tv 2022 Lukas Book Prizes CSPAN July 6, 2022 7:24pm-8:39pm EDT
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welcome everybody, we are here for the j anthony ceremony with four awards and i'm nick, eckstein now faculty member your clumpy columbia journalism school and i'm especially happy to be here because i was back in 1997, 25 years ago, part of the founding group that set up this program this year's winners include andrea elliot, "invisible child," and jane rogoyska, "surviving katyn." and tony lucas was a wonderful nonfiction writer and reporter, you was normally graded what he did but also he cared a lot about the field. this kind of work is not part of
mass culture should we say but as a distinct community of people who really care about it and is devoted to it and help and support each other and was very important to tony to be part of that community and he went on with me as his sort of deputy, a big conference on nonfiction writing as new york state writers institute back in 199192 about tellingng the truth at the time of his death he was the president of the authors guild, he just did is much as he could h possibly do, not just fr his own wife for other people do this work anything that he would be really pleased to see what this program named after him has
become and i never got to know mark linton because he had died in thing by the time that we started this program i got to know his widow and his children who are here very well together that he was an equally remarkable man i can't sort of tell you about it from experience any had a a passion r historical writing especially historical writings that is done for people who historians and people who are not historians as well which not to describe all historical writing and it was just a wonderful coming together to have a morning, the j. anthony lukas prize families and they find each other any moment in the late 1990s and come together and build this program together and it's really been a wonderful experience for everybody and produce a bunch of
great events in the winners in our partner and this is the nieman foundation at harvard and this event is held alternate here's i guess in even numbered years even and odd number and it cambridge at the nieman foundation in our partner and running this, the head of the nieman foundation cannot be here tonight but i want to thank her and everyone there for the role they have and this program and so, i want to set up the awards and then we will have the discussion and i should say to another thingsbo about this trik particular program, one, we are somewhat distinctive among journalism awards and that we are not just operating it after the fact, it was very important
to tony u and to all of us who work on this to understand this will not apply to anybody in this room but could be party to book written and sometimes we run out of money and so a little cash and validation and community can be a big help and that describes her work in progress award which is particularly distinctive feature of the j. anthony lukas prize and the other thing is that seen in the event that we put on back and 91, tony really like to have a conversation among nonfiction writers. and so we can let her hair down a little bit o and i don't think i'm the only one who sometimes feels like fiction writers get to be like the real writers of the w-uppercase-letter nonfiction writers the subject matter, experts like what should
be our policy on this that is not how wese think of ourselves and so it is important to tony o create a space where we could talk about what is he like do this work and after we can for the awards and personal want to think judges of these awards, they do is my cousin say, a ton of work, not only short books and is wonderful that they spend the time too do this out of devotion into nonfiction. .. or rachel louise snyder anthony dipama and julia pastor. so can you like stand up and take a bow? thanks to the board of the lucas prizes. and again, these are the ones i
think are here and if i've left you out. i'm sorry and ask you collectively to stand up and take about also jonat also,o, jonathan, sam freedman and pamela paul. [applause] we have at last year's mark linton prize thomas here with this. and we have mark linton i'm sorry michael linton and lily linton here. we did but they are gone. well, they were here. we applaud them and they're very recent absence. and their whole family for the ongoing and general support for making these awards possible. t we are grateful for their support of the award in research grants we give to students into
sam freedman's book writing class every year. think we have students who this year. but i do not know for sure. but if so, welcome. and now we will give out the awards. abby, come on up. she awards the prices and will give me a hand presenting the awards. the j anthony lucas book price is book length work of narrative nonfiction topic of american social orrrn political concern t exemplifies the literary grace commitment to research and original reporting that characterize the distinguished work of the award's namesake. the price carries a 10,000 dollars honorarium. this year's judges, bruce tracy the chair, gus bruder, juliet, and thomas. thisis year's winner is author r
journalist andrea elliott for her book invisible child. poverty survival and hope in an american city. andrea is an investigative reporter for the "new york times" and the recipient of a pulitzer prize at george polk award overseas press award and other honors. most importantly she is a graduate of columbia journalism school. the judge of citation reads, invisible child is a force of the reporting and meticulous and unflinching depiction of intergenerational american poverty. andrea elliott spent eight years following her subject, 11-year-old and her parents andi seven siblings. they were in and out of newark city, shelters, courts, schools, welfare offices and ultimately the pennsylvania boarding school that offers a first chance of hope. exemplifying the best of the lukas tradition, elliott exposes fa granular texture deep empath, the punishing of auteur want and
paints a sweeping portrait of contemporary americanri life. still mark bright presidencies and injustices.ic the number of homeless americans continues to rise, this is a book that demands and deserves our attention. congratulations andrea. [applause] [applause] [inaudible] [background noises] [applause] others will join you in a minute. this year is a finalist for the j anthony lukas book prize is awarded to journalist and author patrick for empire ofn pain.
