On April 23rd, the Heinz Family Foundation named New Yorker Cartoonist Roz Chast the recipient of the 20th Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities category for her 2014 graphic memoir Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? An only child, Chast recorded her experiences caring for her aging parents in their final years with drawings and hand-written text, mixing honesty, humor, and heartbreak while coping with the difficulties of end-of-life care.
One of the youngest and first female cartoonists to be published in The New Yorker, Chast has built a prolific and successful career over the past 37 years, excelling at “finding humor in the anxieties, insecurities and neuroses of everyday modern life.” Her illustrations have appeared in a number of publications, including Scientific American and Harvard Business Review, as well as her own collections and children’s books. Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle award for autobiography, the 2014 Kirkus Prize for autobiography and memoir, and was finalist for the nonfiction 2014 National Book Award.
The Heinz Award, founded in honor of the late U. S. Senator John Heinz, recognizes individuals who have made “significant contributions in five distinct areas of great importance to Senator Heinz.” More information about Roz Chast and her memoir, or the 20th Heinz Award, can be found on the foundation’s website.