CHAUTAUQUA - Chautauqua Institution recently announced "The Sojourn" (Bellevue Literary Press) by Andrew Krivak as the first-ever winner of The Chautauqua Prize.
The Chautauqua Prize is a new national prize that celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts.
"I feel honored to be part of this new tradition at Chautauqua Institution, and to be recognized by a place with such a long-standing commitment to art and literature in America," Krivak said.
As author of the winning book, Krivak receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for a one-week summer residency at Chautauqua, a not-for-profit educational and cultural center in southwestern New York state. He will host a public reading and book signing on Monday, Aug. 6 on the Institution grounds.
"The Sojourn" was chosen from a finalist shortlist that includes five other titles: "All Cry Chaos" (The Permanent Press) by Leonard Rosen; "Caleb's Crossing" (Viking) by Geraldine Brooks; "In The Garden of Beasts" (Crown) by Erik Larson; "We Are Taking Only What We Need" (BkMk Press) by Stephanie Powell Watts; and "Why Read Moby-Dick?" (Viking) by Nathaniel Philbrick.
The Chautauqua Prize reviewers called, "The Sojourn" "a novel of uncommon lyricism and moral ambiguity." It tells the story of young Jozef Vinich, uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy, as he returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd's life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef is sent as a sharpshooter to the southern front, where he must survive the killing trenches, a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps, and capture by a victorious enemy.
Krivak, the grandson of Slovak immigrants, lives with his wife and three children in Somerville, Mass., and teaches in the Honors Program at Boston College. "The Sojourn" is his first novel.
With a history steeped in the literary arts, Chautauqua Institution is the home of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, founded in 1878 and believed to be the oldest continuous book club in the country. The CLSC honors nine outstanding books of fiction, nonfiction, essays and poetry every summer.
Details on The Chautauqua Prize, including submission guidelines for 2013, are online at www.ciweb.org/prize.