Author Archives: Nathan Petrie

Crystal Wilkinson Named Finalist for 2019 Dos Passos Prize

Crystal WilkinsonThe University Press of Kentucky is pleased to announce that Crystal Wilkinson, author of the award-winning The Birds of Opulence, has been named a finalist for the 2019 John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, an annual award that recognizes one of America’s most talented but underappreciated writers.

The John Dos Passos Prize for Literature is given annually by Longwood University to an underappreciated writer whose work offers incisive, original commentary on American themes. The winner of the prize receives an honorarium and gives a reading on Longwood’s campus.

Previous winners of the prize have gone on to win the most prestigious international literary awards, including Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards. They include Colson Whitehead, Sherman Alexie, Jill McCorkle, Tom Wolfe, and Annie Proulx.

Crystal Wilkinson is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in the Oxford American and Southern Cultures.

The six finalists are a diverse group of celebrated authors whose published works traverse genre and defy expectations. Their exceptional works are taught in college classrooms across the country.

“This is such an accomplished, innovative group of authors, and we are thrilled to honor them as finalists for the oldest literary award given by a Virginia college or university,” said Brandon Haffner, assistant professor of English at Longwood. “We have the difficult task of selecting one of them as the Dos Passos Prize recipient this fall, and the winner will join an impressive list of some of America’s most celebrated authors. These finalists represent various styles, subjects, and places, but all six of them explore crucial truths about the American experience.”

The finalists with selected works are:

Rabih Alameddine, The Angel of History; An Unnecessary Woman

Sesshu Foster, World Ball Notebook; Atomik Aztek

Linda Hogan, Mean Spirit; People of the Whale

Victor LaValle, The Changeling; The Ballad of Black Tom

Kelly Link, Get in Trouble; Magic for Beginners

Crystal Wilkinson, The Birds of Opulence; Water Street

The prize winner will be announced in August 2019.

Giveaway Spotlight – DECISION IN THE ATLANTIC

Faulkner Cover

We’re giving a book away this week! One lucky reader will win a book of their choice, choosing from seven of our newest titles. From now until Sunday, July 21, we will spotlight one of the books up for grabs on our blog. Answer our questions on social media, and you’ll be entered into the drawing! For more details on the giveaway, CLICK HERE

Today’s feature title is Decision in the Atlantic: The Allies and the Longest Campaign of the Second World War. The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest campaign of the Second World War. This volume highlights the scale and complexity of this bitterly contested campaign that encompassed far more than just attacks by German U-boats on Allied shipping. The team of leading scholars assembled in this study situates the German assault on seaborne trade within the wider Allied war effort and provides a new understanding of its place within the Second World War.

When we have to choose which essay collections to read, we usually skim the introduction. So we cut the first few pages out and stuck them on our blog for your perusal. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your chance to win Decision in the Atlantic: The Allies and the Longest Campaign of the Second World War or one of our other six books up for grabs this week. Click here for full giveaway details.

Continue reading

Giveaway Spotlight – BIPLANES AT WAR

Johnson CoverWe’re giving a book away this week! One lucky reader will win a book of their choice, choosing from seven of our newest titles. From now until Sunday, July 21, we will spotlight one of the books up for grabs on our blog. Answer our questions in the comments or on social media, and you’ll be entered into the drawing! For more details on the giveaway, CLICK HERE

Today’s feature title is Biplanes at War: US Marine Corps Aviation in the Small Wars Era, 1915-1934. Unlike the relative uniformity of conventional warfare, small wars prevent a clear definition of rules and roles for military forces to follow. During the small wars era, the US military had only recently begun battling in the skies but recognized the unique value and flexibility of aviation. This book provides a riveting history of the Marines’ use of biplanes between the world wars in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, China, and Nicaragua and chronicles how the Marines used aircraft to provide supporting fire to ground troops, to evacuate the wounded, to transport cargo, and even to support democratic elections. Biplanes at War sheds light on how the Marines pioneered roles that have become commonplace for air forces today, an accomplishment that has largely gone unrecognized in mainstream histories of aviation.


