I am thrilled to announce that I have been elected to receive the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence from the St. Nicholas Society of New York. I’ll be receiving the medal at the organization’s Winter Stated Meeting in New York in early February.
It’s a genuine honor to receive this award — past recipients include David McCullough and Ron Chernow — and the fact that the organization, and the award itself, are affiliated with Washington Irving makes it that much more special for me. The St. Nicholas Society of New York is an organization Irving himself helped found back in 1835 to commemorate the history and heritage of New York. (Irving, in fact, can be considered one of New York’s first historians, celebrating his home town’s Dutch heritage in a rollicking, tongue-in-cheek manner in A History of New York in 1809.)
As their most literary of founders, then, Irving’s name appears on their Medal for Literary Excellence — but writing about Irving is not a requirement for the award! David McCullough won it for Truman in 1993, Ron Chernow received it for Alexander Hamilton in 2005, while Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace got it in 2000 for Gotham. That’s heady company indeed, and I’m humbled beyond words to have my name appear alongside any one of theirs.
My deepest thanks to the St. Nicholas Society of New York for this wonderful award.