Author urges engagement with veterans and their stories at reading
Veterans always come home with war stories. Phil Klay, a Marine and Iraq War veteran, also came home with questions.
When Chautauqua Institution was founded in 1874, it became enshrined in principles of education and self-improvement. Its founders were nine years out of the Civil War and immersed in the turbulence of Reconstruction, abolition and political unrest — but instead of using their leisure time to relax, the forefathers of Chautauqua decided to form a vacation community that nurtured intellectual stimulation.
Each year, hundreds of Chautauquans pour their time, energy and resources into various volunteer efforts on behalf of the Institution. At 5:30 p.m. this past Tuesday at the Golf Club, a volunteer recognition reception was held to honor those who have participated in the different volunteer organizations at Chautauqua.
Many would likely be personally satisfied with their book being read by 150 people, much less beating out more than 150 other books to win a literary award.
Elizabeth Scarboro is the author of My Foreign Cities, a memoir in which she recounts her life with her first husband, Stephen, who had cystic fibrosis. In just under 300 pages, Scarboro tells the story of their love and Stephen’s death, a story that spans over a decade.
Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript of Andrew Krivak’s address Sunday evening in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall.
This is truly an exceptional award. I’m so grateful. Edith Pearlman, the short story writer, says to writers, “Take the time to be brief.” I think I just want to take the time to say thank you. Thank you to Tom Becker and the entire board. Thank you to Sherra Babcock and Teresa Adams, Kristine Newman. The good folks at the Literary Arts Center. … All this generosity made this first-ever Chautauqua Prize possible.
I’m grateful for all of you tonight, for bringing me and my family to this beautiful place, and for presenting me with this award for my novel, The Sojourn. … One of the great things about being a writer is working alone in a room with words. One of the other great things, too, is when a place and its people — a place like this — know words and love words, draw you out of that room and say, “You’re not alone in your work. We understand and appreciate your words.” Again, thank you for this.
The Chautauqua Prize was presented to Andrew Krivak for The Sojourn on Sunday at a Bestor Society event, but planning for the award can be likened to the lengthy process of writing a book itself.
Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education and Youth Services, spent years meticulously planning the prize, which nationally recognizes the author and “celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience,” according to the release announcing the prize.
Thirty-six publishers nominated 65 books for the prize, and Babcock recruited 35 reviewers to narrow down the list. Each reviewer was a Chautauquan who has or had a profession related to books, Babcock said — some are professors or teachers of writing and literature, librarians, booksellers, editors, publishers or published writers.
As author of the winning book v The Sojourn, Andrew Krivak will be awarded the first-ever Chautauqua Prize at Sunday’s Bestor Society gathering in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. The Chautauqua Prize is a new national literary prize that celebrates a fiction or nonfiction piece selected by a panel of readers and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. Although the official ceremony takes place during the Bestor Society event, Krivak will read excerpts from his book at 4 p.m. Monday in Smith Wilkes Hall, followed by a book signing.