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Gradiva® Awards

The Gradiva® Awards for the best works that advance psychoanalysis are presented by NAAP at a special awards ceremony during our annual fall conference in New York City.

We welcome submissions from members and non-members for the best published, produced, or publicly exhibited works that advance psychoanalysis. The categories, all of which must have a psychoanalytic or mental health theme, are:

  • ART
  • BOOK
  • BOOK (edited volume)
  • GRADIVA STUDENT PAPER (unpublished)

Art may be submitted in jpeg, pdf, or DVD format. For articles, please include a link to the relevant publication. Books may be submitted in hardcover or paperback format. For movies, etc., send a DVD, script, and/or performance date(s). Student papers should be submitted as an MS Word file. Please include an email address with each submission.

The Gradiva Award judges have been selected from the various schools of thought represented by NAAP. Nominees will be announced six weeks prior to the NAAP annual conference and Gradiva Awards ceremony, which takes place in mid-November, and the winners will be announced at the awards luncheon. The judges’ decisions are final and the committee reserves the right not to bestow an award in any given category.

For questions about the nominations process and awards, contact
Emily Horvath at NAAP naap@naap.org
or Nunzio Gubitosa, MPhil, MA, Chair, gubfam7@aol.com

To nominate send one copy per entry to each judge and the NAAP office (5 copies total) as follows:



The awards were inspired by Freud’s essay “Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva” (1907(1905)), in which he stated:

“Creative writers are valuable allies and their evidence is to be prized highly, for they are apt to know a whole host of things between heaven and earth of which our philosophy has not yet let us dream … they draw upon sources which we have not yet opened up for science.”

In 1994, Robert Quackenbush proposed these awards for the best published, produced, or publicly exhibited works that advance psychoanalysis. Recalling Freud’s words, NAAP established the Gradiva® Awards to honor our “valuable allies,” including writers, artists, producers, directors, publishers, and others. The winners of the first Gradiva® Awards were announced at the 1995 annual NAAP conference, and included a revival of Moss Hart’s play “Lady in the Dark,” with Kitty Carlisle Hart accepting the award on behalf of her late husband, and Judith E. Daykin accepting an award as Executive Director for the play produced by Encores!

Quackenbush designed and rendered in woodcut the symbol for the awards (now a registered trademark for NAAP) and this was in turn etched on brass plates then mounted on wood. Quackenbush based his rendering on a wall plaque that hung in Freud’s office––a plaster copy of an ancient Roman, marble bas-relief that is displayed in the Vatican Museum.

The sculpture represents a young woman, attired in clothing of the period, stepping along in a charming gait. The image inspired a short novel by Wilhelm Jensen titled Gradiva, a version of Shaw’s Pygmalion, in which a young man falls in love with the image of the girl on the bas-relief and names her Gradiva. He dreams that she lived in Pompeii during the eruption of Vesuvius and he wants to save her. After, while exploring ruins in Italy, he sees in real life the Gradiva of his dreams walking among the columns.

“I could identify with Freud’s words,” says Quackenbush. “I know about the power of being in touch with my unconscious as a professional artist, writer, and psychoanalyst. That was my motivation for wanting to establish the Gradiva® Awards at NAAP: to call forth recognition and appreciation of artists, writers, musicians, poets, filmmakers, and publishers who have made significant contributions to the psychoanalytic community.”

While fear may remain in the minds of those who shun psychoanalysis for what they think might kill their art, the Gradiva® Awards confirm that exploration of the unconscious may do just the opposite, making psychoanalysis a fertile ground for ideas and new works.

It is a great testament to the awards that their creator has authored and illustrated over 200 books for children, in addition to writing numerous articles for psychoanalytic journals and trade publications about childhood behavior and children’s education. For establishing the Gradiva®Awards, Robert Quackenbush received the  Vision Award in 2004.