Monday, March 29, 2021

Winner and finalist for the 2020 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction

An announcement of the winner and finalist for the 2020 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction just dropped into my inbox, and here are the details:

The winner is The Cold Millions by Jess Walter (Harper, 2020), set in the early 20th century.  From the selection committee's commendation:

"Jess Walter’s The Cold Millions is a novel of the burgeoning Pacific Northwest that presents history through an engaging storytelling voice brimming with both humor and pathos.... The history of this period of labor unrest is woven seamlessly into the plotting, allowing The Cold Millions to illuminate an era that is often overlooked. Walter’s characterization and multiple narrative perspectives, from Pinkertons to burlesques, add even more color to an already vibrant portrayal of the tramp lifestyle amid the industrialization of the Pacific Northwest. The result is an entertaining and riveting read."

And the finalist for 2020 is The Book of Lost Light by Ron Nyren (Black Lawrence Press).  From the commendation:

"Set in San Francisco and surrounding areas at the turn of the 19th century, this novel portrays the activities of an eccentric tiny family.... The prose is engaging and the descriptive passages illuminative. We read a vivid description of the San Francisco earthquake and its effects on the everyday citizenry of San Francisco. There is much here on the history of photography. There is considerable discussion of [Eadweard] Muybridge and his and other early photographers’ work, and this gives the reader a good sense of the period and a feel for technological innovation in photography during this period. The book feels fresh."

Congratulations to both authors!

The Langum Prize celebrates the "best book in American historical fiction that is both excellent fiction and excellent history."  For more information, please see the Langum Foundation website.

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