Edmund Keeley Book Prize

Edmund Keeley

The Edmund Keeley Book Prize is awarded to an academic book dealing with modern Greece or a Hellenic theme published originally in the English language.

At the MGSA Executive Board meeting of November 2005, it was resolved that the MGSA Book Prize should be named in honor of Edmund Keeley, founding member and first president of the MGSA, in recognition of his distinguished contributions, as pioneering translator and critic, to the broad dissemination and scholarly study of modern Greek literature in the English speaking world and to the field of Modern Greek Studies in the United States.

Selection Committee

The committee is composed of three eligible members. Their selection is based on the need for disciplinary representation on the committee, with one of the members being an active member of the MGSA Executive Board and serving as the chair of the Edmund Keeley Book Prize Selection Committee, a second being a member of the MGSA but not holding a seat on the Association's Board and a third member being a non-MGSA member. For each competition, a new committee is comprised and no committee member shall serve two consecutive terms.

Appointment of the committee takes place during and after the autumn MGSA Executive Board meeting preceding a Symposium year. At that meeting, the President of the MGSA shall ask members of the Board to appoint a committee chair and to make additional nominations of committee members to the chair of the Edmund Keeley Book Prize Selection Committee. Using these nominations, it shall be the duty of the chair of the Book Prize Selection Committee to appoint the additional two members to the committee, with disciplinary representation as a basis for their selection. It is also advisable that gender and academic standing be taken into consideration when making these appointments. Once a committee has been convened, members of the committee must review its procedures and establish an appropriate timetable for its work.

The committee's service begins on April 1 of each competition year and, while the work of the committee is generally completed by the time the prize is announced at the MGSA Symposium, the committee remains operative until a subsequent committee is appointed after the autumn Executive Board meeting preceding the following competition year. The chairperson of the committee is a voting member of the committee. Committee members are not permitted to submit their own books while serving on the Edmund Keeley Book Prize Selection Committee.

Selection Process

Each committee member independently reads and rates the books entered in the competition and communicates the results of his/her evaluation to the chairperson of the committee via email. Criteria to be used in making this evaluation include

  • scholarly rigor
  • innovation
  • impact and importance of the book in terms of breadth of topic and appeal
  • the contribution made to the scholarly understanding of Modern Greek Studies
  • the clarity of writing.

The evaluation results of each committee member should reflect a rank-ordering of the submissions.

Once a decision has been made, the chair announces the winner of the competition to the MGSA Executive Director and to the members of the Edmund Keeley Book Prize Selection Committee. The winner as well as the other authors who submitted books are notified in writing by the chair of the committee. The award is publicly made at the next scheduled MGSA Symposium and the MGSA Executive Director mails the $500 award to the winner.

About Edmund Keeley

Edmund Keeley is the author of seven novels, ten volumes of non-fiction, and fourteen volumes of poetry in translation. He taught English, Creative Writing, and Hellenic Studies at Princeton for forty years and retired in 1994 as Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor of English. His latest books are Inventing Paradise: The Greek Journey, 1937-47, On Translation: Reflections and Conversations, Some Wine for Remembrance (a novel), and Borderlines: A Memoir.

His work has received the Rome Prize for fiction and the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Landon Award for Translation from the Academy of American Poets, the PEN-Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation from American PEN, and the Criticos Prize of the London Hellenic Society for non-fiction.

He has served as President of the Modern Greek Studies Association, Vice President of the Poetry Society of America, and President of PEN American Center. He is currently a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a corresponding member of the Academy of Athens, and a member of the American PEN Advisory Committee.

In 2001 the President of Greece named him Commander of the Order of the Phoenix for his contribution to Greek culture, and in 2002 he was elected Honorary Member of the Hellenic Authors' Society.