Monday, March 22, 2010

Sacco Wins Ridenhour Prize

For the first time, the Ridenhour Book Prize will be given to a comic book. Joe Sacco's graphic novel "Footnotes in Gaza" has won the award, which carries a $10,000 dollar prize.

Ron Ridenhour was the Vietnam Veteran whose 1969 letter to Congress and the Pentagon brought the My Lai massacre to light. Ridenhour went on to have a successful career as an investigative journalist and the prizes named after him - the book prize, a career prize and a prize for truth-telling - are awarded to writers and journalists who strive to "protect the public interest, promote social justice or illuminate a more just vision of society."

Footnotes in Gaza is the story of two forgotten incidents in Palestine - the 1956 mass killings of Palestinians in Rafah and Khan Younis. The statement from the Ridenhour committee notes that the book is a work of "profound social significance, one that explores the complex continuum of history. At a time when peace in the Middle East has never seemed more elusive, Sacco's illustrations bear witness to the lives of those who are trapped by the conflict." The award itself will be presented in April in Washington, DC.

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