Vermont College of Fine Arts Establishes Vermont Book Award | Live Culture
Pin It

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Vermont College of Fine Arts Establishes Vermont Book Award

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 4:20 PM

click to enlarge © STOKATO | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • © Stokato |
Vermont writers have a new incentive to hunker down and create their masterpiece. The Vermont College of Fine Arts has just announced the creation of the Vermont Book Award, a $5,000 prize intended to honor excellent writing that makes the most of its Vermont ties.

The prize is open to writing of several kinds — poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and children’s literature — and to works that take place in Vermont, is published by a Vermont press, or is written by a Vermont author. (Sorry, self-published authors: Your works are not eligible.) Any book published between January and December 2014 is eligible for the inaugural 2015 prize.

Nominations for the Vermont Book Award may be made either by local publishers or by a committee formed by members of the group Independent Booksellers of Vermont.

Though the judges for the award committee have not yet been named, VCFA asserts that the prize, awarded to a single book, will be given this summer. VCFA president Thomas Christopher Greene, the author of several novels, is confident that the school “will have no trouble identifying really good people from the very big Vermont literary community.”

Greene, in a phone conversation with Seven Days, says that the idea for the award came to him when he thought about the awards season represented by the Oscars and Golden Globes. It got him thinking that, while other states have literary awards, Vermont did not. “Vermont has such a storied literary culture that it seemed like an oversight,” he says. “We decided to explore it to see if it was something that VCFA could take the lead and deliver on, and we decided that we could.”

Greene says an acquaintance recently asked him if he saw VCFA as having a role in the culture of the state, or if he viewed it as a school that happens to be located in Vermont. “That got me thinking about what we could do … to give something back,” he says.

The participation of the state’s independent bookstores, which Greene calls “the hallmark of a healthy community,” makes the prize somewhat unusual. The nominating committee consists of representatives from 13 indie bookstores from all over the state, from Bartleby’s Books and Music in Wilmington to Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls to Phoenix Books’ two stores in Burlington and Essex.

Lin Stone, managing editor of Shelburne’s Wind Ridge Books of Vermont, says that, upon learning of the award, she and her colleagues “are just jumping up and down. We think it’s an affirmation of the talent and the value of writers in Vermont,” she says. “We’re all just gleeful.”

Stone reports that Wind Ridge has already begun compiling a list of nominees from its catalogue; most of the publisher’s books are written by Vermonters, are about Vermont or both.

“This initiative gives all the more power to us, the writers of Vermont,” Stone says. “This prize is just heavenly.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

Related Locations

About The Author

Ethan de Seife

Ethan de Seife

Ethan de Seife was an arts writer at Seven Days from 2013 to 2016. He is the author of Tashlinesque: The Hollywood Comedies of Frank Tashlin, published in 2012 by Wesleyan University Press.

More by Ethan de Seife


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

More on Books

Latest in Live Culture

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2017 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation