The process of awarding the 2016 honor began in February, when Washington College announced seven finalists for the prestigious George Washington Prize — an annual award that recognizes the year’s best-written works on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of early American history.
Created in 2005 by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and Washington College, the $50,000 George Washington Prize is one of the nation’s largest and most notable literary awards. Past recipients have included Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The winner of the George Washington Prize will be announced at a black-tie event on May 25.
This year’s finalists represent the depth of new scholarship and the broad expanse of inquiry into the diversity of people and the political, geographic, economic, and social forces that shaped the American Revolution and the early republic.
The seven authors immerse readers into settings that include domestic life at Mount Vernon, a bloody battle on the banks of the Monongahela River, multi-ethnic settlements along the Gulf Coast, onboard ships with revolutionaries crisscrossing the Atlantic world, a depleted encampment at Valley Forge, a contentious convention in Philadelphia in 1787, and the Weehawken dueling grounds at dawn. These are places where well- and little-known stories of our nation’s past unfolded; Revolutionary War leaders were forged, and the ideas of liberty, democracy, and republicanism were tested.
Scroll down to read more about the 2016 George Washington Prize finalists! — David Bruce Smith, founder, and Hope Katz Gibbs, executive producer, the Grateful American™ Foundation