Cyrus Copeland’s ‘Off the Radar’ wins 2016 Chautauqua Prize

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As author of the winning book, Copeland receives a cash prize and a one-week summer residency at Chautauqua Institution, Aug. 7 to 13, 2016.

Off the Radar by Cyrus Copeland

Off the Radar by Cyrus Copeland

I'm grateful to the book lovers and tastemakers at Chautauqua, and humbled to be in the company of other great authors.

Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce "Off the Radar: A Father’s Secret, a Mother’s Heroism, and a Son’s Quest" (Blue Rider Press) by Cyrus M. Copeland as the 2016 winner of The Chautauqua Prize.

As author of the winning book, Copeland receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for himself and his family for a one-week summer residency at Chautauqua from Aug. 7 to 13, 2016. A public reading will be announced in the coming days.

Copeland received news of the Prize while abroad, preparing to embark on the Camino de Santiago which, he said, “makes this the first time a blessing was delivered before a pilgrimage.”

"I'm grateful to the book lovers and tastemakers at Chautauqua,” Copeland said, “and humbled to be in the company of other great authors.”

"Off the Radar" is a story only Copeland could tell — that of his American father arrested in Iran for spying at the time of the 1979 hostage crisis, then put on trial for his life in a Revolutionary Court. "Off the Radar" is a memoir and mystery, a spy story and a tale of the relationship between father and son. The book is “an intriguing story well told,” Chautauqua readers said, lauding it as being an “outstanding” work of “timeless and timely material.”

Copeland attended Haverford College and Villanova University, and received his MBA from Cornell. He is a former advertising executive and the editor of two collections: "Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time" and "A Wonderful Life: 50 Eulogies to Lift the Spirit." Copeland has appeared on NPR and the BBC and has written about his experiences and the art of remembrance for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Slate and The Huffington Post.

The Chautauqua Prize, this year awarded for the fifth time, is an annual prize that celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. Previous winners include "The Sojourn," by Andrew Krivak (2012); "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher," by Timothy Egan (2013); "My Foreign Cities," by Elizabeth Scarboro (2014); and "Redeployment," by Phil Klay (2015).

Details on The Chautauqua Prize are available online at Books published in 2016 will be accepted as submissions for the 2017 prize beginning in September 2016.

With a history steeped in the literary arts, Chautauqua Institution is the home of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, founded in 1878, which honors at least nine outstanding books of fiction, nonfiction, essays and poetry every summer. Further literary arts programming at Chautauqua includes summer-long interaction of published and aspiring writers at the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, the intensive workshops of the nationally recognized Chautauqua Writers’ Festival, and lectures by prominent authors on the art and craft of writing.

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