Arts Writing Winners Named

Brenda Wineapple's "White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson" and Michael Sragow's "Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master" have won this year's National Award for Arts Writing. Wineapple and Sragow will split the $15,000 award, which is sponsored by the Arts Club of Washington.

The other finalists were "The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Hans van Meegeren," by Jonathan Lopez, and "Carolina Clay: The Life and Legend of the Slave Potter Dave," by Leonard Todd.

Poet Linda Pastan, novelist Reynolds Price and David Kipen of the National Endowment for the Arts did the judging. "The idea of the passionate but chaste Emily Dickinson on a blind date with Byronic, swashbuckling Victor Fleming," Kipen noted, "encompasses precisely the breadth of inspiration that these awards exist to honor."

The idea behind the three-year-old prize is to recognize excellent books on the arts that are accessible to general readers. (You can check out earlier winners here and here.) In May, Sragow and Wineapple will give a public reading in Washington and speak to students at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts.

- Bob Thompson

By Ron Charles |  April 16, 2009; 5:31 PM ET Awards
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