Chestertown, MD, February 15, 2007 — Washington College is pleased to announce the appointment of Joan Katherine Smith as the new George Washington Book Prize Coordinator.
Smith, an award-winning freelance journalist and longtime staff writer/editor for the San Francisco Examiner, brings a wealth of publishing-industry experience to her new role as overseer of one of the nation's largest writing prizes.
Jointly presented by Washington College, Mount Vernon and the New York-based Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, the George Washington Book Prize annually awards $50,000 to an author whose book sheds new light on the Revolution/Founding period of American history. Washington College's involvement in the prize is managed by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.
"Joan brings to the Book Prize job exceptional skills and contacts as a reporter and editor," said Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center. "She's also one of those very rare writers who are just as delightful in person as on the page—with all the sparkling intelligence, curiosity and charm that shine through her published work. I am thrilled to welcome her onboard at the Starr Center."
For Smith, the job description was ideal. "I love books," she said, "and I love early American history. The George Washington Book Prize is attracting more and more entrants from top national publishers each year, so it's a wonderful time to be getting involved with it."
Smith has won seven writing prizes, including the Penney-Missouri Award for Individual Reporting. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Vogue and O: the Oprah Magazine.
At the San Francisco Examiner, Smith was especially noted for her interviews and profiles of well known authors and public figures, including Jimmy Carter, Salman Rushdie, Joyce Carol Oates, John Irving, E.L. Doctorow, Bob Woodward, Kazuo Ishiguru, Isabel Allende and A.S. Byatt. In addition to serving on the staff of the Examiner, Smith also was a senior editor atRedbook.