DFLL Selected for 2019 Virginia Festival of the Book

So thrilled that Darkness Falls on the Land of Light has been selected for the 25th Annual Virginia Festival of the Book! I’m looking forward to chatting about the “people called New Lights” on a panel with fellow OI author Robert Parkinson. Our session will take place in Charlottesville on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 20, 2019. More details coming soon!

DFLL Receives Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Award from MHS

Darkness Falls on the Land of Light has been awarded the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Award from the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. This prestigious book prize honors the Rev. Peter Gomes (1942–2011), Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard Divinity School and a longtime supporter of the MHS.

The MHS is one of my favorite research haunts. I can still remember my first visit to Boylston Street over two decades ago. On that day, I discovered several important letters that anchor my analysis of the Great Earthquake of 1727. Over the years, regular trips to the MHS taught me critical archival research skills: from searching finding aids and card catalogs to handling rare books and manuscripts. I’ll always be grateful to the MHS archivists for sharing their incomparable expertise with unfailing good humor as I plowed through countless boxes and folders.

The award ceremony next February will feature a public forum in which I discuss DFLL with Wellesley College historian Stephen Marini. More details soon!

DFLL Finalist for Virginia Literary Awards

Darkness Falls on the Land of Light has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Virginia Literary Awards. Sponsored by the Library of the Virginia, the awards recognize works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about Virginia or by Virginia authors. It's a great honor to be recognized by the LVA, and I'm looking forward to meeting the other finalists, including nonfiction authors Donna Lucey and Liza Mundy, at the awards dinner in October!

DFLL Wins New England Society Book Award


At the annual Founders' Day celebration yesterday, the New England Society in the City of New York announced Darkness Falls on the Land of Light as the winner of their 2018 Book Award for nonfiction. Founded in 1805, the NES is one of the oldest social and charitable organizations in the United States. Notable members include presidents and politicians, bankers and industrialists, clergymen, reformers, artists, authors, poets, and other prominent American cultural figures with genealogical roots in New England. I was thrilled to learn that DFLL had been selected for this distinguished honor. Looking forward to the Book Awards Salon and Luncheon in June!  

DFLL: Bancroft Prize!


Earlier today, Columbia University announced that Darkness Falls on the Land of Light has been awarded one of three Bancroft Prizes for 2018, along with Waldo Heinrichs and Marc Gallicchio's  Implacable Foes and Louis S. Warren's God's Red Son. DFLL is the first Bancroft Prize winner published by the Omohundro Institute since 2003 (James F. Brooks, Captives and Cousins) and the third written by a current or former faculty member at the University of Richmond (Edward L. Ayers, In the Presence of Mine Enemies; Woody Holton, Abigail Adams). Only a handful of books on American religious history have received this distinguished award since its inception in 1948. Among them are several important studies that have played a formative role in my intellectual development, including Richard L. Bushman's From Puritan to Yankee, John L. Brooke's The Refiner's Fire, Christine Leigh Heyrman's Southern Cross, and George Marsden's Jonathan Edwards. It’s humbling to think that my scholarship now stands alongside these and other works by the titans of early American history, from Henry Nash Smith and Edmund S. Morgan to Robert A. Gross, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and Alan Taylor. I’d like to express my deepest thanks to Fredrika Teute, Paul Mapp, Nadine Zimmerli, and Kaylan Stevenson at the Omohundro Institute for bringing DFLL to life; to Chuck Grench and the University of North Carolina Press for co-publishing and promoting the book; and, especially, to the Columbia University Libraries and the Bancroft Prize selection committee for this amazing honor!


Darkness Falls on the Land of Light recently was named co-winner of the Book of the Year award by the Jonathan Edward Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I'm deeply grateful to the editors of Edwardseana for this wonderful accolade! For a review of the book and an interview in which I share some thoughts on the current state of scholarship on Jonathan Edwards and the Whitefieldian revivals, click the button below.