Apart from their military and transportation usefulness, airplanes are also pretty cool to look at. We hope you enjoy this slideshow of early biplanes featured in the book!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


If you had to hop in one of these planes right now and fly across the Atlantic, would you trust them? Which of the planes above would you trust the most? Let us know in the comments and you’ll be entered to win Biplanes at War: US Marine Corps Aviation in the Small Wars Era, 1915-1934 or another book of your choice from seven of our newest titles.

CLICK HERE for giveaway details

CLICK HERE to learn more or to order Biplanes at War: US Marine Corps Aviation in the Small Wars Era, 1915-1934

Giveaway Spotlight – OLIVIDA DE HAVILLAND

Olivia de Havlland

We’re giving a book away this week! One lucky reader will win a book of their choice, choosing from seven of our newest titles. From now until Sunday, July 21, we will spotlight one of the books up for grabs on our blog. Answer our questions in the comments or on social media, and you’ll be entered into the drawing! For more details on the giveaway, CLICK HERE

Today’s feature title is Olivia de Havilland: Lady Triumphant. Legendary actress and two-time Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland, best known for her role as Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939), portrayed elegant and refined characters. At the same time, de Havilland herself was a survivor with a fierce desire to direct her own destiny on and off the screen. She fought and won a lawsuit against Warner Bros. over a contract dispute that changed the studio contract system forever. From her iconic romance with James Stewart to her unending feud with Joan Fontaine, this work offers unprecedented access to the world behind the Hollywood screen and is a tribute to  one of Hollywood’s greatest legends.

Author Victoria Amador corresponded with de Havilland for forty years! They even met multiple times in the actress’s Paris home. We hope you’ll enjoy the story of how these two met, shared by the author below from the book’s introduction.

Continue reading

Giveaway Spotlight – LANDPOWER IN THE LONG WAR

Landpower Cover

We’re giving a book away this week! One lucky reader will win a book of their choice, choosing from seven of our newest titles. From now until Sunday, July 21, we will spotlight one of the books up for grabs on our blog. Answer our questions in the comments or on social media, and you’ll be entered into the drawing! For more details on the giveaway, CLICK HERE

Today’s feature title is Landpower in the Long War: Projecting Force After 9/11 edited by Jason W. Warren. After fourteen years of war in the Middle East with dubious results, a diminished national reputation, and a continuing drawdown of troops, the role of landpower in US grand strategy must evolve with changing geopolitical situations, moving beyond the limited operational definition offered by Army doctrine.

In the book’s forward, historian and retired Lieutenant General Daniel P. Bolger explores the significance of this study. Take a look.

Continue reading

Giveaway Spotlight – FISHING THE JUMPS: A NOVEL

Herrin CoverWe’re giving a book away this week! One lucky reader will win a book of their choice, choosing from seven of our newest titles. From now until Sunday, July 21, we will spotlight one of the books up for grabs on our blog. Answer our questions in the comments or on social media, and you’ll be entered into the drawing! For more details on the giveaway, CLICK HERE

Today’s featured title is award-winning author Lamar Herrin’s latest novel, Fishing the Jumps. In this work, Lamar Herrin explores the kaleidoscopic effect of memory while examining the rise and fall of life in the South. Set during a weekend fishing trip, two middle-aged friends sip Jim Beam and share stories as the past and present meld to reveal that what happens in the past rarely stays there.

We love this book , and we think you will too. So today, we want to share the opening couple pages with you. Enjoy!

Continue reading

Giveaway Spotlight – RIDLEY SCOTT: A BIOGRAPHY

Ridley Scott Cover

We’re giving a book away this week! One lucky reader will win a book of their choice, choosing from seven of our newest titles. From now until Sunday, July 21, we will spotlight one of the books up for grabs on our blog. Answer our questions in the comments or on social media, and you’ll be entered into the drawing! For more details on the giveaway, CLICK HERE

Today’s feature title is Vincent LoBrutto’s Ridley Scott: A Biography. The first biography of the acclaimed director of films such as Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Thelma and Louise, and The Martian, this work combines critical readings of Scott’s films with intimate details around his life and vision.

We sat down with the author and got into the details.

Continue reading