secret history of the donnas favorite patrick is on authored staff writer at the newe yorker. the judges right in their citation empire of pain is a revelatory look inside the rise of one of the most powerful and ruthless dynasties in america. swhose indifference or the consequences of their action is enabled by the astronomical wealth and privilege that shield them. reporting and research of impressive depth and breadth patrick east wealth of facts, figures, depositions, first-hand interviews, original documents into a harrowing and hard-working readingre experien. i'm part of pain as a portrait of the massive public health crisis. one of the most devastating in recent memory as well as p ambition, breed and insularity of the family at its center it patrick could not be here with us tonight. but we salute him. [applause]
the mark went in history pride is awarded annually to work of history on any subject that best combines intellectual distinction with felicity of expression and carries a 10,000 dollars honorarium. this year's judges were julia keller, anthony, and kerri green ridge. this year's winner is author jane for surviving cotton. polish massacre in the search for truth. jane is a british author and filmmaker of polish origin is also the author inventing robert cap out with a particular interest in the turbulent period of the 1930s to the cold warar n europe. the judges right in their citation, to the chili and brutal abstraction of the phrase a mass grave, surviving cotton provides an eloquent and crucial clarification they were
individuals with 22000 polish prisoners of war secretly murdered during world war ii and buried in a polish forest. for decades the crime was blamed on the nazis. traces quietly masterful breath of detail however evidence now proves stalin personally ordered the massacre. detective story, part historical narrative, part biography of the victims in part moral reckoning with urgent relevance to contemporary conflicts. congratulations jane, come on up. [applause] clicks this year's a finalist
for the mark linton history prize is kitty the invention of miracles, language, power alexander graham bell's quest to end andng deafness. katy teaches running at the university of pittsburgh and was raised and it mixed hearing and deaf family for this is her first book. the judge is citation reads, a complex and profoundly moving historical saga the invention of miracles is an insightful portrait of the extraordinaryy life of alexander graham bell. as well as retelling of his decades long crusade to teach the deaf to speak with their lips and not their hands. lying on bell's own papers and those of his contemporaries, as well as diving deeply into the archives of the deaf community. booth focuses on the cultural impact of bell's work with the deaf without showing you a few more controversial aspect of his mission. by passing this time i was genealogy flirted with the now discredited before distancing
himself from its most radical ideas. superbly written a decidedly subjective invention miracles provides a challenging portrait of an imperfect genius. katy could not be with us tonight. finally, work in progress awards in the amount of $25000 given annually to aid the completion of significant works of nonfiction on a topic of american political or social concern. this year's judges were rachel luis snyder thehe chair, paul ad david. roxana wins a first award for we were once a family per the hard murder suicide the system failing our kids. she is an independent investigative journalist focused on the child protection and criminal legal systems in the native of lasas vegas.
the judge isva citation reads, tracing the devastating story of the families a shocking murder/suicide after the adoptive mothers drove the entire family off its california cliff. spaints a moving portrait of lot lives and failed systems. with an ever present lens on poverty and racism investigations illuminates the innumerable ways child welfare agencies failed the six youngng black children and indicts the ways the most vulnerable among us are imperiled by the very systems created to protect them. congratulations roxana. [applause] [applause] [background noises]
okay, the second work and progress toward the life,, work, love in america. reporter of vanity fair reporting fromin afghanistan has received the south asian journalists association daniel pearl award. judges citation, carefully piecing together the best mosaic of forces that c often compel wk in america today. poverty neglect, racism, addiction, discrimination. john dissects the ways in which women are punished disproportionally for the actions of men. her tireless reporting on the chaotic and haphazard world of domestic trafficking grapples with the very idea of how we think about workers today. including not only the stigma around them, butt also the very idea of what it means culturally, criminally and sociologically to rescuel someone. congratulations mate.
[applause] okay now it is time for our panel discussion which will be led by pamela paul who was a member of the lukas board. i'm going to lose this to a child leave the state she's going to comfort pam until very recently about a week ago or something, was the editor of the "new york times" book review which he had done for nine years, is that right? she oversaw all book coverage at the time. a former arts correspondent pamela john the times in 2011 is a children's book editor. and is the author of eight books. now she is just starting a career as a times opinion columnists i believe to palm so
far she is off to a flying start. come onry up, don't go here go there. thanks everybody. [applause] >> to quit plaintiff a restart. one, i'm not actually going to be checking my phone. but i am being texted your questions on my phone. that is i'm holding this i'm not distracted. the second thing i want to say now that i'm allowed to public opinions, it is my opinion that it is n really good and right tt we take a moment to note there are four women winners up here. [applause] when i joined the book review only 11 years ago there was do this background debate women writing serious nonfiction. while it feels natural, good and just. congratulations to everyone
here. i just do start off by asking really basic question of each of youoi. i'm not going to down or restart the two have written our books to manual but easier we are not quite done. to tell us about the origin story of your book and project. because andrea i know you're start at the times from your journalism. >> yes but first of all i wanted to say i am so incredibly honored to receive this award. i am sitting in this room with mentors of mine in this room f including sam freedman's who i would like to think really planted the seed of this that we are talking about origins many, many years ago. and my daughter is here and my agent and i owe them so much they keep telling me too speak up. okay.
thank you for that. [laughter] so what i would say about it to kind of summarize it is that i have always been drawn to human existence. i'm to the narratives of people more than anything else. been doing that for real time i find myself in the story and ironic matter which a statistic did that i did one in five children were growing up. i thought that was strange and kind of outrageous. i called colleagues' artwork and the phone why this wasn't a bigger story. in a way it was not a bigger story because that's part of the reason it was a big story. with the stubborn problem and not going away.
for coming up on half a century after lbj's declared war. some gains it happened but a lot remained to be done. just from that many, many thousands of feet above the ground jump out of the sky and wound up landing, finally on the life after a long, long search. by the time i met her my typical reporter checklist that kind of gone out the window but had this checklist no space on a certain demographic profile that meant it was a smaller family, maybe she was a part latina it would been easier to speak spanish with her w parents. all of those things wound kind of background noise. because when i met her she just grabbed my heart. i felt electrified around her and her family. like these are people whose
lives i wanted to know. what i find usually that's a case for me that will be the case for the reader. that is how it all began. i never thought it would spend as much time as i wound up spending with them. speaking of time just quickly, how long did you spend reporting the series that appeared in the paper? at what point did you say to yourself there's more and there's a book here and i want to do that? what's so i really think that writing a book -- mike i'm just going to sit at the little bit like getting married. you have to be very, very much in love because you know it's going very hard? i had fallen in love until that time with the store but did not decide to write a book it kind of chose me. i do not even remember when the moment was very dear member picking up the phone and calling tina and cinque will you be my agent because the series is running in o the paper literally was day two of the series in my
phone is ringing off the hook and i think i have a book and sure.id and it quickly became a book. it was in my mind i think as a book long before that moment. it just took possession of me. it is a story that just took possession of me and kept showing me everything i didn't know when i thought i knew by the city i thought i knew but here it really is, look at this. the history i thought i knew, no go deeper. every turn i felt like it was an education. so many new and important issues. that is white took as long as it did because i felt i owed it to the story to go as deep as i did. >> jane for you t i'm assuming u went into this knowing this was going to be a book what was the origin of the project? >> i really recognize that thing about being possessed by an idea.
i've looked at the subject for several years now. i think the seed was originally planned to pray don't know if anyone members in 2010 there is a terrible air crash which was with the polish president with many dignitaries was on his ways in fact to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1940 massacre. the plane crashed setting off a series of echoes of the original event which were very powerful. it was at that moment the seed was planted. i realize none of my british friends knew it was. and had never heard of it. i started thinking about it and i wrote anotherd book. i went away from it winners think about writing a new book it took hold of me. she almost has yet to release me. i'm still slightly living with a legacy on this. it's taking up a lot of space in my head for a long time.
take a knee on a very long journey of research not a with living people but with dead people. but actually in a way part of my motivation was an active resurrection the victims of 22000 polish prisoners of war who died in this massacre just under 400 survived. they tend to t be treated as faceless martyrs. they are only associated as victims of this massacre. i really felt i wanted to bring them back as human beings with all of their faults and all their individual personalities. that was kind of the initialth motivation. and it sprawled from there. >> given there was a low awareness of this event in the uk, did you have to do a lot of persuading this deserve to be investigated the should be a book? >> interestingly i in the
process of changing agent. in fact i wrote to an agent who is interested in representing me. i sent him something i else. and then i did that thing that writers who do, i don't know if it's just me. i've got this idea. then at the end of got a couple of other ideas as us little thing at the end he e-mailed back that i'm not interested in the second verse one but i would really like to see a book. he was very much behind it one is a smaller publisher got p behind it that is how it happened. so i personally did not have to do a lot of persuading. i think perhaps he did. roxana, you started off is on andrew did reporting this. and when did you decide this should be a book and this is what i what to do? it was a widely reported story at the time. >> yes. so i live in texas on the way i
got a hole of the story at first was that it was a breaking news assignment. it was from the oregonian infi portland. i went to find the birth families of three of the kids that were involved in the crash. that was a tip i got from a friend of ours who is in portland. so i went in there on a day one or day two story. i was the only reporter around. typically after breaking news in new york you are with people and everyone -- a sort of expecting that. it wasn'tnv like that at all. i was invited into their home. i was pretty overwhelmed with the grief they were experiencing they had just heard the news of their children who had been removed from their care a decade
prior. they had just heard they had been murdered. i c had actually written a story about foster care in 2016 or something. and so when i was hearing what was going on this is a foster care story and, like you said it was a pretty big national story at the time. i felt like there is a cognitive dissonance between what i was expense with the birth families and what was being reported. it was very focused on the women, on the psychological motivation i felt like there is an equally if not more important narrative about the systems in place that allowed it and enabled it to happen was not getting worked out.
there is an extreme emotional element of this families agree that felt emboldened. i did a couple breaking news stories and i did a deeper story and then i did a story on the other birth family this isn't done for me. i don't felt finished with it. i said i think this is all one larger story and it needs to be told together. exit not quite finished with that hopefully will soon be. may, or other work in progress when or how did you decide to write a book on this subject, how did this book come to you? >> i was thinking it should be called not quite finished yet. [laughter] with many stories the most distinct one i am a magazine writer. normally after i finish a story ri never want to talk about the subject ever again.
i had done a few stories about work and trafficking and these prostitution rings in 2018 and 19. and i still have a lots of questions left which is a really good a sign. i worked for myself and i figured i could afford to take maybe two months off to look into the subject to see if there was anything there. and at the end of the two months i have a lot of myself i had nothing and was very confused. i went up to substate and give myself a week going to pull together some sort of a proposal or something. onset i spent the week going on hikes, reading plays and i did nothing. i wasted 60 days but what is 60 days? i'm going through my mail and there is a letter from eight women's prison facility. think report is to get mail from prison usually click on the
serial killer george be a penpal? that's usually the case but in this instance eight page letter neat handwriting it was a woman who had read an article i had written in vanity fair magazine about a prostitution raid. the only reason is because it's only reason she wanted to get this magazine. she normally never reads articles that caught her eye. i'm telling the story in a terrible way she was in prison for trafficking a minor which sounds terrible. it's often the case you peel back the layers it's not quite as it seems. that was the beginning of it. >> am going to ask a question i think we often ask at this event. the first time i came to theon prize ceremony bob was one of the winners. summit asked him about his
process but this is where i first learned he would get dressed, put on a a suit and a e and go to his office. like a summing to aspire to audley but here's the process question for all of you. may i will start there again. what is your writing process alike? where do you break, how do you work? do you use old-time things like paper products and pens? what do you do? >> scribner. i read everything, i talked to everyone just download everything. watch everything and then it gets dumped into scribner. and then i create a word document everything i want in there. and i move it around until it makes sense and that is it. [laughter] that is what i do. >> of them can name their favorite act. and in terms of when do you get up and work? what is your daylight?
>> really? >> going to be nosy here. [laughter] tracks the most virtuous life i rise with the t sun. [laughter] i don't know have a complete breakfast, do yoga for four hours. o >> jane to your address in your suit and tie closer. >> if only by a love this question i have to say. today i am lucky enough to be in new york today i was in london purchase found a stationary shop somewhere in greenwich village i can't remember i am obsessed with stationary. [laughter] not that it plays a part in my process. i start in the morning, go to work i go to work upstairs in my house. i started whatever, 9:00 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. i work with scribner which is a very useful app if you're not familiar with it it's a very useful app for writers to take a lot of material coming from different sources pretty find it
really helpful kind of looking at things in a nonlinear way. i have to have a coffee. it's like a symbolic coffee. when you work from home and if you have a family as well it's very important to make a dividing line between your work existence and your family existence. i shut my door, i have my coffee and then supposedly i start work. but you show up, you do the work. you do it every day and you don't wait for inspiration but j have understood bitter experience you don't wait for the inspiration you get on with it. i will work all morning. i'm sure it's a verypr different state -- stages to read. researching i could do that all day quite happily i could research, archives and internet journey, disappeared down a tunnel wonderful big starting to write is like pulling t teeth.
it is awful and i would do almost anything to avoid it. it's physically really difficult part once you write a baggy horrible first rough draft that you are rewriting, rewriting, redrafting versions 1.13 or whatever. that becomes equally obsessive and can take up many hours but that is my process. >> i was fleet research this is a work ofto history. does the fact that you have to go deep into the historical record present challenges? in terms of a language, and turns of accessibility of sources? >> is a veryec interesting one. the nature of the subject's because it was covered up for over four decades in eastern europe, and the west there was a lot of information about it. so actually most of the information pre-the collapse of communism, pre-19 languages in london or the polish government
in exile as space bar the institute there holds enormous quantities of material as does the british library has extraordinary connections. so i have to do the research in english and polish. polish i'm half a polish but is not brought up speaking polish. i've learned as an adult. i still find it hard work. everything post- 1990 comes out of poland or russia. and so i had to go to warsaw to research and archive there. there's an awful lot you get to the internet nowadays. i wanted to find fresh research. so i went back to primary sources and posed. it was a two-pronged thing but actually an enormous chunk of the first part of the research was done in london. >> the material from a rush of this is all open now you can get to it? >> so, the auteur about captain was opened in the 1990s and
has all been translated to polish. i do not speak russian so iol rd it all and polish. a lot of itar come again, amazingly how we love our library the british library has astonishing quantities of it. i only had to go to poland for very obscure things. but finding its way in a publication for. >> roxette of going to skip with you. i went to see if you're not using square hundred this is clearly it will get line. what is sure working, writing, research, reporting? >> that i got the book deal two weeks before lockdown. so the idea i had in my head about the process of writing the book was very much not the way it actually went. i end up doing i have a 5-year-old and we were all at home for a good year end a half. i ended up. doing these writing
trips to the hill country. i live in houston i would go to these guesthouses on the ranch. with the cows, the goatst and stuff. i would report for a month or whatever chapter i was going to be working on. and i would go and bang it out in four days. i did it because i just literally could not get the brain space that i needed to do the deeper writing. at end up being -- you could work all day you could work ten hours a not talk to anyone. think now i've spoiled myself for future writing process.
ask andrew what was it like free washer process? >> single mom divided coparent bread stretches of time i could devote myself entirely to the writing. i very much relate to what youai just said. i jealously guarded definitely waking up at 5:00 a.m. and going around the clock. excessively trying to squeeze everything i can out of that solitude. at the end of the process. we love them so muchn they interrupt. when i have my kids i woke up very early. i usually try to crank out two hours of work before they woke
up and they tended to wake up they've grown up with this book aiden was three when i started she's 13 now. that got into a rhythm of waking up very early with this discipline. brexit is very early bird. >> 4:00 a.m. for me i could never sleep past 6:00 a.m. after having kids. i rewired myy brain. it's 6:00 o'clock i'm wide awake. it is what it is. speak about your process because i think of myself not as a writer better rewriter. there's so much and is not one process. day ast even the same one process. in terms of carving out time
straddling of real-time events of a costly happening. i had to stay on top of it. i had to learn to toggle between them. extremely, very, very organized process almost the point of ocd. you see it's a complete mess. i was always looking for things are trying to figure out i did have a lot of systems in place. i don't trust my memory. so i worked a lot with video and
audio i would take video if i wasn't there. that helped bring the writing alive. i had not been around in a wild. i think going back to process there is a morning brain and there's an afternoon brain. i do not like my afternoon brain but i like my early morning and my late evening brain. everything else ise fine. this lot to say about process is a great question. another process in question for you because you were writing about a very real person and they are continuing to live. their lives are going on. your story is continuing. at what point did you say okay i need to stop here. this is where the story ends in terms of the book. and i need to write. >> i can say very specifically it happened on three occasions.
all three endings are in the book. i thought the book ended. [laughter] [inaudible] >> i don't know yes maybe? i think i knew. finally when i witness the final scene that is the end i felt this whole body. but the relationship with the material, with the people it does not end. it stays inside. i feel like i have inhabited the story for the rest of my life anyway. of course it's a different once you have release it into the world as a book. for one thing you get to enjoy the responses of other people. gso extraordinary to me that i get to engage with people. these are people who i was on a first name basis with inside
their lives for years. suddenly they feel thatt intimately a part of the life of the reader when a stay with both of you rang but at risk children. larger systemic issues. i am interested in getting a sense of how you decide to balance those two big subjects, two very different kinds ofn storytelling in your work. roxette also with you. that's a really good question my brain thanks of things in a
systemic way as i said when it met the birth family this is definitely a child welfare story.ilom which the child welfare stories which information can b be realy hard to come by. almost everything is c confidential as it relates to specific cases. that is like a little puzzle for me. that is the easy part in a way of the hardest part for me was the emotional intensity of the work. the witnessing of the grief and the feeling.
figure out how to deal with this kind of work. the individual stories are very clear the experiences to do the systemic reporting. the looking at systems that are not operating well. that iss sustaining. the getting mad is very sustaining. it's a different aspect to go into the emotional to really sit and witness and process people's real grief. >> in may i'm going to turn to you you are also talking about a
lot of dysfunctional systems in larger issues. your book explores so many different layers from race, to immigration to attitudes around that sucked. thirty balance you can see thet things you mention? with so many of my interests the topics are having national reckonings around. it's also the challenge of the project as well. organizational at something closer to chaotic evil. there is a lot going on and they overlap. i'm a micro deli's rabbit holes. occasionally someone pulls me out. what i find super compelling
it's not just work it happens to be gender class, i seen i am exploring one of the sections the fact that anti- prostitution legislation functions as anti- immigration legislation intertribal legislation for their off day in tight women, anti- people. just the way it intersects i find quite interesting. when i'm very prominent display on the shootings out into atlanta a bunch of massage parlors were shot out. it's really interesting in the early hours of following that event there is a lot of need. i don't know if it's it enlightenment need to categorize it's a human thing. the slug desire to figure out
they are workers their died because their asian. >> can explain what you meant by that? that was a revelation that came to me time in afghanistan i used to live there it's where it began career. what i was struck by really matters if you are a civilian rule you can live and die by them that was one of our big lessons from that place were adjudicated within our legal
system to be self identify as victims of its the rhetoric of particular rhetoric as you identify yourself as a victim, the manhattan d.a. recently thal office recently say org not going to prosecute women. oddly enough to call the bottom of mean by that the hierarchy of being a or a madam called the bottom often women so oftenis bottom who ends up going to prison is often the one who is recruiting, albert during the work of the. and so in this instance the bottom becomes a perpetrator
there's no room for that kind of nuance in the current system. >> i think in contrast to the other authors appear you did a kind of reporting unique in that you went undercover. kewhat actually work and went to work in a strip club. in what ways or change your views of your writing the book? i guess i was just struck by how clearly am still processing it. you can have a public facing version of yourself that has good politics you are coherent and all of that.
i think is an odd place where things becomeme incoherent. i was so forced to be in my body in a way i think i find alwaysvo of avoiding that the discourse or whatever. and in the end i was like a woman of color and working closer inescapable and a country that hates women of color. >> jane your book happened a long time ago it's impossible to commit not ass contemporary to see any connection between the massacre in the current russian invasion of ukraine or between stalin and putin? >> i think there are inevitable
parallels d. i'm reluctant to draw them to directly. this a very distinct continuum in that methodology of the manipulation the creation of false narratives that starts and continues with the kgb the part of the continuum. putin was trained in the kgb. as a kgb colonel and the mentality behind that is incredibly, strikingly similar. optima people have asked me why should we care about the massacre which in the general context of the appalling brutality of the 20th century numerical is small. you're talking about 2000 victims why should we care about
it than up the other hideous crimes andeo particularly the crimes that stalin perpetrated against hisre own people there were millions and millions and millions. when one the things that is most worth considering is this long perpetuated life. it'sr over four decades. a false narrative was maintained complete with fake history books, fake monuments. diffusive witnesses. intimidation, so many things that do strike a chord now. and in some ways fsb has become slightly less effective they're easier to uncover now. i'm in terms of things we are hearing sis in news at have not yet had time to be fully
evidenced and processed. it seems we are hearing levels of brutality. one of the reflections i have had, i find it very difficult since the invasion and thought about it a lot. i'm not sure i could have written this book now. lots of people were asking where you writing a book about the massacre? it sounds so depressing where he focused on this? for me as i said earlier post about active resurrection bearing witness and honoring the people who spent so long trying to uncover the truth. but part of my ability to write about it was predicated that for me safely in the past. it just does not seem that way now. >> having successfully finish
the book i wonder if i could ask you one last question. it's really a question on behalf of ma and roxana this is for both of you. if you had to give advice to the two authors who are working to complete their books, what wouls you say what was made possible for you and keeping you going on your respective projects. was may your post publication self say to the person who is knee-deep in the project? >> a couple of quick things. trust in the process. just about knowing that you know where your book is going better than anyone else. this leads to the other thing i wish i had learned early on. which is especially relevant to someone's midstream. when your midstream you are vulnerable i think more than at the beginning of a book when it is exciting and new or at the end when you know you're reaching the finish line.
and that metal you are vulnerable to the perceptions of others. what are they thinking? the dreaded question you get if you go out. it is a year stretch i didn't even go out you don't even let them finish that question. it leads to doubts that are very corrosive what you really want is to never make a major reporting or editing decisions from position of weakness but a position of strength. you are well rested. he just won a grant and you knew what you are doing your desk by trying to how to pay the rent. those are all hard advice to follow. i would tell it to myself again mnext time around. >> and jane i'm sitting here wracking my brain. i have no idea largely because i
think once you are in the process to meet that's relatively easier than starting the process. i think for me the focus is about the writing. i am endlessly chipping away at it reworking it. the point you have to stall and hand it over to somebody and let them look at it and let it go i suppose. there is also that thing about the inability to talk about projects to people outside. it is incredibly difficult to talk about something when you're in the middle of it. trying to find a short this is a very practical piece of advice is not an exitt essential when it's a very short version of years stuart when people say what you working on? you can say without driving them insane with boredom i have been
known to do that before. you're very obsessed with something you cannot encapsulated inch a couple of sentences. it's an elevator pitch i did once bump into a neighbor we are getting on the same bus home. she seemed generally interested it was a mistake. asked me what i was writing about. are still talking woman got off the bus shut off the bus i'm halfway through the story of stalin and these very serious things. it's a very nice to bump into you. >> in may and roxanne a very good job. practice for fresh air being able to talk about your book i could ask all of you so many more questions about the contents of your book want to
give her audience a chance to ask questions. as a microphone there in the middle if anyone has questions or our four authors. please feel free. so we have exhausted you. and our resume audience can also send in questions, right? any questions that come in that way. >> hi thank you and congratulations all of you. thank you pam want is been a great conversation. i had a question about navigating your publishing deal. any advice you would have for someone who is interested in having one or at lessons learned in terms of how did you get one, an agent for any of our students who might be interested in possibly writing a book just a few advice on that would be
great. >> may be the more recent dealmakers should speak first i don't know. >> unicoi roxanne? >> sure. sars advice goes to folks who would like to get a deal i think i was really flying blind for a good portion of it until i found my agent. i think i wrote several stories ahead of my book proposal. that was really helpful. i did a lot of reported beforehand. and i realize it was all one thing in my brain. that helped me a lot in pitching the book i do think your agent
is super important in the process. in my experience doing a lot of reporting on the front and made in getting the deal easier. and also made writing the book easier. i really did have a sense of where i was going with it when i sold it. ask what roxana said my imaging agent is here. obviously you need a good agent, you do good work. so there is that trick. writing a few pieces just to see if you even like it is a good thing to do. just to test it out. just having conviction it is a good story and in some ways like
external validation that stuff does not matter as much.ha when you are younger that stuff is important it does help you obviously. if it is really good like someone is going to buy it at some point's trusting in the process and knowing it is going to that feels important. >> i agree with that. i would just at i don't think a book is something back into. i think that is something you must write. that is what makes it the right project. having a great agent is i'm so blessed to have with tina is not just about having a brilliant business person to get to the best deal. it is about early on creating a community around your book which consists of you, your agent, your editor hopefully it may be a couple key readers who will
lift the work from its inception to its final stage. that will help shepherd it through. that was absolutely essential. w my editor these are people for years were holding the lantern for me but otherwise the field would have been completely dark. you are going to make it you are going to make it. also i could not write this book but i think that's an important place to start from especially if you're coming out of school and hopefully will have taken some class. you have a lot of ballast there. there is an enthusiasm that is extremely important to the process. if you know you must write the book that makes up for it lack of experience potentially. >> you have to be very prepared. i think it'sta really importanto understand a practice you commit to for book it hasng to be
something you are prepared to live with for severaln years. even if you think it's going to be a short think it isn't prints a long-term relationship. you have to be so passionate about it you can't not do it. also the art of nonfiction writing is persuading people to be interested in something they did not know they would be knkninterested in. so you have to be able to carry that can't speak to the american process is fairly similar press in the process of changing an d agent and i deliberately approached an agent who had a background in nonfiction editor. i found it so helpful along the way because he gave so much to helping put the proposal together. he helped in editing. it is very useful to have tranother person you can bounce ideas off that you can trust. >> other questions my audience? >> hi am emily pritt i'm a student and a fellow with the
department. thank you all for beingng here. i have a question about the reporting process and how you build your confidence and maintain your confidence right reporting and writing that you are the right person to be tackling what other subject or story it is. specifically when you're writing reporting about a community that you yourself do not belong too. >> i did not. i will just jump in and say yes ite is very on point with your column. first but i always assume i'm the wrong person to write about anything. i think our job as journalists is to be very, very both driven, ambitious and at the same time insecure about her lack of knowledge where their students, that is a t thing i love the mot about this job is that i get to learn about all these other
worlds. i have been asked before what right do i have to tell the funny story? i don't see it as my rate i see it as my duty. it was my duty as a journalist to show up for the moston important stories of my time. i think this is one of them. her story representsve in every journalist and background trying to understand these issues. of course a bring blind spots in our own demographic or other cultural labels like just to stay in my lane points out only be to write about other women like me and therefore is in the e coast have one emigrant parent and one american. as a very limited subject.
it is in our dna for a lot of us got into this because we are curious. but to cross into other lanes and go into other territories to be surprised by the unknown. to encounter it and encountering it to also be met with the reflection and potentially our own blind spots. i think it is also about just being very, very open with people you're writing about having it be a conversation. talking about these things with them which i have for many times with my y family. it's front and center to our process to talk about our differences. also what we have in common. >> i want to say i think it's a very good to question where that you're the right person to tell the story. i think that is a good part of the process. i think if you don't i think
your blind spots it's good for you to say why me i definitely did a lot throughout the process. and i think part of it was was making relationship with my sources. those relationships were deepening. that was feeling, i was feeling their stories were not being told in my case the story itself here i am in this place where i have the ability to tell their story. and no one is telling that. i also think like having that back-and-forth with your self is an exercise in, interrogating
her own blind spots where you come from what your perspective is. that is all really important to the work as a whole. >> i don't think going to settle the debate of identity politics today. because my book is about work it's a meditation on consent really my poultice will build remember three ways of making an argument yes, you are very smart. it's not just about your lived experience is very important as well what's equally important is doing the work during the hard
work during all of the research. they got the book as b a project that's what i'm thinking about. i think similar to what you mentioned as well it is a duty and maybe more so for me i think about it as a real privilege and contribute something to this community has given me this tremendous honor of letting me into people's lives. i think if you lead with gratitude and curiosity that is a good thing. >> i'm not sure i can comment on it particularly. >> we are actually out of time. so i want to thank all of you for the opportunity to talk to you about your books. and everyone else here on the board, thes judges, and to urge
all off you especially the students who are here t or watching to read these books.th and to follow these four great writers work. so thank you all. thank you. [applause] tracks of your joining american history tv sent for a newsletter using the qr code on our spring to receive the weekly schedule of upcoming programs like lectures and history, the presidency and more. sign up for american history newsletter today and be sure to watch american history tv every saturday or anytime online with c-span.org/history. ♪ weekends on cspan2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's story and
on sunday, book tb brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for cspan2 comes in these television companies and more. including comcast. >> do you think this just a community center? >> know it's way more than that. comcast is born with 1000 committee centers to create wi-fi enabled so students from low income families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. comcast, of these television companies support cspan2 as a public service. >> it is my distinct honor to invite up our keynote speaker tonight. doctor victor davis hanson as the winner of thiss year's book price. [applause] [applause] doctor hansen is a longtime friend of isi. he was a faculty associate going all the back to the
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