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Peery Wins Library of Virginia Award

By Betsy Hnath

Janet Peery, professor of English at Old Dominion University, has won a Library of Virginia Award.

A panel of judges selected Peery's book, "The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs: A Novel," for the Emy Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction.

Unlike other literary honors, Library of Virginia Awards aren't announced before the annual ceremony, which according to Peery adds to the thrill of winning.

"What surprised me, in addition to being named the winner, was that when my name was called I was so happy and thrilled that I forgot all about being nervous and shy, morphing, I'm told, into a chatty gadfly," Peery said. "So much for dignity. But who can be dignified at times like these. The honor is a genuine thrill."

"The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs" centers on a tightly woven, yet internally flawed family of seven, all of whom struggle with addiction.

The judges cited Perry's work as "character-driven literature by a master at the height of her power."

Peery is the author of four books of fiction and numerous short stories.

A finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction in 1996, she received the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction in 2008 and the WILLA Award for Literary Fiction the same year from Women Writing the West.

In 2002, Peery earned an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. She's received National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships and several Pushcart Prizes.

Remica Bingham-Risher, an ODU alumna and the institution's director of Quality Enhancement Plan Initiatives, was also a finalist for the Library of Virginia Poetry Award. She was nominated for her book, "Starlight & Error."

The Library of Virginia established its annual Literary Awards program in 1997 to honor Virginia writers and celebrate their contributions to the literary landscape.

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