2015 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

Winner

Anna Whitelock, The Queen's Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court (Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux )

The PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography is awarded for excellence in the art of biography. This prize of $5,000 will go to the author of a distinguished work published in the United States during the previous calendar year. The winning title should be a work of exceptional literary, narrative and artistic merit, based on scrupulous research.

From the Judges' Citation

The Queen's Bed is both a fascinating biography of one of the most powerful women in history and a spectacular portrait of an era. Full of remarkable information and rich, colorful details, Anna Whitelock's lively text enables us to envision everyday existence in England before and during the rule of Elizabeth I, to grasp the battles between the Protestant and Catholic hierarchies, and to understand the rugged realities as well as the unfathomable glamour of being the crowned head of state. For all of the portraits already written of her, this spellbinding biography adds immeasurably to our sense of Elizabeth as a human being and to the complex milieu in which she presided during this period of some of the greatest achievements of the British Isles. We commend Anna Whitelock for a narrative that is perpetually engaging, fluid, and light in tone while profound in its depth."

Shortlist

Rebel Yell (Scribner), S. C. Gwynne
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace (Scribner), Jeff Hobbs
Strange Glory (Alfred A. Knopf), Charles Marsh
The Queen's Bed (Sarah Crichton Books), Anna Whitelock
Piero's Light (Pegasus Books), Larry Witham

Longlist

Updike (Harper), Adam Begley
Isabella (Nan A. Talese), Kirstin Downey
Rebel Yell (Scribner), S. C. Gwynne
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace (Scribner), Jeff Hobbs
John Quincy Adams (Harper), Fred Kaplan
Strange Glory (Alfred A. Knopf), Charles Marsh
Becoming Richard Pryor (Harper), Scott Saul
The Queen's Bed (Sarah Crichton Books), Anna Whitelock
Victoria (Penguin Press), A. N. Wilson
Piero's Light (Pegasus Books), Larry Witham

2015 Judges

Emily Bernard is the author of Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance: A Portrait in Black and White (2012). Her first book, Remember Me to Harlem (2001), was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her essays have been published in several anthologies and journals, such as American Scholar, Oxford American Magazine, Best American Essays, Best African American Essays, and Best of Creative Non-Fiction. She has received fellowships from the Alphonse A. Fletcher Foundation, Yale University, Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the W. E. B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. She is a professor of English and critical race and ethnic studies at the University of Vermont. Photo Credit: Shayne Lynn

Nicholas Fox Weber is a cultural historian and Executive Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. He has written extensively about both Josef and Anni Albers and curated many major exhibitions and retrospectives dedicated to their work. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Yale University and author of fourteen books including Patron Saints, The Art of Babar, The Drawings of Josef Albers, The Clarks of Cooperstown, Balthus, Le Corbusier: A Life, and The Bauhaus Group.

 

Jon Meacham is the author of New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (2012), American Gospel (2007) and Franklin and Winston (2004). Meacham received the Pulitzer Prize for American Lion, his bestselling 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson. Executive Editor and Executive Vice President of Random House, Meacham is a contributing editor of TIME, a former editor of Newsweek, and has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other publications. A Fellow of the Society of American Historians, Meacham serves on the boards of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and of The McCallie School. Photo Credit: Gasper Tringale

Past winners

Janet Malcom, Richard Brody, Michael Scammell, Stacy Schiff, Robert K. Massie, Tom Reiss, and Linda Leavell.

Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award.

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