Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award of 1923

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Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award of 1923

Three Books, Three Presenters, One Winner for the Best Book of 1923!

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Boston Public Library -Rabb Hall & Zoom 700 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116

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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award of 1923

The Associates of the Boston Public Library cordially invites you to participate in our Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award competition, which will weigh the enduring literary merits of three bestsellers published in 1923. This year’s contenders are Felix Salten’s Bambi, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Links. The books will be championed by Harvard Professor Maria Tatar; historian, Paul Wright; and mystery writer, Julie Hennrikus, respectively. Boston radio host Kennedy Elsey will moderate the lighthearted debate, after which the audience will vote to determine the winner of the Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award of 1923

This is a free hybrid event. Please contact the Associates office with any questions via or 617-536-3886.


The Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award will take place in Rabb Hall at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The event will also be live-streamed via Zoom. Additional details about the virtual component will be sent closer to the event.

Following the in-person event, the audience is invited to celebrate the winner of the 1923 Book Award at a reception in the NewsFeed Cafe on the first floor of the BPL's Boylston Street Building.

For more details about the Associates of the Boston Public Library, the presenters, or the book selections, please visit our website.

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Book Champions

Maria Tatar

Maria Tatar will present Felix Salten’s, Bambi, a Life in the Woods. She is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. Her expertise lies in children's literature, German literature, and folklore, and her most recent work, The Annotated Peter Pan, commemorates 100 years of J.M. Barrie's novel Peter and Wendy. She has written books about Weimar Culture, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and childhood reading. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has written for the New York Times, the New Republic, and the Harvard Crimson. Her work has been featured on the Today Show and in Harvard Magazine.

Paul Wright

Paul Wright will present Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Paul is a book historian and freelance writer and editor who is currently coordinating a South End Oral History Project, funded by American Historical Association, for the South End Historical Society and the UMass Boston Archives. He also serves on the board of the South End Historical Society and is writing a book on the Harvard Classics. He was the Editor of the UMass Press from 1988 to 2006 where he started as a production and acquisitions editor. He also was Executive Editor of the Book Series, Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book, from 1994–2006 and Sponsoring Editor of the Book Series, American Popular Music from 2001–2006.

Julie Hennrikus

Julie Hennrikus will present Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Links. She is the author of ten mystery novels including the Clock Shop Mystery Series and the Garden Squad Mysteries. Her most recent release, The Plot Thickens, is the fifth Garden Squad Mystery set in fictional Goosebush, Massachusetts. Her short stories have been published in the Thin Ice anthology, Dead Calm, and Blood Moon. She was recently named the Executive Director of Sisters in Crime, the national association that advocates for women writers of crime novels, and she also hosts the weekly Sisters in Crime Writers’ Podcast. Julie has taught at Emerson and Boston College and was Executive Director of StageSource, a theater artist and company service organization.

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Kennedy Elsey

Kennedy Elsey is the co-host of the popular morning radio program, Karson and Kennedy, on Mix 104.1. She grew up in suburban Chicago and graduated from Drake University with a double major in Theater and Psychology. Kennedy is deeply involved in community events and runs a program called Karson & Kennedy’s Cool Kids. Cool Kids brings amazing kids who have overcome adversity on fun adventures, at no cost to the kid or their families. She is also an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness serving on the board for Samaritans and raising funds with her program "Your Light Is Needed." Kennedy lives in Quincy with the most stable man in her life, her Lab, Elvis.