Jennifer Homans has won the Biographers International Organization’s 2023 Plutarch Award for Mr. B: George Balanchine’s 20th Century.

Homans’ biography, published last November by Random House, tells the life story of Balanchine, the choreographer widely credited as “the father of American ballet.” A native of Russia, he moved to the U.S. in 1933 and co-founded the New York City Ballet with Lincoln Kirstein in 1948.

Mr. B was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award. In a starred review, a critic for Kirkus called the book “gripping” and “the definitive account of a remarkable and flawed artist.”

Deirdre David, chair of BIO’s Plutarch Award committee, praised Homans’ book as “a perfect model of seamless narrative integration of the life with the work.”

“Beautifully crafted, Homans’ gorgeous tribute to a twentieth-century artistic genius enthralls, educates, and dazzles the reader,” David said.

In a statement, Homans said, “I couldn’t be more honored and thrilled by this recognition for Mr. B, especially since it comes from writers who know what it is to attempt to capture a life that is not your own.”

The Plutarch Award, awarded annually to the best biography of the year, was first given out in 2013 to Robert A. Caro’s The Passage of Power, the fourth volume in Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson. Other past winners include Ruth Franklin’s Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life and David W. Blight’s Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.

Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.