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Award for Arts Writing


Six Finalists Announced for the 2013 Marfield Prize, National Award for Arts Writing

March 2014 – The Arts Club of Washington and the Marfield Prize Committee are please to announced the finalists for the Eighth Annual Marfield Prize, recognizing books published in 2013.

2013 Marfield Prize Finalists:

2013 Finalist Book Covers

Benita Eisler, The Red Man’s Bones: George Catlin, Artist and Showman (W.W. Norton & Company)

Witold Rybczynski, How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

John Shaw, This Land that I Love: Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, and the Story of Two American Anthems (Public Affairs)

Terry Teachout, Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington (Gotham Books)

Sherill Tippins, Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Sam Wasson, Fosse (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Marfield Prize, sponsored by the Arts Club of Washington, awards $10,000 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 published in the United States.

The winning author will be announced at the Arts Club of Washington’s Annual Monroe Dinner, held this year on April 26, 2014. The 2013 winner will travel to Washington, DC, in May for short residency, which includes an Awards Dinner and free public reading as part of the National Award for Arts Writing Lecture Series. He or she will also present to DC public high school students and give radio and print interviews to the news media.

The Marfield Prize was established by long-time Arts Club of Washington member Jeannie S. Marfield in honor of Florence Berryman and Helen Wharton.  Publishers, agents, and authors are invited to submit nonfiction books about any artistic discipline for consideration. Submissions for the 2014 Marfield Prize will open in June 2014.

The 2013 award will be judged by author and poet Grace Cavalieri, who produces “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”; Candace Katz, former deputy director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and former director of the Education Division at the National Endowment for the Humanities; and Wayne Karlin, author of seven novels, three nonfiction books, and a professor at the College of Southern Maryland.

For additional information, please contact Award Administrator Julia Mason Gray at award@artsclubofwashington.org or (202) 331-7282 x115.

2013 Finalist Biographies

Benita Eisler’s subject is the life and work of artists, and their worlds. She has written on the Romantics, Byron, Chopin, and George Sand, and is the author of a dual biography of early modernists Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. She lives in New York City.

Witold Rybczynski has written about architecture for The New YorkerThe AtlanticThe New York Times, and Slate. Among his award-winning books are HomeThe Most Beautiful House in the World, and A Clearing in the Distance, which won the J. Anthony Lukas Prize. He lives in Philadelphia.

John Shaw has written on music and theater for the L.A. Review of Books and the Chicago Reader. A talented Seattle-based musician, he has written more than 250 songs, including music and lyrics for three full-length and numerous short plays that have been produced in Seattle, Chicago, and elsewhere.

Terry Teachout is the drama critic of The Wall Street Journal and the author of Duke: A Life of Duke EllingtonPops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, and The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, opened off Broadway in March.

Sherill Tippins’ previous study of creative community, February House, was granted the LAMBDA Literary Award for Biography and was adapted as a musical for the New York Public Theater. She lives in New York City, where she is currently at work on another history of the arts.

Sam Wasson is the author of Fosse, the New York Times bestseller Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman, and two books on film. A visiting professor of film at Wesleyan University, Wasson lives in New York and Los Angeles.



A Judge’s Notebook, Grace Cavalieri, Danmurano.com, Mar 2014

A New Writing Prize in American Letters, Karren LaLonde Alenier, Scene4 Magazine, Feb 2014

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