Dappled Things honors the three best essays published in the journal in a year through the Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction. Maritain was an influential 20th century Thomist philosopher and Catholic convert whose work covered a wide range of topics, including metaphysics and epistemology, ethics and politics, and—significantly for us—literature and art. His book Art and Scholasticism has been a major influence on Dappled Things’ own approach to aesthetics.
As publisher, I am delighted to share with you the editors’ selections from among the nonfiction pieces we published in 2020. The winners are:
“Burning My Education: Rediscovering the Basics of Story” by Andrew Graff
Last year’s crop of nonfiction was particularly strong and it was very hard settle on a final three, so while our congratulations go especially to the winners, our deepest thanks go to all writers whose essays we had the honor of publishing. This is a truly exciting time for Catholic literature and art, and critical work of the kind undertaken by this year’s awardees plays a crucial role in nurturing, refining, explicating, and drawing attention to this budding movement. It was particularly delightful that this year’s winner, A Fast That Is Pleasing to the Eyes, not only engages directly with our prize’s namesake and attempts to further his insights, but takes as its starting point a life-changing aesthetic experience that all the prize judges immediately recognized, and which the essay fruitfully contemplates.
Whether you had a chance to read these pieces when they were originally published or not, I invite you to spend some time with them and let expand your vision, whet your appetite for beauty, and perhaps even inspire you to send us some of your own work this year.