The Marfield Prize, also known as the National Award for Arts Writing, is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to nonfiction books about the arts written for a broad audience. Intended to help increase access to the arts, the Prize celebrates prose that is lucid, luminous, clear, and inspiring—writing that creates a strong connection with arts and artists.
The prize of $10,000—the only one of its kind in the country—honors nonfiction books first published in the U.S., by a single author who is living at the time of the book’s nomination. The winning author is invited to Washington, DC, for a short residency in May 2017, including an awards ceremony, a presentation to a DC public high school, an interview, and a public reading at the Arts Club of Washington. Expenses are paid by the club.
Judging is by a distinguished, independent panel of writers. The judges in the past have included: Remica L. Bingham-Risher, Sophy Burnham, Grace Cavalieri, Alan Cheuse, Robert Aubry Davis, Rita Dove, Richard Ford, Marita Golden, Wayne Karlin, Candace Katz, Jamaica Kincaid, David Kipen, Ted Libbey, E. Ethelbert Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, Alan Michael Parker, Linda Pastan, Molly Peacock, Nancy Pearl, Robert Pinsky, Reynolds Price, and Ira Silverberg.
First given in 2006, the prize’s endowment was established by long-time Arts Club member Jeannie S. Marfield in honor of Florence Berryman and Helen Wharton.
Books must be nonfiction titles written in English by a single, living author, originally published in the United States in 2016. Books may be about any artistic discipline (visual, literary, performing, or media arts, as well as cross-disciplinary works). We seek art history and criticism, biographies and memoirs, and essays.
Anthologies, creative works of fiction or poetry, books for children, exhibition catalogs, and self-published books are not eligible.
Books scheduled to be published between the deadline of October 1 and December 31, 2016 may be sent in galley form. Please do not include promotional materials. All submitted material becomes the property of the Arts Club of Washington and will not be returned.
To submit a book for consideration:
Publishers, agents, or authors may submit books for consideration. There is no entry fee. Three copies of the book should be submitted with the 2016 Marfield Prize Submission Form.
Nominations must be received by October 1, 2016.
Mail entries to:
Sass Brown, Award Administrator
The 2016 Marfield Prize/National Award for Arts Writing
Arts Club of Washington
2017 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20006-1804
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