The Chautauqua Prize /
Chautauqua Institution’s Literary Significance
Chautauqua Institution, dedicated to the exploration of the best of human values and to the enrichment of life, is the preeminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States. More than 100,000 persons who visit Chautauqua during the 2013 Season will note the honor of this selection, and The Chautauqua Prize winner and shortlist will be announced through broadcast, print and online media. Chautauqua’s singular multi-generational community offers artistic articulation, social and cultural conversations, and global and national interfaith and political awareness opportunities through approximately 2,200 events staged each summer at our lakeside location in western New York. Chautauqua’s national reach includes book clubs, civic and faith organizations, schools, libraries, and colleges and universities. International Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circles include Japan, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
- Chautauqua attracts 4,000-plus in daily audiences for literary-themed weeks and special events:
- Literary-themed weeks in 2008, 2010, and 2012: Roger Rosenblatt and Friends (Alan Alda, Julie Andrews, Derek Bok, Sissela Bok, Billy Collins, E.L. Doctorow, Anne Fadiman, Jules Feiffer, Emma Walton Hamilton, Norman Lear, Jim Lehrer, Alice McDermott, Marsha Norman, Joyce Carol Oates, Garry Trudeau, Amy Tan, Meg Wolitzer)
- Recent special events and literary lectures include Ted Kooser (2012), Dan Brown (2011), Stanley Fish (2011), Azar Nafisi (2011), Billy Collins (2010), Salman Rushdie (2010), Robert Pinsky (2009)
- The Chautauqua Bookstore often sells hundreds of books for an individual book signing. The Chautauqua Bookstore reports sales to The New York Times. We also track our effect on Amazon.com. Thousands of sales result from a Chautauqua connection.
- Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, founded in 1878 and believed to be the oldest continuous U.S. book club, honors nine to ten CLSC selections each summer, which feature book cover designation on onsite sales, author honorarium plus visit to Chautauqua, several hundred books sold at Chautauqua Bookstore, plus documented Amazon sales resulting from CLSC designation. Honored writers include Karen Armstrong, Geraldine Brooks, Susan Choi, Annette Gordon-Reed, Thomas Lynch, Ha Jin, Stanley Kunitz, Bill McKibben, Philipp Meyer, Robert Morgan, Joyce Carol Oates, Téa Obreht, Michael Ondaatje, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Tobias Wolfe. Click here for a PDF download of the CLSC Historic Book List.
- Chautauqua Writers’ Center, founded in 1987, offers 20 workshops (from published writers who also teach writing), weekly readings and lectures, plus occasional presentations on publishing, book-to-film, writing for specific audiences, and collaborations with other Institution entities (i.e., Jewish Writing Festival with Everett Jewish Life Center). A preseason Writers’ Festival attracts 72 participants in six intensive workshops.
- Special Studies classes (adult continuing education) attract more than 1,000 students in literature and writing courses each summer.
- Literary programs are afforded opportunities for collaboration with other expressions of the arts on the Chautauqua Institution grounds, including Chautauqua Theater Company, Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua, and youth programs.
- The Chautauqua literary journal publishes original, previously unpublished works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, particularly those pieces that embody the vision of Chautauqua, as much a philosophy and an aesthetic as a physical place whose soul lies in the American passion for self-improvement — the drive to enrich oneself culturally, artistically, morally, and intellectually.