The winners of the 3rd annual Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction were announced on Saturday afternoon at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater in East Hampton. Eve Elliot took home the grand prize this year for her essay “The Life and Times of Miss Muffet,” while the two $500 runners up awards went to Shay Lower for “Paumanok’s Path” and Matthew McGevna for “An Early Rescue.”
Keynote speaker Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute and author of best-selling biographies of Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein, gave a riveting address, fresh off the ball field as he bee-lined it to the ceremony from the Artists and Writers Softball Game at nearby Herrick Park, where Dan Rattiner was also spotted umpiring the start of the game before heading to the awards ceremony.
Academy Award–winning actress Mercedes Ruehl read the winning entry, entertaining the house as she shared Eliot’s $5,000-winning story. Eliot was thrilled as she received her prize from Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio—who offered to help all three writers with contacts and guidance should they have dreams of publishing a book— but showed no first-time jitters. The John Drew stage is a familiar sight for her, as she was a runner-up in last year’s contest with her essay “Why the East End Is an Excellent Place to Die.” She was thrilled that so many people had turned out to support community and literature of the power and politics draws of Hillary Clinton’s book signing at BookHampton and the Artists-Writers Game.