Honoring Place

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Place and literature: It’s simply impossible to have one without the other. Imagine Mark Twain without the meandering Mississippi River. Emily Bronte absent the sweeping Yorkshire moors. Or Joan Didion without the headache-inducing Santa Ana winds. Those who are married to literature know that place is more than scenery. More than the backdrop on which plot and theme run amok.

Place, some argue, is as central to the work as character. Or is a character itself. Think: James Joyce. Dublin. Ulysses. Now, Britain’s Royal Society of Literature has launched a new award for the fiction or non-fiction work that paints a literary landscape and best evokes the magic of a place


Biographer Michael Holroyd, author of “Lytton Strachey: The New Biography;” and “Works on Paper: The Craft of Biography and Autobiography,” President of the Royal Society of Literature

Sven Birkerts, reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, member of the core faculty at the Bennington Writing Seminars, editor of the literary journal AGNI, and author of the memoir: “My Sky Blue Trades.”