Kevin J. Hayes has won the $50,000 George Washington Prize, recognizing the best new books about "the nation's founding era," for George Washington: A Life in Books (Oxford University Press).
The prize organizers, including George Washington's Mount Vernon, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Washington College, called George Washington: A Life in Books "an intellectual biography of Washington that should permanently dispel popular misconceptions of America's leading Founding Father as a man of all action and no ideas. Washington scholars have long known that he owned an impressive library of more than 1,300 volumes. Hayes has gone further by meticulously paging through Washington's surviving books held at the Boston Athenaeum, the Washington Library at Mount Vernon, and other collections, as well as nearly 900 pages of Washington's notes on his reading, to create a portrait of him as a reader. By closely examining Washington's notes, Hayes has uncovered an intellectual curiosity that dozens of previous biographers have missed. As a young man, Washington read popular serials such as Gentleman's Magazine and The Spectator, which helps to bridge the long-imagined gap between him and his learned contemporaries like Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams."
Hayes will receive the award on May 23 at a gala at Mount Vernon.
Martín Espada has won the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors "a living U.S. poet for outstanding lifetime achievement." The award is sponsored and administered by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, and will be presented June 11 at a ceremony at the Poetry Foundation. Espada is, the Poetry Foundation said, the first Latino poet to win the award, which was founded in 1986.
Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine, said, "Martín Espada's work and life tell the real and lived story of America, in which the importance of poems and legal rights go hand in hand. A tenants' rights attorney before he became a celebrated and cherished poet, Espada's passions are as compelling and apt as his precisions--both now more timely than ever."
Sponsored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, the 2018 Christian Book Awards includes winners in 11 categories as well as Christian Book of the Year, which went to Jesus Always by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson). The winners can be seen here.
The shortlist for the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award, given to the best science fiction novel of the year, appears below. The winner will be announced on July 18 at the Foyles flagship bookshop in London and receive £2018 (about $2,740).
Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock
American War by Omar El Akkad
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař
Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer