Good writing still matters.
On March 16 at the Arts Club of Washington, the news came out that Rachel Corbett, author of a recently published book, You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin, is this year’s winner of the coveted Marfield Prize, which is the National Award for Arts Writing.
The Marfield Prize is in its eleventh year, and attracted 95 readers for the 2017 competition. (Past judges for the competition have included such notables as Joyce Carol Oates and Rita Dove.) The competition judges submissions that are nonfiction books about art, which can cover a wide range of topics – submissions of nonfiction books on pop culture are currently encouraged. Other requirements include that the initial published work be in English and that it be published in the past year.
An important factor in judging is that the submitted book be written in accessible prose and not be too academic. Corbett’s book is a narrative that easily flows and gives equal attention to the life stories of writer Rainer Maria Rilke and artist Auguste Rodin – two people who have made their respective marks on the arts world.
And what better place to make the announcement than at the Arts Club of Washington (sponsor of the annual prize)? The building contains artwork from the past and present, welcoming the addition of a new name to its history.
On May 3 and 4 Corbett will be in Washington, DC for a brief residency, where she will give a presentation at a local public high school, do an interview for the Library of Congress podcast “The Poet and the Poem,” discuss her book at an open-to-the-public event at the Arts Club of Washington, and attend the Marfield Award Dinner.