An American Marriage by Tayari Jones Wins Aspen Words Literary Prize
AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE BY TAYARI JONES WINS
ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE The $35,000 prize honors a work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue
New York, NY (April 11, 2019) – Tonight, Tayari Jones was named winner of the $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize (AWLP) for her novel An American Marriage. The award, which is one of the largest literary prizes in the United States, was established by the Aspen Institute to honor a work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture.
“Thank you to Aspen Words for this award, for having this award at all because, for so many of us who want to write and engage the issues of the day, we’re encouraged not to. We’re told that that’s not what real art does,” said Jones upon receiving the Aspen Words Literary Prize. “An award like this encourages all of us to keep following the strength of our convictions.”
“An American Marriage is a gripping novel about the dissolution of a marriage. But beneath the surface of this deeply moving love story is a powerful statement about unjust incarceration and a corrupt criminal justice system that has ravaged generations of African-American families,” noted the AWLP jury. “Writing with poignancy and humor, Jones offers a much-needed meditation on issues of race, class, identity—and shows us how to move forward after a great loss.”
In addition to the best-selling An American Marriage, which is published by Algonquin Books, Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling and Silver Sparrow, which was added to the NEA Big Read Library in 2016. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer and The New York Times, among other publications. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, Jones has been a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Awards in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a United States Artists Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship and other awards. A graduate of Spelman College, the University of Iowa and Arizona State University, she is a professor of creative writing at Emory University.
The winner was announced live at an awards ceremony at The Morgan Library in New York City, and featured a conversation with the finalist authors moderated by National Public Radio’s Renee Montagne (NPR is a media partner on the award). Finalists included: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black), David Chariandy (Brother), Jennifer Clement (Gun Love) and Tommy Orange (There There).
About the Aspen Words Literary Prize
The $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize is awarded annually to an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture. Open to authors of any nationality, the award is one of the largest literary prizes in the United States, and one of the few focused exclusively on fiction with a social impact. The inaugural award was presented to Mohsin Hamid in April 2018 for Exit West, his novel about migration and refugees. Eligible works include novels or short story collections that address questions of violence, inequality, gender, the environment, immigration, religion, race or other social issues.
The jury for the 2019 prize included Dorothy Allison, Suzanne Bober, Elliot Gerson, Farah Jasmine Griffin and head judge Samrat Upadhyay, a finalist for the 2018 Aspen Words Literary Prize. In addition to a cash award, the winner of the AWLP will receive a unique trophy designed by sculptor Michael Lorsung of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center near Aspen, Colorado.
Aspen Words was founded in 1976 as a literary center based in Aspen, CO. A program of the Aspen Institute, its mission is to encourage writers, inspire readers, and connect people through the power of stories. For more information, visit www.aspenwords.org.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C; Aspen, CO; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.
PARADE STARTING/STAGING: The parade will begin at 11:00am. Parade positioning is “first come, first serve” and line up begins no earlier than 10:00am. There is no entry fee and the parade is open to the public. All 5 lanes of Main Street, from Aspen Street to 2nd Street, will be closed to all traffic & designated for parade staging only. Power is not provided in staging area and remember generators do need gas.
PARADE ROUTE: The parade will start East on Main Street. It will turn South onto Hunter Street, then West onto Cooper Avenue. The parade will continue West on Cooper Avenue to Galena Street. At Galena it heads North for 2 blocks before turning West onto Hopkins Avenue. The parade will continue South on Mill then West on Hyman Avenue. Parade participants will be directed to disperse at Hyman and Monarch Street. PARADE JUDGING: Parade judging will take place in front of the Hotel Jerome. Participants will be limited to 1 minute or less for any performances in front of the judges. Security will be onsite monitoring all entries to help prevent gaps in the parade route. Recognition will be awarded to the best entries in the following categories:
Most Patriotic | Most Humorous | Best Animal | Best Music | Most Outrageous | Best Children’s
Consumption of alcohol is prohibited during the parade.
Candy, favors, etc. should not be thrown from your float/vehicle during the parade. This is for the safety of the spectators and to prevent children from running out into the street.
Water balloons will not be permitted. According to city ordinances, those caught throwing balloons will be removed from the parade and could face citations and/or arrests.
All parade entries must be in “good taste” and will be allowed in the parade per the director’s discretion.
Maximum height restriction for any float entry is 13’5”.
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INSURANCE LIABILITY AGREEMENT
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I am the official representative of the undersigned organization. On behalf of the organization, I acknowledge our responsibilities as set forth above. I also accept on behalf of the organization all of the terms and conditions of this
INSURANCE LIABILITY AGREEMENT and WAIVER AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT.