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Kitty Kelley Wins the 2023 BIO AwardApril 2023
Kitty Kelley has won the 14th BIO Award, bestowed annually by the Biographers International Organization, to a distinguished colleague who has made major contributions to the advancement of the art and craft of biography.
She is the author of seven biographical works: Oprah: A Biography (2010), The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty (2004), The Royals (1997), Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography (1991), His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra (1986), Elizabeth Taylor: The Last Star (1981), and Jackie Oh! (1978).
Widely regarded as the foremost expert and author of unauthorized biography, Kelley has displayed courage and deftness in writing unvarnished accounts of some of the most powerful figures in politics, media, and popular culture. Of her art and craft, Kelley said, in American Scholar, "I do not relish living in a world where information is authorized, sanitized, and homogenized. I read banned books, I applaud whistleblowers, and I reject any suppression by church or state. To me, the unauthorized biography, which requires a combination of scholarly research and investigative reporting, is best directed at those figures still alive and able to defend themselves, who exercise power over our lives. . . . I firmly believe that unauthorized biography can be a public service and a boon to history."
Among other awards, Kelley was the recipient of: the 2005 PEN Oakland/Gary Webb Anti-Censorship Award; the 2014 Founders' Award for Career Achievement, given by the American Society of Journalists and Authors; and, in 2016, a Lifetime Achievement Award, given by The Washington Independent Review of Books. Her impressive list of lectures and presentations includes: leading a winning debate team in 1993, at the University of Oxford, under the premise "This House Believes That Men Are Still More Equal Than Women;" and, in 1998, a lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School for Government on the subject "Public Figures: Are Their Private Lives Fair Game for the Press?" In addition, Kelley was named by Vanity Fair to its Hall of Fame as part of the "Media Decade" and she has been a New York Times bestseller multiple times.