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U.Va. Art Museum Announces 23rd Annual Writer's Eye Competition

September 1, 2009 – The University of Virginia Art Museum will sponsor Writer's Eye 2009, an annual literary competition based on artworks selected from the museum's permanent collection and visiting exhibitions.

Entrants view the designated Writer's Eye art selections and then write an original story or poem inspired by one of those works. Entries will be judged in two categories, Prose and Poetry, among four age groups: grades three through five, six through eight, nine through 12 and university/adult.

Writer's Eye group tours at the museum begin on Sept. 21, and contest entries must be submitted by Nov. 20. Winners will be announced in late January. An awards ceremony will be held March 21 in Campbell Hall with a reception to follow at the museum.

Selections for the 2009 Writer's Eye competition will be drawn from the museum's permanent collection, from aboriginal art on loan from the Kluge-Ruhe Collection and from three special exhibitions: "Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village: The Creation of an Architectural Masterpiece"; "The Expanding Eye: Art Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe"; and "Abstract Photography: Selections from Glenstone."

The "Academical Village" exhibition presents original drawings, prints and letters that Jefferson exchanged with colleagues as plans for the University took shape.

The Poe exhibition celebrates the 200th anniversary of his birth with a display of works by major artists inspired by his writings. Featured artists include James Ensor, Felix Vallotton, Odilon Redon, Alice Neel and Nathan Oliveira.

"Abstract Photography" presents works by seven artists dating from the 1970s to the present. The exhibition demonstrates how over the course of 30 years photographers such as Louise Lawler and Wolfgang Tillman have rejected certain modernist aesthetics in favor of conceptual theory, resulting in eventless imagery devoid of specific narrative.

Two well-known Albemarle County writers, Sarah Collins Honenberger and John Casteen IV, are the lead prose and poetry judges for the 2009 Writer's Eye Competition.

Honenberger's first novel, "White Lies: A Tale of Babies, Vaccines, and Deception," was nominated for the 2006 Library of Virginia Fiction award. Her second novel, "Waltzing Cowboys" (2009), was an Editor's Pick on Bookviews.com. In April, her latest unpublished novel, "Catcher, Caught," was selected as one of 100 semifinalists in the Amazon Novel Contest from more than 5,000 entries. Her short fiction has won first place awards in The Antietam Review, New Millenium, SouthLit and The Hook and has appeared in numerous other literary journals. A Virginia Creative Arts Center Fellow, Honenberger has won several Virginia Writer's Club statewide fiction awards and appears regularly on literary panels and at book festivals in addition to teaching creative writing classes.

Casteen graduated from U.Va. and from the Iowa Writers' Workshop with an M.F.A. He is currently visiting assistant professor of English at Sweet Briar College, where he founded and directs the Sweet Briar Undergraduate Creative Writing Conference. He has also taught at U.Va., and since 2005 has served on the editorial staff of The Virginia Quarterly Review. His first book of poems, "Free Union," appeared in spring 2009 from The University of Georgia Press. His poems and criticism have appeared in Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, The Paris Review and other literary journals. He has also contributed opinion and analysis to Slate.com, Washington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, Virginia Quarterly Review and other magazines and newspapers.

Student entries from grades three through eight are judged by other highly qualified teachers and writers from the community.

Entry forms and information about the competition are on the museum's Web site at www.virginia.edu/artmuseum. The artwork selections will be posted Sept. 21. Self-guided tours of the Writer's Eye selections may be taken during the museum's public hours, Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Docent-led group tours designed especially for school classes and other community groups are available by appointment weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as at selected times on weekends.

The U.Va. Art Museum is located at 155 Rugby Road on the University's Grounds in Charlottesville. Parking is available nearby. To schedule a group tour or receive further information regarding the Writer's Eye 2009, call the U.Va. Art Museum Education Department at 434-243-2050.

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