Originally broadcast at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday, August 5, 2022.
Chautauqua Institution presents author Rebecca Donner with the 2022 Chautauqua Prize for her book All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler, followed by a public reading by Donner. Awarded annually since 2012, The Chautauqua Prize celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and to honor the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler is Donner’s chronicle of the extraordinary life and brutal death of her great-great-aunt Mildred Harnack, the American leader of one of the largest underground resistance groups in Germany during World War II — the only American in the leadership of the German resistance, in fact, yet almost unknown until now. Donner draws on her extensive archival research as well as newly uncovered documents in her family archive, fusing elements of biography, real-life political thriller, and scholarly detective story. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days has won the 2022 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and the 2022 PEN /Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Plutarch Award. The book was also selected as a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2021, a New York Times Notable Book, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and was named one of the Best Books of 2021 by The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and The Economist. A Hebrew translation is forthcoming from Matar Publishing in Israel. Donner was recently awarded a 2022 Guggenheim fellowship. She was a 2018–19 fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York, is a two-time Yaddo fellow, and has twice been awarded fellowships by the Ucross Foundation. She has also held residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Vermont Studio Center. Donner is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and has taught at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and Barnard College. Born in Canada, Donner was educated at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University. She is the author of Sunset Terrace, a critically acclaimed novel, and Burnout, a graphic novel about ecoterrorism. More information about The Chautauqua Prize can be found at prize.chq.org.
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.