VMFA Annual Literary Award

Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award

Sponsored jointly by the VMFA and Library of Virginia, Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award celebrates the connection between art and literature with an award for books published on the visual arts the previous year. This award is presented during the Library of Virginia’s annual Virginia Literary Festival each October.

To be eligible for this award, books, which may be in a variety of genres of prose or poetry, must have been published in the previous calendar year, in English, and in the United States. Each year a panel of judges composed of authorities in the fields of the visual arts and literature review the nominated works and select the finalists and the award winner.

Nominations for next year may be submitted through the Library of Virginia’s Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award page.

Mary Lynn Kotz

The award is named in honor of author and journalist Mary Lynn Kotz, a longtime contributing editor for ARTnews magazine, who has built a career interviewing, researching, writing, and lecturing about art and artists—among them Georgia O’Keeffe and John Cage. Her critically acclaimed book Rauschenberg/Art and Life (Abrams) balances deft observations of craft with a biographer’s chronicle of the American artist’s (1925–2008) innovations, experiences, and extensive collaborations. A best-selling author with four other nonfiction books, for years Mrs. Kotz has spoken passionately to arts and literary organizations and general audiences about the need for clear, exciting writing about art. Through her consistent service to cultural institutions and initiatives, including many in her beloved Virginia, Kotz has shown a lifelong commitment to making the arts a vital and illuminating presence in our society.

Past Winners

2023 – Hans Luitjen – Jo van Gogh-Bonger: The Woman Who Made Vincent Famous, Hans Luijten
2022 – Winfred Rembert & Erin Kelly – Chasing me to my Grave
2021 – Gaylord Torrence – Continuum: Native North American Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
2020 – Philip J. Deloria – Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract
2019 – Mary Gabriel – Ninth Street Women
2018 – Donna M. LuceySargent’s Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas
2017 – Dawn TrippGeorgia
2016 – Patrick HorriganPortraits at an Exhibition
2015 – Susan VreelandLisette’s List
2014 – Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda – The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo
2013 – Orhan PamukThe Innocence of Objects