Val Bodurtha has won over two dozen writing awards, mostly in humor. She recently graduated, with a major in classics and minor in statistics from the University of Chicago, where she honed her improv, sketch and stand-up comedy. She has had three plays staged, and currently, has three films she wrote in production. ''The History Makers" is her first novel.
Awards and Recognition
- "The History Makers" won a coveted Silver Benjamin Franklin award in teen fiction from the Independent Book Publishers Association, the largest publishing association in the U.S. in March 2018.
- "Making a Killing," a darkly satiric play that Val wrote in college for New Work Week at UChicago's Logan Arts Theater in spring 2017, has gone on to become a finalist in the 2018 Shakespeare in the 'Burg one-act playwriting competition.
- Winner of the Performing Arts Leadership Award in spring 2018, from UChicago's Theater and Performing Studies department.
- Winner in spring 2018 of a Campus Life & Leadership Award, from the University of Chicago.
- David Shelton Memorial Fellowship Award. Lizzie Koch Heart and Hand Character Award. President Obama's Volunteer Service Award. Winner of multiple Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards
Press and Media Mentions
- NPR's Suzanne Lang of "A Novel Idea" calls Val Bodurtha's debut novel a "chilling, funny, and a smart coming of age story" and told listeners Val was an author "you will want to remember," "a young talent who we'll be watching for awhile because she's a force of nature. Her energy and scope of talent and ambition are undeniable." Interview aired Dec. 10, 2017 on KOWS FM and again on Dec. 31, over KRCB-FM Radio 91. Listen here: http://bit.ly/2EFprR8
- In March 2018, Forbes checked in on #WaxPaulNow, the hair-brained scheme by Val and her pals to cajole Madame Tussaud into adding a wax likeness of Paul Giamatti to its collection as an ode to "something or someone deserving going unnoticed for too long." As Val told Forbes, "maybe your Wax Paul Giamatti is your friend who deserves that promotion and is continually passed over. Maybe it’s that album you adored that didn’t even score a Grammy nomination. Or maybe your Wax Paul Giamatti you, every time you sell yourself short."
- "Doing your homework pays,'' writes Lisa Herndon in the Oct. 27, 2017 edition of The Riverdale Press. "It did for Valerie Bodurtha in a way she never expected."
- How a 2- to 3-page homework assignment for history class caught a teacher's eye and turned into a 313-page, debut novel, reports The Horace Mann Record.
- A "clever alternative history written by Bodurtha, a 20-year-old college student who got the idea for the book after taking an AP history class at Horace Mann," wrote Mackenzie Dawson, who mentioned the book as a must-read in her "Required Reading" column for the New York Post on July 30, 2017.
- “I had been expecting more essay-like responses, but a few students took a more creative-writing approach," Dr. Susan Groppi, the history teacher whose HW assignment furnished the spark for "The History Makers," told the Stamford Advocate. “They were all interesting responses, but Val’s was amazing. She jumped straight ahead to imagining what life would look like in an Aztec empire that survived and thrived for centuries. How would they develop new technologies to solve their problems? How would their religion evolve to meet the needs of a larger society? How would their forms of government adapt, and how would people respond?"
- "'Making a Killing' is a superbly funny, thoughtful vignette of Tom—a twenty-something still joined at the hip to his mother." -- The Chicago Maroon's review of play Val wrote and directed for New Work Week, 2017.
- "Bodurtha’s storytelling humor drew ample laughs from the crowd. Her content was relatable and honest—from jokes about dating to family life—and her delivery was well-timed. She’s clearly seasoned." -- The Chicago Maroon's review of the night Val opened for Jerrod Carmichael.