Boston College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program faculty member and noted writer Andrew Krivak is the inaugural winner of the Chautauqua Prize, a new national literary award, for his first novel, The Sojourn. The Chautauqua Prize celebrates books that offer a rich and rewarding reading experience and recognizes the winning author for his or her significant contribution to the literary arts. “I feel honored to be part of this new tradition at Chautauqua Institution, and to be recognized by a place with such a long-standing commitment to art and literature in America,” Krivak said.
Inspired by Andrew Krivak’s personal family history, The Sojourn is the story of Jozef Vinich, who was uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy to return with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef joins his cousin and brother-in-arms as a sharpshooter on the southern front, where he must survive a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps and capture by a victorious enemy.
As poetic as Cold Mountain and The English Patient, this novel grips readers with chilling scenes of death and survival as it evokes a time when Czechs, Slovaks, Austrians, Hungarians, and Germans fought on the same side while divided by language, ethnicity, and social class in the most brutal war to date. It is also a poignant tale of fathers and sons, addressing the great immigration to America and the desire to live the American dream amid the unfolding tragedy in Europe.
Krivak is also the author of A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life, a memoir about his eight years in the Jesuit Order, and editor of The Letters of William Carlos Williams to Edgar Irving Williams, 1902-1912, winner of the 2009 Louis Martz Prize. The grandson of Slovak immigrants, he grew up in Pennsylvania, has lived in London, and has taught at Harvard, Boston College, and the College of the Holy Cross. Krivak lives with his wife and three children in Somerville, Massachusetts. The Sojourn is his first novel.