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  • Robinson’s new book 'Music Hall: How a City Built a Theater and a Theater Shaped a City' wins Gold IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award

    PORTSMOUTHGreat Life Press is proud to announce that Music Hall: How a City Built a Theater and a Theater Shaped a City by J. Dennis Robinson recently won Gold in the 32nd annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ category of History. Robinson’s history book on The Music Hall documents Portsmouth’s arts culture from the very beginning and the role the theater has played over the years. The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ recognizes that Music Hall was one of the most successful in achieving its purpose and meeting its intended audience’s needs. Celebrating excellence in book editorial and design, the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ are sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). 


    “This book is much more than its title suggests. It is a beautifully illustrated and designed survey of the cultural activities that a landmark building has helped to foster,” said the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award Judge. “The author writes with great professionalism and confidence, showing deep respect for the advocates of the arts over time who first of all achieved construction of the landmark and have since sustained its role as the enduring centerpiece of a lively, innovative and enduring performing arts scene in the heart of the New England coastline.”


    "J. Dennis Robinson deserves the judges’ praise for this great book. It is much more than just the history of The Music Hall—it's a valuable contribution to the history of New Hampshire, Portsmouth in particular,” said Grace Pierce, publisher of Great Life Press. “I agree it is a book that should be read, not just thumbed through. If you don't read it, you are missing a real gem! Dennis's deep respect and reverence for the subject and Zhana Morris's excellent research shine through on every page. Thank you to the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) Benjamin Franklin awards for honoring us with their Gold award in the History topic. Great Life Press is honored to receive this prestigious award." 


    About the Author

    J. Dennis Robinson is a columnist, lecturer, and public historian. He is the author of a dozen narrative history books on topics ranging from Jesse James, Lord Baltimore, and child labor exploitation to Wentworth by the Sea Hotel, Strawbery Banke Museum, Privateer Lynx, archaeology at the Isles of Shoals, and the infamous 1873 Smuttynose Island ax murders. He lives in Portsmouth, just across the swirling Piscataqua River from Maine.


    About the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™

    Named in honor of America’s cherished publisher and printer, the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ recognize excellence in independent publishing. Books are grouped by genre and judged on merit by industry experts including buyers at wholesale and retail levels, librarians, book critics, design experts, and independent publishing consultants. Panels of over 160 judges evaluated over 1,700 submissions in 55 categories to create the list of this year’s finalists and winners.


    Due to restrictions on travel and gatherings related to COVID-19, this year’s IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award ceremony for titles with a copyright date of 2019 were presented via a virtual “shelter-in-place” program held on the evenings of May 5, 6, 7, 8, 2020. During the special online program, winners were recognized for setting the standards and pace for the publishing industry via category-specific videos.


    About the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

    With more than 3,300 members, the nonprofit IBPA is the largest trade association representing independent publishers in the United States. Founded in 1983, its mission is to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. 


    About The Music Hall

    The Music Hall is an active and vital cultural center in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, dedicated to the advancement of the tri-state region’s cultural life through the performing arts, literature, and education. A community-supported 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, it presents entertainment from around the world and around the corner—the greatest musicians, writers, and performers of the time, extraordinary films and award-winning documentaries. Its 600 yearly events delight an annual audience of 100,000 (including 20,000 children) in two theaters—an 1878 Victorian-era Historic Theater and modern and intimate Loft space. The Music Hall was recently named Editors’ Choice “Best All-Around Entertainment” by Yankee Magazine and is a federally designated “American Treasure for the Arts.” Through innovative community partnerships, it subsidizes thousands of tickets each year to make the arts accessible to all. The Music Hall is community-oriented and committed to helping the Seacoast region flourish. 


    Web: www.TheMusicHall.org | Twitter: @MusicHall | Facebook: /musichall | YouTube: /musichallnh


    “The crown jewel of Portsmouth’s cultural scene” - Yankee Magazine

    “The beating cultural heart of New Hampshire's seacoast” - Boston Globe