The Marfield Prize

The Marfield Prize



2020 National Award for Arts Writing

The Arts Club of Washington announces the recipient for the fifteenth Marfield Prize, the National Award for Arts Writing, to Maggie Doherty for The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s (Knopf).

The Marfield Prize, sponsored by the Arts Club of Washington, recognizes the author of an outstanding nonfiction book about the arts published in 2020. This $10,000 prize is designed to highlight excellence in arts writing for a general audience.

This year the fifteenth annual Marfield Prize was judged by Alice McDermott, National Book Award finalist, and winner of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for American Literature; Terence Winch, winner of an American Book Award, and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing; and Ron Charles, book critic of The Washington Post.

Maggie Doherty will participate in a brief virtual residency that includes an interview with Poet Laureate of Maryland Grace Cavalieri, host of the Library of Congress’ podcast, The Poet and the Poem, and an online award event that will take place on the evening of June 4th, 2021.

Additional information and registration details regarding the online award event will be made available soon.

For more information, please visit

Complete list of past recipients of the award are:

  • Andrew McConnell Stott for What Blest Genius: The Jubilee That Made Shakespeare (W. W. Norton & Company: 2019)
  • Susan Orlean for The Library Book (Simon & Schuster: 2018)
  • Wendy Lesser for You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2017)
  • Rachel Corbett for You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin (W. W. Norton & Company: 2016)
  • Michael Riedel for Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway (Simon & Schuster: 2015)
  • Philip Gefter for Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe (Liveright: 2014)
  • Sherill Tippins for Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 2013)
  • Anne-Marie O’Connor for The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (Knopf: 2012)
  • Yael Tamar Lewin for Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins (Wesleyan University Press: 2011)
  • R. Tripp Evans for Grant Wood: A Life (Alfred A. Knopf: 2010)
  • Linda Gordon for Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits (W. W. Norton & Company: 2009)
  • Brenda Wineapple for White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Anchor: 2008)
  • Michael Sragow for Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master (Pantheon: 2008)
  • Jenny Uglow for Nature’s Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2007)
  • Scott Reynolds Nelson for Steel Drivin’ Man: John Henry — The Untold Story of an American Legend (Oxford University Press: 2006)



Submissions for the sixteenth annual Marfield Prize for nonfiction books about the arts published in 2021 will be accepted beginning

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021.

Full submission guidelines will be available on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021.

For questions regarding submissions please contact:

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