April 24, 2009

In Which People Who Deserve Money Get Money

Press Contact: Holly Bass, NAAW press liaison
202-518-3609 / langstondays@gmail.com


(Washington, DC) On Thursday, April 16, 2009 Michael Sragow and Brenda Wineapple were announced as joint winners of the National Award for Arts Writing, now in its third year. The authors will split the purse with each receiving $7,500. This year’s award was judged by noted book and film critic David Kipen; Linda Pastan, National Book Award winner and former Poet Laureate of Maryland; and Reynolds Price, National Book Critics Circle Award-winner and author of twenty-two novels.

The National Award for Arts Writing, sponsored by the Arts Club of Washington, gives $15,000 to an outstanding nonfiction book about the arts. This annual award is designed to recognize excellence in arts writing for a general audience and is one of the highest monetary awards for a single-author book. (The Pulitzer awards $10,000, for comparison.)

The winners will return to Washington, DC in May for an Awards Dinner and public reading. They will also speak to students at Duke Ellington School for the Arts and give radio and print interviews to the news media.

The winning books are:

Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master, by Michael Sragow (Pantheon Books)

White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, by Brenda Wineapple (Alfred A. Knopf)

On the selection of the two winners, judge David Kipen says, “The idea of the passionate but chaste Emily Dickinson on a blind date with Byronic, swashbuckling Victor Fleming, if only for one night, encompasses precisely the breadth of inspiration that these awards exist to honor.”

The Award was established by long-time Arts Club member Jeannie S. Marfield in honor of Florence Berryman and Helen Wharton. Publishers, agents, or authors may submit books for consideration. The submission for the 2009 award will begin in July 2009.

Previous winners include: Jenny Uglow in 2007 (finalists Carolyn Brown, Alex Ross, Nigel Cliff, William Jelani Cobb; judges Jamaica Kincaid, Robert Pinsky, Nancy Pearl) and in 2006, Scott Reynolds Nelson (finalists Ross King and Julie Phillips; judges Alan Cheuse, Rita Dove, Joyce Carol Oates).

To arrange an interview with the Award recipients, please contact our press liaison, Holly Bass, langstondays@gmail.com. For more about the awards and finalists, please visit the site: http://artsclubofwashington.org/award.htm. You may also contact Kim Roberts, Award Administrator at 202-331-7282 x15.

About the Arts Club of Washington:
Headquartered in the James Monroe House, a National Historic Landmark, the Arts Club of Washington was founded in 1916 and is the oldest non-profit arts organization in the city. The mission of the Arts Club of Washington is to generate public appreciation for and participation in the arts in the Nation’s capital.

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