2012 New England Society Book Awards
NES is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 New England Society Book Awards, which honor books of merit that celebrate New England and its culture. The Awards are presented annually to the authors of books published in the previous 12 months, in any of three major categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Art & Photography.
A luncheon was held to honor the 2012 Award Winners on Wednesday, April 18, at the Grolier Club (47 East 60th Street, New York City). For more information about this year's awards ceremony, download the press release. Photos from the luncheon are below.
The 2012 NES Book Award Winners, selected from thirteen shortlisted titles, are as follows:
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian (Crown) – A poignant and powerful ghost story set in New Hampshire, with all the hallmarks readers have come to expect from best-selling novelist Chris Bohjalian: a palpable sense of place, an unerring sense of the demons that drive us, and characters we care about deeply.
"A gripping, paranormal thriller . . . Bohjalian is a master, and the slow-mounting dread makes this a frightful ride." —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
In the past two decades, Chris Bohjalian has tried to defy expectations and never write the same novel twice. The result has been work as diverse as Skeletons at the Feast, a wrenching exploration of one family's complicity in the Holocaust, to The Double Bind, a twisting tale of a young woman's madness, to Midwives, the now classic saga of a midwife's trial for manslaughter. The Night Strangers stemmed from two random events in his life that occurred years apart. In 1987, when Bohjalian purchased his 1898 Victorian home, he was puzzled to find a door in the basement sealed shut with six-inch-long carriage bolts. Behind it? Nothing. It was, he recalled, eerily reminiscent of a crypt. Twenty-two years later in January 2009, pilot Sully Sullenberger successfully landed his crippled Airbus in the Hudson River. Dubbed “the Miracle on the Hudson,” Bohjalian saw a novel here as well—albeit one with a far darker ending.
Death of an Empire by Robert Booth (Thomas Dunne Books) – Most readers know Salem only for the city's notorious witch trials. But years later, it became a very different city, one that produced America's first millionaire and boasted a maritime trade that made it the country's richest city. Westward expansion and the industrial revolution would eventually erode Salem's political importance, but it was a shocking murder and the scandal that followed which led at last to its fall from national prominence. Death of an Empire is a finely-written tale of a little-known but remarkably rich era of American history, drawing in characters such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster.
About the Author
Robert Booth is executive director of the Center for Clinical Social Work, a national advocacy and education association for members of the largest mental healthcare profession in the country. He writes about history for the online version of The Boston Globe and is a founding director of the online Salem History Society.
Shucked by Erin Byers Murray (St. Martin's Press) – In March 2009, Murray ditched her pampered city girl lifestyle and convinced the rowdy and mostly male crew of Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Mass. to let a completely unprepared, aquaculture-illiterate food and lifestyle writer work for them for 12 months to learn the business of oysters. The result is a book that is part love letter, part memoir, and part documentary about the world's most beloved bivalves. An in-depth look at the work that goes in to getting oysters from farm to table, Shucked shows Erin's full-circle journey through the modern day oyster farming process and tells a dynamic story about the people who grow our food, and the cutting-edge community of weathered New England oyster farmers who are defying convention and looking ahead.
About the Author
Erin Byers Murray is a Boston area journalist, specializing in food and wine writing. Most recently, she was the Boston editor for DailyCandy.com. Her work has been published in The Boston Globe, Food and Wine, Boston Magazine, Bon Appetit, and many more. Visit her at shucked.wordpress.com.
Art & Photography
Litchfield Style: Classic Country Houses of Connecticut by Annie Kelly (Rizzoli New York) – Photographed by renowned architecture and interiors photographer Tim Street-Porter, Litchfield Style is an homage to quintessential country classic-style architecture and tasteful interiors - the epitome of picturesque New England. This book celebrates the 18th- and 19th-century homes and gardens - from quaint farmhouses and saltboxes to Colonial, Greek Revival, and Federal styles - of well-known decorators and tastemakers in this verdant setting. Rooms respectful of historically rich New England architecture provide inspirational ideas for rural weekend retreats as well as family houses. These intimate and inviting spaces, along with their charming gardens, show much creativity and personal style.
About the Author and Photographer
Annie Kelly is a well-known decorator and journalist. Her books include Casa San Miguel, Rooms to Inspire by the Sea, and Litchfield Style, and she is a contributing writer for international lifestyle magazines, including World of Interiors and French Architectural Digest. Award-winning photographer Tim Street-Porter is the author of numerous architecture and design books, including Tropical Houses. He is a contributor to House Beautiful and Vanity Fair, among many other lifestyle magazines.
Photos courtesy of Annie Watt. All luncheon photos are available for purchase from Annie's website.