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Art In Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award

ART IN LITERATURE: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award recognizes an outstanding book that is written primarily in response to a work (or works) of art while also showing the highest literary quality as a creative or scholarly work on its own merit. This unique award is cosponsored by two prestigious Virginia cultural institutions, the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The award is named for journalist Mary Lynn Kotz, author of the award-winning biography Rauschenberg, A Life. For years, Kotz has spoken publically and passionately to arts and literary organizations and general audiences about the need for clear, exciting writing about art.

The Art in Literature Award was launched in 2012 under the auspices of a distinguished Founding Committee: Katherine Neville, Chair (Board, Smithsonian Libraries); Alex Nyerges (Director, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts); Karl H. Pribram, MD (Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University); Clarice Smith (Board, Smithsonian American Art Museum); Lindley Smith, MD (Board, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts), and Sandra G. Treadway (Librarian of Virginia).

Works eligible for submission for the award must be published for the first time in English in the U.S. in the calendar year before the award is presented. New editions of previously published works are eligible for consideration if the new edition contains a substantial amount of new material. The topic of the book submitted must be the visual arts, including but not limited to painting, carving, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, glass, and the artists or milieu of such works—but excluding such arts as dramatic and performance arts, music, literature, and interactive or computer art. Categories of acceptable work include: fiction, journalism, poetry, history, biography, art history, social history of art, catalogs of qualified museum exhibitions, and young adult books.

The 2016 winner of the Art in Literature Award is Portraits at an Exhibition by Patrick Horrigan. Horrigan was recognized at a special event at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Friday, October 14, 2016 and on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at the Library of Virginia’s 19th annual Virginia Literary Awards Gala.

A list of past finalists and winners can be viewed on the Literary Awards website.

Nominations for the 2017 Art in Literature: Mary Lynn Kotz Award are now closed. The winner and finalists will be announced in late summer. Please mark your calendar for the Art in Literature: Mary Lynn Kotz Award event on October 13, 2017!