2012 Literary Award: WLA honors Chad Harbach for "The Art of Fielding"

Posted by Lisa Strand on Monday, July 16, 2012 in Awards

The Literary Awards Committee of the Readers’ Section of the Wisconsin Library Association has chosen "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach of Charlottesville, VA as the winner of the 2012 Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award.

This award is given for the highest literary achievement by a Wisconsin author for a book published in 2011.

In his debut novel, "The Art of Fielding," Chad Harbach examines the lives of 5 people and the ways in which their paths intersect at the fictional Westish College in Wisconsin. Henry Skrimshander is recruited to play baseball by sophomore Mike Schwartz. Through Schwartz’s intervention, Henry is admitted late and finds housing with Owen, another star on the team. Schwartz and Owen take Henry under their wing to help him adjust to the world of academia.

Guert Affenlight, the college president, finds himself falling helplessly in love after what seems a lifetime alone as a single parent to his daughter Pella. Pella, meanwhile, shows up at Westish to try to figure out her own future. When Henry commits an unlikely error during a game, it seems the lives of all of these characters begin to spin out of control.
Not really about baseball, this story is more about perfection and failure, heartbreak and doubt, and how we find meaning in our lives. These characters will stay with the reader long after the last page.

The following have also been honored as 2012 Notable Wisconsin Authors:

  • Ellen Hunnicutt was a graduate of UW-Milwaukee and a long-time resident of Big Bend, Wisconsin. She won the Banta Award from the Wisconsin Library Association in 1988 for her novel "Suite for Calliope." In addition, she wrote the short stories "In the Music Library," "Carrot Man" and "The Clearing."

  • Anne Powers was a writer of historical fiction. Her list of novels includes "The Delaware River Man," "Eleanor: The Passionate Queen," "No King But Caesar," "Ride East, Ride West" and "The Thousand Fires." Ms. Powers lived in Milwaukee.

The 2012 Outstanding Achievement awards for 2011 publications include the following 10 titles by Wisconsin authors.

•    Dean Bakopoulos (Madison) “My American Unhappiness”

•    Benjamin Buchholz (Waupun) “One Hundred and One Nights”

•    Kathy Giorgio (Waukesha) “The Home for Wayward Clocks”

•    Valerie Laken (Milwaukee) “Separate Kingdoms”

•    Paula McLain (Madison) “The Paris Wife “

•    Rae Meadows (Madison) “Mothers and Daughters”

•    Rebecca Rasmussen (Spring Green) “The Bird Sisters”

•    Nina Revoyr (Madison/Marshfield) “Wingshooters”

•    Sam Savage (Madison) “Glass: a novel”

•    Emma Straub (Madison) “Other People We Married”

The 2012 Outstanding Achievement in Poetry awards for 2011 titles include the following four titles by Wisconsin authors.

•    Fabu (Madison) – “Journey to Wisconsin: African American Life in Haiku”

•    Mark Kraushaar (Lake Mills) – “The Uncertainty Principle”

•    Paul Terranova (Madison) – “This Small Breathing Coincidence”

•    Jeanie Tomasko (Middleton) – “Tricks of Light”

The 2012 Literary Awards Committee members are: Elizabeth Bauer, Pat Chevis, Katrina Collins, Jane Jorgenson, Erin Lorandos, Amy Lutzke (chair), Anne Paterson, Gerard Saylor, Andrew Scott, and Jean Yeomans.


For more information about the work of the Literary Awards Committee, visit http://wla.wisconsinlibraries.org/read/awards.

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