Winners of the hotly contested Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction were announced Thursday, September 3, at a Gala Awards Ceremony at the John Drew Theater of Guild Hall.
The audience was treated to a performance by alumni of the Perlman Music Program at the start of the event. Pianist David Kaplan, violinist Areta Zhulla and cellist Jia Kim performed the Finale from Beethoven’s Piano Trio Opus 1 as their mentor Toby Perlman, founder of the prestigious string festival, looked on dotingly.
A lineup of literary legends were on hand to present the awards to a standing room only crowd of 300. Tom Wolfe delivered a keynote address to the star-struck crowd of writers and Jules Feiffer’s inaugural address for the Emerging Young Writers Prize inspired everybody from the novice to the professional writer.
Several judges were on stage to present the awards including Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ chairman Len Riggio who presented the grand prize award in the first-ever Emerging Young Writers Prize for Nonfiction. Judge Andrew Botsford, professor at Stony Brook University, presented two of the runner-up awards, along with fellow judge author Christopher Knopf.
The $5,000 grand prize in the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction was presented by celebrated author, journalist and philanthropist, the legendary Barbara Goldsmith.
The winning entries in each category were read by Emmy winning broadcaster Pia Lindstrom.
In the 2015 Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction, the judges choice awards, which recognize pieces that were personal favorites of the judges, were given to Rose Marie Dunphy for “The Love of Your Life,” Eric J. Weiner for “Reggae Stones” and Walter Wetherell for “An April Crossing.” Two runners-up, who each received $500 and a Nook tablet courtesy of Barnes & Noble Booksellers, were Ruth Bonapace for “The Day of the Mollusk” and Debbie Slevin for “Saving Grace.” The $5,000 grand prize winner was Colette Sewall who’s piece is titled “Ghosts of Shopkeepers Past.” Ms. Sewall also received a Nook tablet courtesy of Barnes and Noble Booksellers.
Winners in the inaugural Dan’s Papers $4,000 Emerging Young Writers Prize for Nonfiction included Judges Choice Award recipients Alexandra Chan for “The Tail of Growing Up by the Sea,” Matthew Micheline for “Captain Fred E. Bird,” and Timmy Facciola for “The Last Bite of Childhood.” The two runners up, who each received $500 plus a Nook tablet from Barnes and Noble Booksellers, were Francine Hendrickson for “What Sandy Gave Us” and Oliver Orr for “A Hardware Story.” The grand prize winner, who received $3,000 plus a Nook tablet, is Luke Sawaya for “Night Vision.”
The Gala Awards Ceremony was presented as part of Dan’s Literary Festival, an evening-long series of literary events celebrating East End writers, author-athletes and author-actors.