Congratulations to Tablet contributor Adam Kirsch, winner of the 2010 Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism, a new award named for a celebrated Proust scholar and founding member of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. In his books column, Kirsch has been providing our readers with brilliant and probing coverage of volumes on topics as wide-ranging as Jewish comedy, Palestinian poetry, and Zionist theology. If you haven’t been keeping up with his kaleidoscopic literary investigations, catch up here.
Kirsch shares the prize with Marcela Valdes, a writer and editor who specializes in Latin American arts and culture. In her acceptance speech, she shared this insight on her craft: “I believe that all good criticism must begin with a serious attempt at understanding… We can all understand a book and loathe it. But without that first step, criticism slides into egoism—and that is the most vulgar corruption of our art.” We hope to hear a lot more from both talented winners.