Sunday, September 18, 2011

Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction: 1st shortlist announced

The Langum Charitable Trust, sponsor of the annual Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction, has announced a change in procedure.  They have begun a shortlist process; the first shortlist will cover novels published in January-June of the prize year, and a second list will cover novels published in July-December.

For the first half of 2011, the shortlisted titles are:

Geraldine Brooks' Caleb's Crossing, set in 1660s Martha's Vineyard and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and centering on the friendship between a minister's daughter and a young man of the Wampanoag tribe;

Susan Vreeland's Clara and Mr. Tiffany, about Clara Driscoll, Louis Comfort Tiffany's chief designer at his New York glass studio in the 1890s.

For more on both books, see the Langum Charitable Trust.  To submit a novel for consideration, view the directions available at the site.

The prize is awarded annually to the "best book in American historical fiction that is both excellent fiction and excellent history."  Recent past winners include Ann Weisgarber's The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Edward Rutherfurd's New York, and Kathleen Kent's The Heretic's Daughter.


  1. I would very much like to read Caleb's Crossing - I usually enjoy Geraldine Brooks' writing.

  2. Caleb's Crossing was an excellent book, though a little misleadingly named. I have Clara and Mr. Tiffany on my shelf to read still.

  3. I thought Caleb's Crossing was really wonderful, so was The Heretic's Daughter, haven't read Clara and Mr. Tiffany yet.

  4. I keep pulling the Vreeland off the library shelves and setting it on my desk in order to check it out after work but then keep talking myself out of it since I have Too many books already started. Must get to both of these though! This just makes me want to read it all the more.

  5. I loved Caleb's Crossing - it's one of my top reads for the year - but agree the title is misleading. The protagonist is the young woman, Bethia Mayfield, rather than Caleb.

    I've had a copy of the Vreeland for a few months (she was a speaker at the Historical Novel Society conference) but haven't gotten to it yet because of the Too Many Book problem.

  6. Oh, it is bad that I have been meaning to read both of these books but haven't even opened the first page yet? Yes, because of the too many books problem!

  7. Waaa! So many books so little time! ^_^

    Anyway, I'm glad Vreeland made it to the shortlist.

  8. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Well here we go again with CALEB'S CROSSING - another 17th century novel (a trend - the Tudors have nothing on the next 100 years). I have signed up to read Hugh Nissenson's forthcoming THE PILGRIM, set in 1620s England and New England.

    Sarah Other Librarian

  9. Let's keep the 17th-c novels coming. I've heard about The Puritan - could be good, but the subject made it sound rather austere, so I'll be curious to hear what it's like.

  10. Alana9:39 AM

    I absolutely loved Clara and Mr. Tiffany. So entertaining, and I learned so much. I'll never look at a piece of Tiffany art--glasswork, jewelry--in quite the same way again.