Shadetree Rare Books

26 South Main Street
Chatham, Virginia 24531

Local Writers

Over the years, good writers have regularly emerged from the streets and schools of Chatham (population 1400), producing notable books that have won numerous prizes in the literary world.  Two of these writers have won the Pulitzer Prize; others were nominated and did not win.

Claudia Emerson
is the winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book Late Wife.  She is a Chatham native and spent many years here as an adult and now visits her parents often.  Her three books evoke the essence of life in this region.  As a Pulitzer winner, Claudia Emerson takes her place alongside America’s best poets, including Robert Frost, Stephen Vincent Benet, Elizabeth Bishop, Carl Sandburg, Anne Sexton and Robert Penn Warren.

Claudia Emerson at book signing in Shadetree Rare Books
(2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry - Late Wife)


Ellen Bryant Voigt,
a Chatham native whose family roots run deep in this region, is the author of six collections of poetry: Shadow of Heaven (W.W. Norton & Co., 2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; Kyrie (1995) a finalist for the National Book Critic's Circle Award; Two Trees (1992); The Lotis Flowers (1987); The Forces of Plenty (1983); and Claiming Kin (1976).  She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2003.  She lives in Cabot, Vermont, and is the Vermont State Poet.

Jonathan Yardley,
whose father was rector at Chatham Hall, has long been a prominent literary critic, based in Washington.  He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1981.  Others honored with this prize include Tom Shales, Walter Kerr, Henry Allen, Michael Dirda, Ada Louise Huxtable and Harold Schonberg.  Jonathan Yardley’s book, Our Kind of People, a biography of his family, includes his years in Chatham.

Karen Hall,
who grew up on Main Street in Chatham, moved to California in 1979 and began a career in television writing and production.  Her list of television series includes Eight is Enough, M*A*S*H, Hill Street Blues, Moonlighting, Roseanne, and Grace Under Fire.  She wrote individual espisodes for Northern Exposure, I'll Fly Away, Cupid, and HBO's Maximum Security.  She has received seven Emmy Awards Nominations for individual episodes of her various television series, as well as the Prism Award in 2000 for an apisode of Judging Amy.  She is the author of a novel, Dark Debts, a supernatural thriller.


Barbara  Hall,
who was born in Chatham and grew up on North Main Street, has published seven novels, including one set in Chatham.  She has written for dozens of television shows, including Northern Exposure, Newhart, Chicago Hope and others.  She has been executive producer of Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia, for which she wrote the pilot.  A Summons to New Orleans, a novel about three women and their fateful reunion that propels each one to search her past.  A Better Place, about a girl from a small town who returns home after fourteen years.


Cary James
was born in Virginia, and grew up in Chatham.  He received degrees from the College of William and Mary, and the University of California at Berkeley.  He has published short stories, poems, and book reviews.  He is the author of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel, a photographic essay on that now-demolished building, Julia Morgan, biography of the San Francisco architect, and King & Raven, his first novel.  He lives in Mill Valley, California.

Professor William Crawley,
a Chatham native, is the author of the highly respected book, Bill Tuck: A Political Life in Harry Byrd's Virginia.  William M. Tuck was one of Virginia’s pivotal and most colorful governors.


John Hurt Whitehead,
whose family has been in Chatham for generations, has an advertising photography studio in Richmond, Virginia, and has been consistently recognized in national forums for his work.


Professor Jack Hayes,
another Chatham native, is best known for his book Dan Daniel and the Persistence of Conservatism in Virginia, his biography of Dan Daniel, a Virginia political figure for decades.  He has also written The Lamp and the Cross: A History of Averett College, 1859 - 2001.


Patricia B. Mitchell,
one of the country's most prolific writers on the cultural and historic nuances of cooking, has sold over 650,000 copies of her 57 books at museums, historic sites,  and bookstores in 49 states and internationally.


Sarah E. Mitchell's
Southern Ladies' Civil War and Antebellum Fashions 1855 – 1865  was published in May 2005.  She is also the author of Ladies' Clothing in the 1830's.  Sarah Mitchell, a life-long resident of Chatham, is working on several more books.


Henry Hurt,
a former newspaperman and editor-at-large for Reader's Digest Magazine, owns Shadetree Rare Books and is at work on a book of fiction, as well as a book about economic development in Southside Virginia.  He is a Chatham native.




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