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College Celebrates Winner of Washington Prize, Nick Bunker, with Sept. 25 Event
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Financial crises. Political turmoil. Nations and empires crumbling from speculation and overexpansion. Such scenarios crowd the hourly newsfeeds of our mobile devices and television screens. And as Nick Bunker, winner of the 2015 George Washington Book Prize, vividly demonstrates, they also contributed to the birth of the United States more than 200 years ago. Bunker’s winning book, An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America (Knopf),a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize, vividly recounts the outbreak of the American Revolution as a global story of financial mismanagement, political bungling, and military disaster.
Bunker, a former journalist and investment banker, will speak about the book at Washington College on Friday, September 25, at 5:00 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. A book signing will begin at 4:00 p.m. in Underwood Lobby, and a reception will be held after the talk. Hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, all events are free and open to the public.
The full schedule for the Book Prize celebration on Friday, September 25 is as follows:
4:00 to 4:45 p.m. - Nick Bunker, Book Signing in Underwood Lobby, Gibson Center for the Arts
4:00 p.m. - Performance by the Capital Fifes and Drums in Martha Washington Square
5:00 p.m. - “Making History: A Conversation with Nick Bunker and Adam Goodheart,” in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts
6:00 p.m. - Public Reception in Underwood Lobby, Gibson Center for the Arts
The $50,000 Washington Prize was awarded to Bunker at a black-tie dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in May. Sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Mount Vernon, the Washington Prize is one of the largest literary prizes in the nation. Awarded annually for the year’s best book about America’s founding era, it particularly recognizes well-written books that contribute to a broad public understanding of the American past.
When Bunker, who lives in England, visits Washington College this month for the Prize celebration, he will meet with students and engage in a number of campus-wide activities, including representing his alma mater Kings College, Cambridge University,in the processional during the inauguration of the college’s new president, Sheila Bair.
An Empire on the Edge is Bunker’s second book. He also authored Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History (2011). The Washington Prize jury praised An Empire on the Edge for its global perspective, lively character portrayals, well-crafted narrative, and compelling accounts of both familiar events such as the Boston Tea Party and lesser-known episodes such as the Gaspee Affair. “Bunker’s book takes readers from the wharves of Boston to the halls of Parliament and the tea plantations of China,” said Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which administers the prize. “He shows us that the fate of the American colonies depended on events in all of those places. This is historical narrative at its most engrossing.”
The Washington Prize was created in 2005 and was awarded that year to Ron Chernow for Alexander Hamilton, the book that subsequently inspired playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda’s current Broadway hit Hamilton. Learn more about the Prize at www.washcoll.edu/gwbookprize.
About the Sponsors of the George Washington Book Prize:
Founded in 1782, Washington College was the first institution of higher learning established in the new republic. George Washington was not only a principal donor to the College, but also a member of its original governing board. He received an honorary degree from the College in June 1789, two months after assuming the presidency. The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, founded at the College in 2000, is an innovative center for the study of history, culture and politics, and fosters excellence in the art of written history through fellowships, prizes, and student programs. www.washcoll.edu.
Founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education. The Institute has developed an array of programs for schools, teachers and students that now operate in all 50 states, including a website that features the more than 60,000 unique historical documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection, http://www.gilderlehrman.org. Each year the Institute offers support and resources to tens of thousands of teachers, and through them enhances the education of more than a million students. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Organization of American Historians.
Since 1860, more than 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. Mount Vernon is located 16 miles from the nation’s capital, at the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway. http://www.MountVernon.org