Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013
By Ben Beagle Special to The Daily News
Former history teacher Peter Troy’s debut novel, which was the 2013 selection for the “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project, will be honored next month with a literary award for writing about the Civil War.
“May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction by the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.
“This honor is a wonderful tribute to my father who instilled in me is love for history,” Troy said in an email.
Troy will receive his award Nov. 19 — the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address — during a ceremony in Gettysburg, Pa. The $5,000 prize, named for the author of the acclaimed Civil War novel “Killer Angels,” will be presented by Jeffrey Shaara, son of the award’s namesake.
The day’s ceremonies include a parade in full costume early in the day, then a reading of the Gettysburg Address at the cemetery. At night, a banquet at Gettysburg College will be followed by a walk to the local theater for the Fortenbaugh Lecture. The presentation of the Shaara Prize will be done before the lecture.
“May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” (Doubleday) is a sprawling historical novel that spans the first major wave of Irish immigration to New York in the 1840s through the end of the Civil War. The novel features four distinct characters: Ethan McOwen, an Irish immigrant who survived the worst of the Ireland’s Great Famine only to find his endurance tested and discovers a passion for photography in the rough-and-tumble Five Points section of Brooklyn; Marcella, a society girl from Spain who defies her father to become a passionate Abolitionist; and Mary and Micah, slaves who embark on a tumultuous path to freedom.
The four lives unfold in two love stories, which eventually collide when the Civil War brings them all together.
Troy’s novel received strong reviews from professional library journals. The Shaara Prize is its first award.
Troy visited Batavia, Medina and Perry in March for a series of talks and booksignings for Tale, a project that encourages readers in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties to read the same book, discuss it and then meet the author. Troy returned Oct. 18 for a fundraising dinner in which Karen Thompson Walker’s “The Age of Miracles” was announced as the 2014 Tale book pick.
The Shaara Prize, established in 1997, is presented to a novel published during the current calendar year that encourages “fresh approaches to Civil War fiction,” according to its eligibility guidelines.
Last year, the Prize was presented to Sharon Ewell Foster for “The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part One: The Witnesses.”
Michael Shaara, who died in 1988, was the author of the acclaimed novel “Killer Angels,” which was made into the 1993 movie “Gettysburg.” Jeffrey Shaara wrote “Gods and Generals,” another acclaimed novel of the Civil War that was adapted into a 2003 film.
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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation