Sunday, May 15, 2011

R. Tripp Evans on Grant Wood

From the Marfield Prize National Award for Arts Writing lecture about his new biography of the American artist, at the Arts Club of Washington:
The National Award for Arts Writing, the Marfield Prize, is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to recognize excellence in writing about the arts for a broad audience. A monetary prize ($10,000 for the current year) is given to the author of a book published in the previous year about visual, performing, media, or literary arts. Intended to help increase access to the arts, the Award celebrates prose that is lucid, luminous, clear, and inspiring, and creates a strong connection with arts and artists.

It is awarded to one book published in America during the previous year, and judged by distinguished writers of fiction and poetry. It is one of the country’s largest literary prizes given to a single author and is the only one of its kind in the country.

Inaugurated in 2006, the $10,000 prize is paid through an endowment established by long-time Arts Club member Jeannie S. Marfield in honor of Florence Berryman and Helen Wharton.

2010 Winner

R. Tripp Evans, Grant Wood: A Life (Alfred A. Knopf)

The Arts Club of Washington has named R. Tripp Evans the recipient of the fifth annual National Award for Arts Writing for his biography Grant Wood: A Life. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010).

Mr. Evans is a professor of art history at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. Grant Wood: A Life examines the ways in which collective national identity emerges from the unstable ground of myth. In this case, the myth is that of a presumably all-American, homespun artist whose life and art, most famously the painting “American Gothic”, have become stubborn icons for traditional small-town American values. Evans explores the contradiction between Wood’s folksy public image as “America’s Painter” and the realities of his European training, sophisticated use of art-historical sources, complex family relationships and closeted homosexuality.

Yunte Huang, Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History (W. W. Norton & Company)

Jamie MacVicar, The Advance Man (Bear Manor Media)

Sara Marcus, Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot GRRRL Revolution (Harper Perennial)

Michael Martone, professor of English and director, Creative Writing Program, University of Alabama; E. Ethelbert Miller, poet; Katherine Neville, novelist

Submitting Books for Consideration
To be eligible for the next award cycle, books must be written in English and originally published in the United States in 2011. Only non-fiction books by single, living authors will be considered. Anthologies, works of poetry and fiction, and books for children are not eligible. Manuscripts, monographs, and self-published books are also outside the scope of this award. Books may be memoirs, criticism, biographies, or histories, on the subject of any artistic discipline: visual (including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, crafts, architecture), performing (including theater, music, and dance), literary (including poetry, fiction, storytelling, and playwriting), and media (including film and video, computer-generated arts, and new forms).

Publishers, agents, or authors may submit books for consideration. There is no fee to enter. Three copies of a book, plus the required entry form, should be submitted between July 1 and our deadline of October 1, 2011. Galleys are acceptable for books scheduled to be published in the final two months of the year. Please do not include promotional materials. All submitted material becomes the property of the Arts Club and will not be returned. Entry forms will be available for download here later this spring.
You can buy the book from here: