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Two NEH-supported Books Honored by National Prize

Association of American Publishers cites slave-trade atlas and Mark Twain autobiography

WASHINGTON (February 8, 2011) — Two books supported by National Endowment for the Humanities grants won prestigious publishing awards last week from the Association of American Publishers.

Awarded by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the PROSE Awards recognize excellence in professional and scholarly publications.

The 2010 PROSE Awards top prize, the R.R. Hawkins Award, was presented to the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade by David Eltis and David Richardson. The R.R. Hawkins Award is given to the year’s most outstanding professional, reference, or scholarly work across the sciences and humanities.

Published by Yale University Press, the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade is based upon Voyages, the NEH-supported online database of records from 35,000 slaving voyages—roughly 80 percent of all such voyages ever made. Drawing upon data from this collaborative project, authors Eltis and Richardson present a detailed picture of the slave trade: its principal routes and trade partners; the economic, political, and geographic factors that shaped its development; and its human stories of individual suffering and heroism, told through a collection of maps, diary passages, and ship log entries.

“The transatlantic slave trade persisted for 366 years and resulted in the forced deportation of 12.5 million Africans to the New World. It is a phenomenon that we have struggled with for centuries –as historians, as students, as writers, as American citizens; it is not only one of history’s greatest crimes against humanity but also an event of such magnitude and importance that it is impossible to represent adequately,” said John Donatich, the director of Yale University Press, who accepted the award at a ceremony on February 3 in Washington, D.C. “With the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, leading scholars David Eltis...and David Richardson have given us an invaluable key to understanding the Atlantic Slave System.” Photos and video of the awards ceremony and acceptance speech will be available online.

The Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade also won PROSE awards for Excellence in Reference Works and in the Single Volume Reference/Humanities & Social Sciences category.

Also honored by the AAP was the NEH-supported Autobiography of Mark Twain which won PROSE awards in two categories: the award for Excellence in the Humanities, and the award in the category of Biography and Autobiography. Published by the University of California Press, the Autobiography of Mark Twain is the fruit of decades of painstaking scholarship at the NEH-supported Mark Twain Papers & Project housed at the University of California at Berkeley, led by Robert Hirst, the project’s General Editor. Arranged in a non-chronological fashion, as dictated by Mark Twain, the autobiography was published, in accordance with Twain’s wishes, 100 years after his death. Since its publication in November 2010, volume one of the Autobiography has become a national best-seller.

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. See the full list of the 2010 PROSE Award winners here.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or pwasley@neh.gov