Dr. Linda Leavell, professor emerita of English at OSU, won the Plutarch Award for best biography of 2013 as judged by fellow biographers. Leavell won for her book titled Holding on Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore.
Named after the Ancient Greek biographer, the prize is the genre’s equivalent of the Oscar, in that the winner was determined by secret ballot by members of Biographers International Organization (BIO) from a list of nominees selected by a committee of distinguished members of the craft.
Leavell began working on Holding on Upside Down in 2005, thanks to a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship. Moore, the subject of the biography, was an innovative poet best known for her animal poems such as “The Pangolin.” Her estate granted Leavell full support to pen the biography.
BIO announced Leavell’s award at a Boston, Mass. gala ceremony on May 17. Other finalists for the award were:
Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin
Brian Jay Jones, Jim Henson: The Biography
Ray Monk, Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center
This is the second year the Plutarch has been awarded. In 2013, the award was given to Robert Caro for his The Passage of Power.