Monday, May 4, 2009

Arts Club of Washington Annouces Winners; Reading May 21

News from the Arts Club of Washington:

What do these two Americans have in common? Elusive, inward-looking Emily Dickinson. And the swashbuckling movie director Victor Fleming, who built idealized masculine personas for Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable.

Both are considered iconic American voices—yet they couldn’t be more different, one the epitome of feminine identity, the other the ultimate strong-but-silent male.

New biographies of each are co-winners of the National Award for Arts Writing, sponsored by the Arts Club of Washington. Authors Michael Sragow and Brenda Wineapple will split the purse, with each receiving half of the $15, 000 annual award, which honors nonfiction books on the arts notable for prose that is “lucid, luminous, clear, and inspiring—writing that creates a strong connection with arts and artists.”

The National Award for Arts Writing is relatively new, only in its third year, but is one of the largest annual book awards in the U.S. This year’s award was judged by noted book and film critic David Kipen; Linda Pastan, former Poet Laureate of Maryland; and Reynolds Price, National Book Critics Circle Award-winner and author of twenty-two novels.

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.”

Those in the Washington, DC area can come to a reading by the winners on Thursday, May 21 at 7:00 pm. Admission is free, and the event will take place at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I Street NW, Washington, DC.

The Club will begin accepting books for the 2009 Awards in June. Publishers, agents, or authors may submit books for consideration. There is no entry fee. Three copies of the book and the official entry form are required. Nominations must be postmarked by October 1, 2009. Full information can be found at:


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.