Below is a list of the awards and the books, along with the committee citation for each of them:
The sixteenth annual Prize for a First Book will be given to Matthew G. Kirschenbaum of the University of Maryland, for Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination.
Mechanisms is a genuinely original, field-defining contribution to media studies, promising to have a major impact on the fields of literary studies, book history, and digital culture. Matthew G. Kirschenbaum brilliantly puts new media studies into dialogue with book history and textual studies, teaching readers anew how to think about materiality, form, durability, and ephemerality in a digital age, while offering a primer in how to read and teach digital works, including works of literature. The book tracks the fate and transformations of electronic works by William Gibson and Michael Joyce, among others, in a manner somewhere between technical bibliography and detective work. Kirschenbaum engagingly and efficiently educates-and thus may help to produce-a new audience for digital literatures.The tenth Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters will go to William G. Holzberger for The Letters of George Santayana, Book Seven, 1941-1947 and Book Eight, 1948-1952.
These volumes complete an important project, publishing a scholarly edition of the complete correspondence of George Santayana, a major figure in the history of American philosophy and cultural criticism. The letters cover the last years of Santayana's life-spent in Rome, where he was in effect trapped by World War II-and the years after the war during which he prepared his final publications and was visited by many American admirers. William G. Holzberger admirably documents this period of Santayana's life with carefully edited texts, thoughtful and comprehensive introductions, and supporting notes and apparatuses that are never obtrusive and invariably helpful.
The nineteenth annual Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize for an outstanding book published in English or Spanish in the field of Latin American and Spanish literatures and cultures will be given to Nicolás Wey Gómez, of Brown University, for The Tropics of Empire: Why Columbus Sailed South to the Indies.
The Tropics of Empire: Why Columbus Sailed South to the Indies, by Nicolás Wey Gómez, is already gaining recognition as a landmark study. The book's main argument is supported by an astonishing knowledge of the development of cosmography, geography, history, literature, geometry, astrology, and philosophy. The analysis combines meticulous archival research (in several languages) as well as contemporary theoretical concepts of space and place and the North-South divide. Few would have imagined it possible to say anything new about Columbus or his enterprise, yet Wey Gómez not only says something new, he also challenges the foundation of what is commonly accepted as the logic that conferred legitimacy on the European discovery and colonization of the Americas.More information can be found at http://www.mla.org/resources/awards/awards_winners.