Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winner of 2010 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction announced

The Langum Charitable Trust has just announced the winner and other highly commended novels for the 2010 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction.

Ann Weisgarber's The Personal History of Rachel DuPree (Viking), a story about a black pioneer family eking out a difficult living in the South Dakota Badlands in 1917, is this year's winner.  The prize is awarded annually to the "best book in American historical fiction that is both excellent fiction and excellent history."

I talked to Ann about her novel in 2009, before it was picked up by an American publisher, and am so pleased to see the accolades it's been receiving.

Robin Oliveira's My Name Is Mary Sutter (also Viking), another standout debut novel, was named an Honorable Mention.  Oliveira's work examines the life of a determined midwife from Albany, New York, who heads south to Washington, DC, during the Civil War to pursue her dreams of becoming a surgeon.  [My review, from Booklist, at her literary agency's website]

Director's Mentions went to Kelli Carmean for Creekside: An Archeological Novel (University of Alabama Press), a multi-period tale set on a family farm in eastern Kentucky, and Jackson Taylor for The Blue Orchard (Simon & Schuster), about a woman living through tremendous social changes in Depression-era Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to the authors and their publishers.  Also of note: one of the Director's Mentions for 2009, Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman's self-published In the Lion's Den, has been picked up by Ballantine for release this April.  The new title will be Broken Promises.


  1. All these look excellent.

  2. I read Rachel Dupree; it was okay but I never warmed up to the characters enough to really care. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy My Name is Mary Sutter.

  3. These stories sound captivating. Thanks for sharing the news. More books for my "to be read" pile. I love it.

    Jessica McCann
    Author of the novel All Different Kinds of Free

  4. Fantastic news! The Personal History of Rachel DuPree is one of my all-time favorites and holds a spot of honor on my shelf. I devoured it in just over two days - quite amazing, since I'm usually a slow reader.

  5. I loved My name is and personal history. I thought both were excellent reads and captures American history so well.

    I wish others would embrace these novels.

  6. Cool! I really liked Rachel Dupree.