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  • Writer's pictureMeredith Baker

Coming Up...A Virginia Humanities Fellowship!

I'm honored to be a 2021 Virginia Humanities Fellow. Maybe even a little giddy. To understand why, it helps to understand what a cultural and educational force the Virginia Humanities is. Besides supporting scholarship on Virginia studies, they organize the wonderful, sprawling Virginia Festival of the Book, and host Virginia Folklife apprenticeships (think banjo making, river navigation, and Ethiopian coffee ceremony). If you teach history, they've got you covered. The hosts of the legendary Backstory podcast, their new endeavor is With Good Reason, one of my favorite podcasts, and run Encyclopedia Virginia, your one-stop source on Virginia history topics. They're also on the forefront of grappling with the legacies of slavery in Virginia, through initiatives like #UnmaskingCville and Changing the Narrative--programs and resources to promote racial healing in our state.

I learned about the fellowship from James River Writer friends Kristen Green and Karen A. Chase, both former fellows. Following in their footsteps, I'll be a writer in residence at the Library of Virginia. I can't wait to get into the archives, and because I will have an office, I won't even need to cram all my bags and coat into those little coin locker thingies. That's a serious perk right there. What will I be researching? Well, a clue is that I'll be spending a lot of time in the files of the Garden Club of Virginia...

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