Discovered: Lapata

Ralph Luker, at Cliopatria, announces the Annual Cliopatria Awards in the History blogosphere. Guess who won a 2010!

Best Writer: Lapata @ Chapati Mystery

Lapata’s essays are not so much written as they are assembled, careful collages of visuals, text, and quotations always cunningly integrated into architectural unities. Her style always serves her subject: in pieces like “The Reluctant Feudalist,” the contrapuntal conversation she stages between writers and readers, past and present, catches so much more of what is ambiguous or fragmentary about her subject that a more didactic or polemic style would ever allow. In “The Stay-at-Home Man,” her narrative pursuit of the elusive and mystifying Naiyer Masud is just as appropriately elusive as the author himself. It is the mark of a superb writer that calling her a south-Asian historian, literary critic, visual artist, or narrative non-fiction writer doesn’t seem to quite catch the totality. It’s the particular way she combines all at once — with never a comma or full-stop out of place, never a tiresome clause — that makes her writing shine.

We are so very, very proud.

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