2021 Chautauqua Prize Winner Announced

Chautauqua Institution has announced Having and Being Had (Riverhead Books) by Eula Biss as the 2021 winner of The Chautauqua Prize.

As author of the winning book, Biss receives $7,500, and will be presented with the Prize — and give a public reading — during a celebratory event set for 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, on the digital CHQ Assembly platform.

Having just purchased her first home, in Having and Being Had the poet and essayist Eula Biss embarks on a provocative and delightful exploration of the value system she has bought into. Examining our assumptions about class and property and the lure of capitalism, Biss offers an uncommonly immersive and deeply revealing new portrait of work and luxury, of accumulation and consumption, of the value of time and how we spend it. Chautauqua Prize readers described Biss as “a provocative thinker who has constructed a book about possessions, economic systems, work, class, money that is lyrical in tone,” and whose writing “encourages us to sit and think in uncomfortable psychic spaces.” “The writing,” another reader wrote, “is simply terrific.”

“I’m tremendously grateful for this recognition of the thought and work that went into Having and Being Had,” Biss said. “This prize comes at a moment when I’m reimagining my work life, and it is particularly meaningful coming from an institution with such a long history of supporting artists who are pursuing their craft.”

Staff Pick Badge
Having and Being Had Cover Image

New CLSC Selection: Anxious People

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 29, 2021 | CHQ Assembly

A desperate man attempts and fails to rob a bank. After the police arrive, he flees and enters an apartment open house where he takes a diverse group of strangers hostage.

Each of the characters carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

The author of A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Fredrik Backman’s new novel, Anxious People, is a confirmation of the storytelling prowess that made USA Today call him “a master of writing delightful, insightful, soulful, character-driven narratives.”

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called OveMy Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s SorryBritt-Marie Was HereBeartown, and Us Against You, as well as two novellas and one work of nonfiction. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

Staff Pick Badge
Anxious People: A Novel Cover Image

2021 Chautauqua Prize Shortlist

Chautauqua Institution has announced eight exceptional books as the 2021 finalists for The Chautauqua Prize, now in its tenth year. The winning book will be selected from this shortlist and announced in late May.  Read the full announcement on chq.org.

Congratulations to all the finalists!

(A note to CLSC members: remember that while the prize-winning selection counts toward graduation requirements, the rest of the list will not.  We're excited about all of them, though, and you should read them anyway!)

Staff Pick Badge
Having and Being Had Cover Image
The Night Watchman: A Novel Cover Image
The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories Cover Image
Transcendent Kingdom: A novel Cover Image
The Bear Cover Image
Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir Cover Image
Deep Delta Justice: A Black Teen, His Lawyer, and Their Groundbreaking Battle for Civil Rights in the South Cover Image
How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel Cover Image

New CLSC Selection: Under a White Sky

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert
Tuesday, July 06, 2021 10:30am EDT | Amphitheater

Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert has traveled all over the world to get to the heart of the debate over global warming, and the communities most affected by it. Two of her books — The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History and Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change — both started out as articles in The New Yorker, where she has been a staff writer since 1999. Her latest book, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, was published in February 2021, and will frame her joint Chautauqua Lecture Series and Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) presentation as part of a week on “New Frontiers: Exploring Today’s Unknowns.”  

Staff Pick Badge
Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future Cover Image

New CLSC Announcement: Why Trust Science?

Why Trust Science? by Naomi Oreskes

Thursday, July 15, 2021 03:30pm EDT | CHQ Assembly Video Platform

During a time when trust in science is waning, when climate scientists are struggling to convince a large part of the population to accept the reality of the climate crisis, when anti-vaccine attitude is gaining more traction every day, Professor Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength – and the greatest reason we can trust it.

Tracing the history and philosophy of science from the late nineteenth century to today, Professor Oreskes explains that, contrary to popular belief, there is no single scientific method. Rather, the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted.

Naomi Oreskes is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science and affiliated professor of Earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University. In addition to Why Trust Science?, she is the author of several books, including The Collapse of Western Civilization and Merchants of Doubt with Erik Conway.

Staff Pick Badge
Why Trust Science? (University Center for Human Values #1) Cover Image
Staff Pick Badge
Why Trust Science? (University Center for Human Values #1) Cover Image

Chautauqua Travels | Responding to a Changing Climate: Resilience and Adaptation in New Orleans #CHQNOLA2021

Chautauqua Institution has announced a new partnership with Academic Travel Abroad, Inc. (ATA) that will take the Chautauqua experience “on the road” to introduce, extend and supplement the Institution’s iconic Summer Assembly thematic-based programs. This represents the Institution’s second partnership with ATA, a Washington, D.C.-based international travel organization that first collaborated with Chautauqua in the 1980s for the historic Chautauqua Conferences on U.S.-Soviet Relations. Named Chautauqua Travels, this one-of-a-kind group travel program will curate unmatched experiences in the U.S. and abroad, leveraging Chautauqua’s distinctive mix of interdisciplinary and intergenerational explorations of the best in human values and the enrichment of life with an untiring commitment to civil dialogue. Learn more about Chautauqua Travels.

The inaugural Chautauqua Travels program, Nov. 7–11, 2021, will take participants to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast for an exploration titled “Responding to a Changing Climate: Resilience and Adaptation in New Orleans.” 

Chautauqua Bookstore is proud to offer the following reading list to engage travelers in this forthcoming trip as part of the Chautauqua Travels program.  Additional recommended reads will be added in the future.

Recommended Reading:

Staff Pick Badge
We Cast a Shadow: A Novel Cover Image
The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis Cover Image