Friday, March 30, 2007
Finalists for Arts Club Award Announced
Books on literature, music, painting finalists for inaugural prize of $15,000
The Arts Club of Washington, a non-profit organization in the nation’s capital dedicated to generating public appreciation for and participation in the arts, is pleased to announced the finalists for the inaugural National Award for Arts Writing. The Award of $15,000 is the only one of its kind dedicated to writing about the arts for a general reader. James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips (St. Martin’s Press), The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King (Walker & Company), and Steel Drivin’ Man: John Henry: The Untold Story of an American Legend by Scott Reynolds Nelson (Oxford University Press) have been forwarded to judges Alan Cheuse, Rita Dove, and Joyce Carol Oates for consideration for the $15,000 prize. The Arts Club expects to announce the winning title by mid-April and will present the Award at a dinner at the Club on Friday, May 18, 2007.
Mark W. Ohnmacht, Chair of the Award Committee of the Arts Club of Washington, said, “We are excited to be presenting these three exemplary books to the judges for consideration for the inaugural year of the National Award in Arts Writing. These very different books are vividly written, engaging, and informative explorations of the arts and artists. They accomplish beautifully our goals for the Award: To increase access to the arts and artists for a general audience. The Arts Club of Washington commends both the authors and the publishers of these important books for helping us gain a greater understanding of the arts and thereby immeasurably enriching our lives.”
The National Award in Arts Writing is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington in recognition of excellence in writing about the arts for a broad audience. The Award is given to the author of a book about any artistic discipline published in the previous year. The Club is inaugurating the Award by considering books published in 2006.
The Award is intended to help increase access to the arts. It celebrates prose that is lucid, luminous, clear and inspiring – writing that creates a strong connection with arts and artists. In general, anthologies and books for children are outside the scope of this award.
The Award of $15,000, established by long-time Arts Club member Jeannie S. Marfield in honor of Florence Berryman and Helen Wharton, is given out at an Awards Dinner, to be held at the Arts Club in the spring of each year. This year’s Award Dinner is scheduled for Friday, May 18, 2007.
About the finalists:
James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips
An exemplary biography of Alice B. Sheldon, who disguised her identity and wrote popular science fiction as James Tiptree, Jr. (St. Martin’s Press)
The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King
A gripping account of the critical decade of 1863 to 1874, focusing on two very different artists: the conservative Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier and the controversial Edouard Manet. (Walker & Co.)
Steel Drivin’ Man: John Henry: The Untold Story of an American Legend by Scott Reynolds Nelson
A fascinating social and musical history of the American work song, told through an investigation of one of its best-known songs, “John Henry.” (Oxford University Press)
About the judges:
The three judges are distinguished literary professionals. Alan Cheuse is the author of three novels, three collections of short fiction, a memoir, a pair of novellas, and a collection of essays. He is the editor of several anthologies. Cheuse serves as book commentator for NPR's evening news-magazine All Things Considered and as a member of the writing faculty at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He is a professor of creative writing at George Mason University.
Rita Dove served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, and the National Humanities Medal. She is the author of numerous collections of poetry, a novel, a collection of short fiction, a collection of essays, and a play.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award. She is the author of more than 70 books including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, and essays. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and since 1978 has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2003 she received the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature.
About the Arts Club of Washington:
The mission of the Arts Club of Washington is to generate public appreciation for and participation in the arts in the nation’s capital, through ongoing educational programs that include seminars, literary events, art exhibitions, and musical and theatrical performances. The club, founded in 1916, also is dedicated to promoting the appreciation of historic preservation through study, restoration, and the preservation of the historic James Monroe House. The Award is administered by Sarah Browning, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-331-7282 x 15.