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The Algerian novelist and filmmaker Assia Djebar has passed away at the age of 78. A perennial Nobel contender, Djebar was the first Algerian, and only the fifth woman, to be voted into the Académie Française, France's most prestigious literary institution. As the publishers of her novel Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, we can testify to the never-flagging fascination with this pioneering artist.

To celebrate Black History Month, we are turning to an under-reported but historically and aesthetically rich story—the African American architectural heritage in Virginia. Some sites are notable for being designed by African Americans; others for the roles they played in black history, from Booker T. Washington's birthplace to Moton High School, scene of a student strike that led to Brown v. Board of Education. Following are entries from the just-published Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest by Anne Carter Lee and a team of coauthors.

Ford Madox Ford said, "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you." Tom Chaffin, author of Giant's Causeway: Frederick Douglass's Irish Oddysey and the Making of an American Visionary, was invited to put his book to the test.

The arrival of winter isn't enough to shut down D.C. outdoors expert Melanie Choukas-Bradley. On February 1, the author of A Year in Rock Creek Park: The Wild, Wooded Heart of Washington, D.C. will be leading the first of several nature hikes in the nation's capital. She will also be doing several book talks in the D.C. area during February. Details for all of this activity may be found on the events page of her web site. UPDATE: On March 2, Choukas-Bradley will have a book event co-sponsored by Politics & Prose and Busboys & Poets. Details are here.

Turk McCleskey will be appearing at Mount Vernon on Thursday, January 8, to discuss his book The Road to Black Ned's Forge: A Story of Race, Sex, and Trade on the Colonial American Frontier. The event is free to the public. Event details and registration are available on the Mount Vernon web site.

Chronicling one of the great personal journeys of the nineteenth century, Tom Chaffin's new book Giant's Causeway: Frederick Douglass's Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary is the most penetrating look yet at Douglass's lecture tour of the British Isles and how it changed the great abolitionist's thinking and his life. Joan Walsh has written an uncommonly insightful review of the book for Salon. (The piece has also been posted to the Chicago Sun Times site.) Walsh praises Chaffin's book as a "vivid social and intellectual history" that illuminates Douglass's feelings about Irish issues that in turn shed invaluable light for him on human rights. She adds that she wishes she'd had a history like Chaffin's to consult when she was writing her own, best-selling book. Tom Chaffin will be lecturing and signing books at the Atlanta History Center on February 18. He has just published a piece on Douglass on the Irish Times web site.

Stephen Nash appeared on WLJA's NewsTalk to talk about his new book Virginia Climate Fever: How Global Warming Will Transform Our Cities Shorelines, and Forests. The generous amount of time allowed Nash to move past sound bytes and explain his book's urgent message.

There are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than at the Natural History Museum in Washington, and on December 7, author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley and photographer Susan Austin Roth will be at the museum to sign copies of their new book, A Year in Rock Creek Park: The Wild Wooded Heart of Washington D.C. A few days later, on December 11, Choukas-Bradley and Roth will give a presentation on the book at the Woodend Sanctuary of the Audubon Naturalist Society.

When a theme of University Press Week turned out to be “collaboration,” we naturally thought of Chasing Shadows, a publication that originated in the research done at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and would go on to involve not only the print side of the UVa Press but its electronic imprint, Rotunda.

The Emancipation Proclamation strikes us now as not only necessary but one of the most inevitable acts in American history. In his new book, Lincoln's Dilemma: Blair, Sumner, and the Republican Struggle over Racism and Equality in the Civil War Era, historian Paul Escott shows that emancipation was no foregone conclusion and was a balancing act among many interests. In other words, it was politics. Professor Escott agreed to answer a few questions about this pivotal chapter in American history

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