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Botkin Prize Committee Seeks Nominations for Awardee

Tuesday, August 4, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Hannah Davis

Benjamin A. Botkin Prize (Deadline: September 1)

The Benjamin A. Botkin Prize ($500 and life membership in the American Folklore Society) is given each year to an individual for significant lifetime achievement in public folklore. It recognizes the work of Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975), eminent New Deal-era folklorist, national folklore editor of the Federal Writers’ Project in 1938-1939, advocate for the public responsibilities of folklorists, author and compiler of many publications on American folklore for general audiences, and head of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress from 1942 to 1945. Botkin has had a major impact on the field of public folklore and on the public understanding of folklore.

The review criteria are:

Engagement of a broad public audience in the materials of folklore

Impact on the field of public folklore: development of models, methodology, visibility, advocacy

Impact on communities/constituents and their traditional culture

Contributions to the body of materials of folklore/public folklore

Quality of artistry in presentation: writing, photography, stagecraft, etc.

Quality of scholarship

Impact on the discipline of folklore, its theories and methodology

Quality/adequacy of nomination package itself

Breadth of support, as evidenced by letters from community members and non-folklorists in addition to folklore colleagues

The next deadline for nominations is September 1, 2015. Please direct nominations, as well as your questions, to Botkin Prize Committee Chair Nancy Groce of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (; 202/707-1744).

Nominations should include a letter of nomination; a one- or two-page biography or resume of the nominee; three to five letters of support from a broad range of people, including community members who have benefited from the nominee's work and people from outside the folklore field in addition to colleagues. Letters should specifically address the review criteria listed above and should explain how the nominee has taken folklore to a broad public audience.

All nomination letters and support material must be submitted in electronic format so they can be distributed easily and quickly to the committee members. Nominations remain active for three years. Previous nominators should contact Groce to ensure that their nominations are still in the pool, to arrange to send electronic versions of materials previously sent in hard copy, and to inquire about adding new or updated materials to those nominations.

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