The Westport Library has a new award: the Westport Prize for Literature.
The first honoree — author Zadie Smith — will be feted in person November 12.
The new annual prize is for an original work of fiction that explores issues in contemporary society. Smith was recognized this year for “The Fraud.” It’s “a kaleidoscopic work of historical fiction set against the legal trial that divided Victorian England, about who gets to tell their story — and who gets to be believed.”
The prize will be administered by a committee of Westport resident volunteers. An independent jury will choose the winner.
Steering committee chair Candice Savin calls Smith “an icon in letters, and an inspiration to writers — and a delight for readers — everywhere.”
She wrote the novels “White Teeth,” “The Autograph Man,” “On Beauty,” “NW” and “Swing Time,” and the novella “The Embassy of Cambodia.” She is a 3-time nominee for the Booker Prize, and last year was honored with the PEN America Literary Service Award.
This is the last week for the nearly month-long run of “On Golden Pond,” at the Ivorytown Playhouse in Essex.
Which means the end of the daily commute for 3 local residents. Two-time Tony Award winner James Naughton, and Fairfield’s Mia Dillon, co-star in the show about an older couple, and others, at a lakeside cottage.
Westporter Stacie Lewis plays Naughton and Dillon’s daughter.
James Naughton, with Mia Dillon and Stacie Lewis, at the Ivoryton Playhouse.
Audiences have loved the production. Click here for more information.
Speaking of entertainment:
Staples High School sophomore Andrew Maskoff recently reached the National Association of Teachers of Singing semifinals.
Andrew is a familiar face. He assistant music directed Staples Players’ “Twelfth Night,” and played in the pit for many shows. He sings with Orphenians, and studies privately with Wendy Morgan-Hunter.
Besides singing, Andrew is a superb pianist. He studies with Tatiana Pikayzen, and won won the Schubert Club Award for Romantic and Modern Composers. He also plays multiple instruments, is in Staples’ Jazz Workshop, and also composes music.
He reached the semifinals after state competition, and the national quarterfinals, with hundreds of other singers. Click below for one of the tracks he submitted.
What’s next in Weston?
Well, it’s actually statewide. But in this week’s “What’s Next in Weston” podcast, State Senator Ceci Maher discusses important new — and strengthened — gun control legislation with 1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor.
This legislation was passed at 4 a.m. Saturday morning. Dick Kalt spoke with Senator Maher 9 hours later, for the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston episode.
Click below to listen:
Speaking of important issues:
Last week at the Westport Library, Roosevelt Institute director of climate policy Rhiana Gunn-Wright explored the interconnections between environmental and racial justice. She also spoke about how to cultivate regional responses to the climate crisis, noting that environmental impacts cross town lines.
Click below to see:
A few real estate facts from May:
26 units were sold. That’s down 40% from May of 2022.
The median sales price of $2.6 million was up 27% from last year. The median sales price per square foot of $568 was also up, by 15%. (Hat tip: Meredith Cohen of William Raveis)
This 8-bedroom, 12-bathroom, 13,128-square foot home on 7.27 acres on Hedley Farms Road in Greens Farms is on the market for $11,995,000.
An early morning fire drew a quick response, on Old Hill Road.
Three occupants of a barn, including an apartment, were alert to the blaze by the property owner, and evacuated.
Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to other sections of the U-shaped structure.
Mutual aid from Fairfield and Norwalk fire departments were on the scene and at Westport fire headquarters. Westport Police and Westport also
The 3 displaced occupants received help from Westport Human Services and the American Red Cross.
Three firefighters received minor injuries.
Quick work prevented the blaze from spreading to other parts of the barn. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)
Guitarists Kenny Wessel and Rale Micic headline this Thursday’s Jazz at the Post.
Wessel — known for his “adventurous voice, unrelenting swing and sensitive accompaniment skills,” is a Westport favorite. He and Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall — who will join in on sax — have played together for 30 years.
Serbian guitarist and composer Micic “skillfully fuses culture with timeless jazz.”
Joining those 3 are bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Eric Halvorson.
Shows are 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399, on June 8. Dinner service starts at 7 p.m. There is a $15 cover. Reservations are strongly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.
Kenny Wessel and Rale Micic.
We’re always looking for new creatures to feature on “Westport … Naturally.”
We’ve got one today. Longtime Westporter — and ophthalmologist — Mark Steckel zeroed in on his specialty. He writes:
“This snake was hiding in the vinca that surrounds my pinky-winky hydrangea, though I never saw him wink. But of course, he can’t: Snakes have no eyelids.”
And finally … in honor of Mark Steckel’s image (above):
(Don’t be a snake! Please contribute to your hyper-local blog! Just click here — and thank you!)