U.Va.'s Rita Dove to Receive Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award Oct. 18

October 16, 2008 — University of Virginia English Professor Rita Dove will receive the 2008 Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award Oct. 18 at the library's 11th annual awards celebration in Richmond.
Described by the library as "one of Virginia's titans of the written word," Dove is former poet laureate of the United States and consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress — the youngest person and the first African-American to receive this highest honor in American letters. She is also former poet laureate of the commonwealth of Virginia.
A native of Akron, Ohio, Dove won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her book "Thomas and Beulah," based on her maternal grandparents. Her many other collections of poetry include "American Smooth," "Mother Love," "On the Bus with Rosa Parks," "Grace Notes," "Selected Poems" and the forthcoming "Sonata Mulattica" (due out in spring 2009). She has also published a collection of stories, "Fifth Sunday"; a novel, "Through the Ivory Gate"; a collection of her poet laureate lectures, "The Poet's World"; and a verse drama, "The Darker Face of the Earth."
Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. She holds honorary doctoral degrees from more than 20 American universities. Among her many awards are the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, the 1996 National Humanities Medal, the 1997 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award in the Literary Arts, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award and the 2006 Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service.
"Of course, I’m deeply honored by this Lifetime Achievement Award," Dove said when asked about her reaction. "It’s extremely humbling to find oneself in the company of literary giants like William Styron and the wonderful poet Anne Spencer, legendary figures like Edgar Allan Poe and Booker T. Washington, and those two dear friends who are no longer with us -- the inimitable Mary Lee Settle and my former colleague and office neighbor at U.Va., George Garrett." When asked what it feels like to be added to such an esteemed list that also includes Ellen Glasgow, Louis D. Rubin Jr., Merrill D. Peterson, William Styron and Tom Wolfe, she responded with one word: "Thrilling!"