Sweet Briar professor’s critically acclaimed novel a finalist for People’s Choice Award

May 18, 2017 | Janika Carey
Carrie Brown

Carrie Brown is one of five finalists for the 2017 People’s Choice Award.

Margaret Banister Writer-in-Residence Carrie Brown’s latest novel “The Stargazer’s Sister” is one of five finalists in the running for the Library of Virginia’s 14th Annual People’s Choice Awards.

The People’s Choice winners in the fiction and nonfiction categories are selected by readers through a secure online voting portal on the library’s website. The winners will be recognized on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the 20th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration presented by Dominion Energy. Each winner will receive an engraved crystal book and a monetary prize of $2,500.

To cast your vote, click here. Online voting ends July 15. For awards ceremony ticket information, click here.

Other nominees in the fiction category are John Grisham (“The Whistler”), Jane Alison (“Nine Island”), Kathleen Grissom (“Glory Over Everything”) and Elizabeth Poliner (“As Close to Us as Breathing”), according to a press release from the Library of Virginia.

Widely acclaimed by critics, “The Stargazer’s Sister” is a historical novel based on the life of Caroline Herschel, sister of the great astronomer William Herschel and an astronomer in her own right.

“Wisely, sometimes brilliantly, Brown skips over much of the familiar material, instead training her gaze on the blanks in the record and emphasizing experiences a biographer might scant,” writes Andrea Barrett in the Washington Post. “In the process, she avoids casting Herschel as a feminist heroine whose contributions were unjustly suppressed. Her Lina (as William called her) is not a historical personage but a sympathetic fictional character.”

Caroline Leavitt, in The Boston Globe, calls Brown’s writing “as luminous as the skies her characters contemplate.”

The Stargazer's Sister by Carrie Brown“The Stargazer’s Sister” is Brown’s seventh novel. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards for her work, and her short stories and essays have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals. Read more at authorcarriebrown.com.

The People’s Choice Awards were established in 2004 to give readers an opportunity to share their enthusiasm for favorite works by Virginia authors. An independent panel of judges selects finalists for the awards from the books nominated for the annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards.

This year, both Carrie and her husband, John Gregory Brown, are nominated for the literary awards, a separate prize from the People’s Choice award. John Gregory is the Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English and chair of the creative writing program at Sweet Briar; his nominated novel is “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere.”

Carrie has twice received the Library of Virginia’s award for fiction — for her novels “The Hatbox Baby” and “Confinement” — and also has been a finalist for the prize twice before, once for her collection of short stories, “The House on Belle Isle,” and again for her novel “The Last First Day.”

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