Awards: Chautauqua and Gotham Book Winners

Tananarive Due won the 2024 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," for her novel The Reformatory (S&S/Saga Press). The winner receives $7,500 and will be presented with the award during a celebratory event and public reading on August 19. 

"The Reformatory is a novel that deserves to be celebrated by enthusiasts of literary, historical, cultural, and mainstream circles alike," said Chautauqua Institution president Michael E. Hill. "With eloquence, poignancy, and great care, Tananarive Due has crafted a book that thrills, enchants and haunts you. What is truly remarkable about the work is how it expands the horror novel's audience, welcoming new readers to the genre with her accessible--even addicting--prose. This means as many people as possible can engage in the act of collective remembering, ensuring that stories such as these will not be forgotten."

Kwame Alexander, the Michael I. Rudell artistic director of literary arts and inaugural writer-in-residence at Chautauqua, praised The Reformatory as "a touching, heartbreaking, and tragically powerful story about a horrific episode in American history. Truly magical, this novel will bring about the kinds of honest conversation that will haunt and heal readers at Chautauqua and beyond." 

Guest judge Victoria Christopher Murray called the novel "engrossing and heart-stopping, a work that refuses to be stupefied by the cruelty it addresses in both history and justice. The Reformatory is masterful storytelling, Tananarive Due at her best"; while Phil Klay said Due "evokes not simply historical horror but also the subtle ways in which humans acclimate to horror, become complicit, or begin to struggle against it. And because of that, because the characters are so rich, so finely drawn, there's an incredible power the novel gathers as it moves forward. I could not put the book down." 


Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday) has won the $50,000 Gotham Book Prize, awarded to the author of "the best book set in or about New York City" and founded in 2020 by Bradley Tusk, founder P&T Knitwear bookstore in Manhattan, and Howard Wolfson, who heads the education program for Bloomberg Philanthropies and runs former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Super PAC. The award was presented last night at the Queens Public Library's annual gala.

Tusk and Wolfson commented: "New Yorkers are lucky that a writer as talented as Colson Whitehead has turned his sights again to New York City. Crook Manifesto's New York of the 1970s is the tale of one city dying and a new one being born from its ashes. We started the Gotham Book Prize precisely to recognize works like this that capture the city in all of its energetic complexity."

Whitehead said, "Crook Manifesto is a portrait of a man, but also his city. Capturing the dynamism of my hometown and its crazy citizens is at the heart of the project, so I can't express how lovely it is for the book to be recognized by the Gotham Book Prize."

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