Awards: Chautauqua; MacDowell; CrimeFest

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Flatiron Books) has won the 2018 Chautauqua Prize, which "celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts." The winner receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for a summer residency at Chautauqua August 1-6.

Chautauqua Institution president Michael E. Hill called The Fact of a Body "a difficult and necessary book, and we are thrilled to shine a national spotlight" on it. "By bringing this book into the center of a conversation, we can learn valuable lessons from one another about healing, empathy, and bearing witness."

David A. Griffith, v-p and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education at Chautauqua Institution, said that The Fact of a Body "rivals Truman Capote's In Cold Blood in its eloquence and epic sweep, and is reminiscent of Sister Helen Prejean's Dead Man Walking in its humanization of those who most would say do not deserve it, as well as its call for readers to reconsider the justness of the death penalty. In the end, though, comparisons to other works of literature fall short because of Marzano-Lesnevich's singular willingness to examine her own conscience, and the ways that her own traumas shape her."


The MacDowell Colony is awarding cartoonist Art Spiegelman its 59th Edward MacDowell Medal, given to "an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to American culture." The presentation will be made Sunday, August 12, at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., the one day a year the Colony is open to the public.

MacDowell Colony chairman and fellow Michael Chabon said: "The increased cultural prominence of Comic Art and its once-wayward practitioners can largely be laid at the feet of a single artist: Art Spiegelman, whose work, tragic and shticky, personal and world-historical, grand and intimate, sophisticated and deceptively crude, changed the world of Spiegelman's beloved 'comix'--simply changed the world--forever."

Selection panel chair Alison Bechdel added: "Art Spiegelman is one of the most inventive, internationally celebrated, and influential living cartoonists. Over the past five decades, he has exploded the narrative, visual, and structural possibilities of comics, and in the process has also shifted the terrain of modern literature. From his early work in experimental underground comics to the canonical Maus and the boundary-breaking In the Shadow of No Towers, to his more recent work across different media, as well as his significant images for the New Yorker, Spiegelman has demonstrated a profound virtuosity in his medium, using the language of comics to forcefully portray complex historical realities."


Winners of the 2018 CrimeFest Awards in several categories were announced during CrimeFest in Bristol, England. This year's winning authors are:

Audible Sounds of Crime Award: J.P. Delaney for The Girl Before, read by Emilia Fox, Finty Williams and Lise Aagaard Knudsen
Kobo eDunnit Award: Michael Connelly for The Late Show
Last Laugh Award: Mick Herron for Spook Street
H.R.F. Keating Award: Mike Ripley for Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Best Crime Novel for Children (ages 8–12): Helena Duggan for A Place Called Perfect
Best Crime Novel for YA (ages 12–16) Patrice Lawrence for Indigo Donut

Also presented at CrimeFest was the Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which went to Malin Persson Giolito's Quicksand, translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles.

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