Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The Mozart Season rises again
Do you know about the Phoenix Award? I have to admit, shamefully, that I did not -- until tonight. Tonight, Virginia Euwer Wolff was named the recipient of the 2011 Phoenix Award for her glorious novel, The Mozart Season.
Could there ever be a better reason for giving a prize than this one? Here is the citation:
The Children's Literature Association Phoenix Award is presented annually to the author of a children's or young adult book, originally published in English twenty years earlier, that did not win a major award at the time of its publication. The award recognizes works of high literary merit and lasting significance.
Jinny Wolff is almost pathologically modest, so I will crow on her behalf. The Mozart Season is a book that bears reading and re-reading. (So great was my respect for her novel that I'd clean my apartment on druggy St. Mark's Place -- vacuum even! -- before I'd allow myself to open her manuscript and read her sentences.) Read it if you have a chance.
Hats off to the 2011 Children's Literature Association committee for their far-sighted choice; three cheers for the 17-year-old boy who composed that stunning violin concerto; and kudos to the brilliant Virginia Euwer Wolff for writing a book that will rise again and again.