose, poetry, fine art and photography from faculty, staff and students at NOVA and from contributors throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The launch of Volume 28 of TNVR was celebrated in the Forum of the Ernst Center on the Annandale Campus on March 20.
TNVR Editor-in-Chief Adam Chiles (AN), assistant professor of English, opened the ceremony and announced the award winners. “We are privileged to have such a splendid group of poets, writers and visual artists contribute to the 28th volume of The Northern Virginia Review,” he said.
Catherine Bell won the prose award for her short story “Among the Missing,” Kathleen O’Toole was named the poetry winner for “Heist,” and the art winners were photographers Marcie Sponholtz for “Yipes, Stripes” and Qiwu Liu for “A Wedding Dress.”
Dr. Ruth Stewart (MA), professor of English and TNVR associate editor, introduced the guest speaker, Solveig Eggerz, who has contributed to TNVR on several occasions and holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Catholic University. She gave an engaging presentation on her journey to become a published author titled “How to Turn Non-fiction Into Fiction.”
She was born in Iceland into a family of writers. She spent her early years in the Icelandic embassy in Washington, D.C., during her father’s diplomatic posting before the family moved to then-rural Prince George’s County, Md. She later settled in the D.C. area with her husband and wrote for the Washington Daily News, Roll Call and the Alexandria Gazette-Packet.
She returned to Iceland in 1994 to care for her father who, although gravely ill, was still finishing work on a novel. When she offered to help him, she said that he replied, “I will write my own novel; you can write yours.” He passed away about a week later. She thought of his comments as she flew back to the U.S. and decided to turn her historical prose into a novel.
The result was “Seal Woman,” a novel set in Iceland during World War II, which won the First Prize for Fiction from the Maryland Writers Association and was a Book-of-the-Month selection by the American Association of University Women. She is now working on a second novel, involving an orphaned girl raised by a family in the Shenandoah Valley and including a mystery that stretches to Florence, Italy. An excerpt titled “Tightrope,” is included in TNVR Volume 28.