VMFA Annual Literary Award

Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award

Sponsored jointly by the VMFA and Library of Virginia, Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award celebrates the connection between art and literature with an award for books published on the visual arts the previous year. This award is presented during Library of Virginia’s annual Virginia Literary Festival each October.

To be eligible for this award, books, which may be in a variety of genres of prose or poetry, must have been published in the previous calendar year, in English, and in the United States. Each year a panel of judges composed of authorities in the fields of the visual arts and literature  review the nominated works and select the finalists and the award winner.

Nominations for Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award may be submitted through the Virginia Literary Festival website.

2020 Winner: Philip J. Deloria, Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract

For further information on this year’s award.


2020 Mary Lynn Kotz Award Information

Award winning author Philip J. Deloria will give a virtual presentation about his book Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract and converse with Dr. Johanna Minich, Assistant Curator of Native American Art, about the genre. Signed books will be for sale from the VMFA Shop. This event is on Link to the facebook live event –  October 16th from 6 pm – 7:30 pm. Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award is a virtual event in partnership with the Library of Virginia. For more information on this year’s award visit

About Mary Lynn Kotz

The award is named in honor of author and journalist Mary Lynn Kotz, a longtime contributing editor for ARTnews magazine, who has built a career interviewing, researching, writing, and lecturing about art and artists—among them Georgia O’Keeffe and John Cage. Her critically acclaimed book Rauschenberg/Art and Life (Abrams) balances deft observations of craft with a biographer’s chronicle of the American artist’s (1925–2008) innovations, experiences, and extensive collaborations. A best-selling author with four other nonfiction books, for years Mrs. Kotz has spoken passionately to arts and literary organizations and general audiences about the need for clear, exciting writing about art. Through her consistent service to cultural institutions and initiatives, including many in her beloved Virginia, Kotz has shown a lifelong commitment to making the arts a vital and illuminating presence in our society.

Past Winners

2019 – Mary Gabriel – Ninth Street Women
2018 – Donna M. LuceySargent’s Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas
2017 – Dawn TrippGeorgia
2016 – Patrick HorriganPortraits at an Exhibition
2015 – Susan VreelandLisette’s List
2014 – Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda – The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo
2013 – Orhan PamukThe Innocence of Objects