NEW YORK – A new literary award with a $50,000 cash prize will honor those best at telling a New York story.
The Gotham Literary Prize, announced Thursday, came out of a conversation between businessman-philathropist Bradley Tusk and political strategist Howard Wolfson, who told The Associated Press that they first thought of the award last year and saw a renewed urgency for it after the spread of the coronavirus.
“It occurred to us that this would be an opportune moment to do something like this, to support writers writing about New York, and to support the arts in New York," said Wolfson, who befriended Tusk when both were working on the 2009 re-election campaign of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Wolfson and Tusk are funding the prize themselves and have committed to at least 10 years.
Starting next spring, the award will be presented to a book, fiction or nonfiction, published in a given calendar year that is about New York City or takes place there. Celebrated works of the past that would have fit that category include Robert Caro's “The Power Broker,” Tom Wolfe's “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and Toni Morrison's “Jazz.”
Jurors for the Gotham prize include filmmaker Ric Burns, poet Safina Sinclair and former New York City schools chancellor Dennis Walcott, now the president and CEO of Queens Public Library. The deadline for submissions for the 2020 prize is Nov. 1.
On the Internet: gothambookprize.org