Barbara Lockhart has written multiple award-winning works, including a historical novel chronicling the struggles of a free black woman who lived on her property some 150 years ago
Eastern Shore author Barbara Lockhart loved to write from the time she was a young girl. She began writing seriously while pursuing her career as a kindergarten teacher and earning an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College, where she began work on her first novel, Requiem for a Summer Cottage.
Since 2013, Lockhart has published a historical novel, Elizabeth’s Field, and her third children’s book, Mosey’s Field. The novel tells the story about the free black population living on Maryland’s Eastern Shore during the 1850s. The title character is a free black woman who struggles to hold on to her land while becoming part of the Underground Railroad.
Her minister, Sam Green, is also an agent who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for reading a copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a case that won national attention. Meanwhile, as Mattie, a present-day farm worker, searches for answers about her ancestors, the connection between the societal and agricultural changes that have occurred on Elizabeth’s field over 150 years is explored.
“The boundaries on my farm were being challenged, and as I researched the deeds, I came across the name ‘Elizabeth Burton, free negress,’” Lockhart said. “I knew there was a story there, and so began nine years of research.”
Creativity runs in the Lockhart family. Barbara is also the mother of prominent regional artist Lynne Lockhart, who did the cover for Elizabeth’s Field, as well as the illustrations for two of her mom’s children’s books, Rambling Raft and Once a Pony Time. Barbara’s son, Paul Lockhart, is an accomplished sculptor who created the iconic white marlin sculpture that welcomes visitors to Ocean City every day.
Her new children’s book, Mosey’s Field, is about an amiable farm dog looking for his usual napping place in the middle of a field. The story also serves as a teaching instrument for children about the production of corn, with Eastern Shore scenes that range from planting to harvest, beautifully illustrated by Heather Crow.
Over the past two decades, Lockhart has penned a variety of fiction and is the recipient of two Individual Artist Awards in Fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council for her novels-in-progress and her short stories. For Elizabeth’s Field, Lockhart also received a silver medal in this year’s Independent Publisher Book Awards for Regional Fiction.
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