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Category: Writers

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Mississippi Author Jesmyn Ward: Winner of the 2022 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that the 2022 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction will be awarded to Jesmyn Ward. The 45-year-old Mississippian is the two-time winner of the National Book Award for the novels "Salvage the Bones" and "Sing, Unburied, Sing" among other major literary awards.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

George Chauncey, Kluge Winner

Posted by: Brett Zongker

Historian George Chauncey, whose work has focused on LGBTQ issues for four decades, is the 2022 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity. The Kluge Prize awards $500,000 to scholars for distinguished work in fields outside those covered by the Nobel Prize. Previous winners include political historian Danielle Allen, philosopher Jurgen Habermas, former president of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and John Hope Franklin, the renowned scholar of African American history.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Researcher Story: Elizabeth D. Leonard

Posted by: Wendi Maloney

Civil War historian Elizabeth Leonard has written a number of books about the role of women on the battlefield and the social and political reverberations of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. She's researched those books, including her soon-to-be-published title, “Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life,” in the Library’s Manuscript Division. 

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

New from Library’s Crime Classics: “The Conjure-Man Dies”

Posted by: Neely Tucker

The Library’s acclaimed Crime Classic series is launching a new edition of “The Conjure-Man Dies” this month, a staple of the Harlem Renaissance and the most important work of long-overlooked novelist Rudolph Fisher. First published in 1932, the book was the first full-length mystery novel to feature an all-Black cast of characters, including detectives, suspects and victims.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

The (Very Polite) Letters Behind “Double Indemnity”

Posted by: Neely Tucker

“Double Indemnity” is one of Hollywood’s classic films, the standard-bearer for noir cinema and a career highlight for stars Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. The Library has a fascinating exchange of letters between the “Double” stars and novelist James M. Cain, whose book was the basis for the film. The letters give us a glimpse into Hollywood history, how scandalous the movie was at the time and at the manners of a bygone era. It’s almost impossible to imagine this exchange taking place today.