Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Commemorates 200th Birthday

Stowe Center Honors Half the Sky Authors With Inaugural Stowe Prize

Mar 23, 2011, 08:30 ET from Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

HARTFORD, Conn., March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is recognizing the 200th birthday of its namesake by honoring Half the Sky authors Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn with the inaugural Stowe Prize. Developed in honor of Harriet Beecher Stowe and the impact she made with Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Stowe Prize recognizes writing that targets social justice issues.

Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, changed how Americans thought about slavery in the mid-1800s, galvanizing the antislavery movement before the Civil War and creating an international outcry for abolition in the United States. Today the Stowe Center uses Stowe's story to link history to contemporary issues and inspire understanding and action.

Kristof and WuDunn's critically acclaimed book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, shares Stowe's strategy of motivating action by telling stories. The book highlights three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape.

"We are honored to present the inaugural Stowe Prize to Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn — two authors who have dedicated their lives to promoting change," said Katherine Kane, Executive Director of the Stowe Center. "It is appropriate to recognize Harriet Beecher Stowe's 200th birthday by honoring modern-day writers whose work shows the way toward change. Now more then ever we must focus on continuing Stowe's work by inspiring action."

WuDunn and Kristof are proud to be the recipients of an award that recognizes the importance of inspiring positive change.

"It is a tremendous honor for us to be selected as the first recipients of the Stowe Prize," said Kristof. "More than just a personal accomplishment, it is a powerful affirmation of the power of writing to influence change. We want to use our words to shed light on critical issues that challenge women worldwide."

The Stowe Center received 60 nominations for the first biennial Stowe Prize. Nominees were reviewed by a selection committee headed by Pulitzer Prize winner Debby Applegate and included Pulitzer Prize winner Joan D. Hedrick; Patricia Hill of Wesleyan University; Barbara Sicherman of Trinity College, emerita; Katherine D. Kane, Executive Director of the Stowe Center; and Amy Robinson, former Stowe Center board chair.

"Kristof and WuDunn's work — in their powerful writing and their influential activism — calls on us to act to empower the oppressed women of the world," said Debby Applegate, chair of the Stowe Prize Selection Committee. "Their way of making the often painful stories of real people come alive reminded the Selection Committee of how Harriet Beecher Stowe challenged deep cultural assumptions in her classic novel Uncle Tom's Cabin."

On June 9 Kristof and WuDunn will be featured in Inspiring Action: Real Stories of Social Change, a public salon presented by the Stowe Center. The salon is a discussion-based program that will be open to the public and accessible online. Details will be announced in May.

The $10,000 Stowe Prize will be awarded to the authors that evening during the Stowe Prize Big Tent Jubilee, a fundraising event for the Center's education programs.

For the 200th anniversary of Stowe's birth, the Stowe Center is presenting a series of events and programs throughout 2011. Programs include a 24-hour reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Salons at Stowe series and a community open house on Stowe's birthday.

For more information about the Stowe Prize and events marking Harriet Beecher Stowe's Bicentennial, please contact stoweprize@stowecenter.org.

About the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center (www.harrietbeecherstowe.org) is a museum and program center that uses the story of Stowe's life and work to inspire social justice and positive change.  Located at 77 Forest Street in Hartford, CT, the Center is open year round for tours and programs.  

SOURCE Harriet Beecher Stowe Center