The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, today announced Paul Yamazaki, principal buyer at City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco, California, as the recipient of its 2023 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Starting out as a part-time clerk at City Lights in 1970, Yamazaki has mentored generations of booksellers, and his collaborative approach to bookselling has elevated countless authors, shaping the United States’ literary landscape for over 50 years. A champion for books, writers, publishers, and independent bookstores, Yamazaki will be presented with the Literarian Award by past recipient and revered bookseller Mitchell Kaplan at the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner on November 15, 2023.
“Paul Yamazaki’s career has had an irreplaceable, culture-shifting impact on bookselling, independent bookstores, and publishing at large,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “Over more than five decades, Paul has brought exceptional national and global literature to readers in San Francisco and beyond. Yamazaki’s legacy has demonstrated the power of connecting the right book to the right reader at the right time, both to move book sales and to center voices that better reflect the country’s diversity of readers. The Foundation is gratified to be able to recognize his contributions to the national literary landscape with this lifetime achievement award.”
An advocate for considering the intersections of race, culture, and socio-economics in bookselling, writing, and publishing, Yamazaki has served on the board of directors of several literary and community arts organizations, including the Community of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP), Small Press Distribution (SPD), and the Kearney Street Workshop (KSW). As a bookseller at City Lights, Yamazaki reads widely and is committed to supporting the work of new and established authors across genres, from publishers small and large, in order to appeal to all kinds of readers. Under his stewardship, the bookstore carefully curates a collection of books that includes literary fiction, poetry, works in translation, and more that celebrates what Yamazaki calls “alternative literary voices,” and to which he credits the bookstore’s exceptionally diverse staff handpicking titles that reflect a variety of interests and life experiences.
“A beloved member of the literary community, Paul Yamazaki and his devotion to the art of bookselling have influenced countless booksellers,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “For over 50 years, Yamazaki has nurtured thoughtful conversations around books with writers, publishers, and readers, and he continues to be an inspiring force for the independent bookstore community. We are proud to celebrate his remarkable career with the 2023 Literarian Award.”
In the 1960s, Yamazaki participated in the San Francisco State College Strike—the longest student strike in US history that led to the establishment of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State College; was a vocal supporter of the Black Panther Party; and was arrested multiple times for protesting exclusionary policies and participating in “Stop the Draft” demonstrations, culminating in a six-month prison sentence. Yamazaki was released early after securing a job at City Lights and, as far as Yamazaki knows, is the only independent bookseller to become a bookseller directly after serving a jail sentence.
Yamazaki is the 19th recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, which is given to an individual or organization for a lifetime of achievement in expanding the audience for books and reading. Past recipients include Dr. Maya Angelou, Terry Gross, Kyle Zimmer, the literary organization Cave Canem, Doron Weber, Oren J. Teicher, Carolyn Reidy, Nancy Pearl, and most recently, Tracie D. Hall. Nominations for the Literarian Award are made by former National Book Award Winners, Finalists, and judges, and other writers and literary professionals from around the country. Final selections are made by the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors. Recipients of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community receive $10,000 and a solid brass medal.
The 74th National Book Awards will be hosted by Drew Barrymore and feature special guest Oprah Winfrey on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. The in-person Ceremony & Benefit Dinner, which will be broadcast live for readers everywhere, will include the presentation of the Foundation’s two lifetime achievement awards and the 2023 National Book Award Winners in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature. For more information about the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner and to register for the broadcast, please visit nationalbook.org/awards.
ABOUT PAUL YAMAZAKI
Paul Yamazaki has been a bookseller at City Lights Booksellers & Publishers since 1970. He has been the principal buyer at City Lights Booksellers for more than 50 years. Yamazaki has served on the board of directors of several literary and community arts organizations, among them are the Community of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP), Small Press Distribution (SPD), and the Kearney Street Workshop (KSW). He was once a member of the jury that selected the 21 writers that were included on the Granta Best Young American Novelists 2 that was published in the spring of 2007. Yamazaki participated as a panelist in The Translation Market, a world literature and translation summit, and as a delegate of American booksellers invited to attend the Beijing Book Fair. He has also participated at the Oxford Conference for the Book at the University of Mississippi, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and the Jaipur Literary Festival. Yamazaki was on the jury for the 2014 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was a recipient of the Litquake Barbary Coast Award.
Yamazaki has worked with the following organizations: the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Fund, Ford Foundation, Headlands Center for the Arts, American Booksellers Association, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, National Book Foundation, Creative Work Fund, and many others.
ABOUT MITCHELL KAPLAN
Mitchell Kaplan, a native of Miami Beach, opened the first Books & Books in 1982 in Coral Gables, Florida. Now with four South Florida locations, Books & Books hosts over 400 events per year. In addition, the original Coral Gables location is home to the well-established Café at Books & Books, and there are Books & Books affiliated stores at the Miami International Airport, and in Key West, where he collaborates with the noted author Judy Blume and her husband, George Cooper.
Among his honors, Mitchell served as president of the American Booksellers Association, and he received the 2011 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community from the National Book Foundation. Books & Books also received Publishers Weekly’s Bookstore of the Year Award in 2015. He now serves on the Board of the National Coalition Against Censorship.
As co-founder of the Miami Book Fair in 1985, Mitchell has served as the chairperson of its Board of Directors and continues to guide the programming team at the Fair which takes place on the campus of Miami Dade College in the heart of downtown Miami. Each year, the Fair presents close to 500 authors over one week in November, along with a street festival where bookstalls line the streets adjacent to the campus. Programming takes place in Creole, Spanish, and English, reflecting the diversity of Miami.
Mitchell, with his partner Paula Mazur, established The Mazur Kaplan Company to bring books to the screen, both in film and television. His most recent release is Let Him Go starring Diane Lane and Kevin Costner.
Mitchell also hosts the podcast The Literary Lifewith Mitchell Kaplan, broadcast from Miami, where he lives with his wife, Rachelle. They have three children, Anya, Daniel, and Jonah.
Each year, the National Book Foundation presents its Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, which is given to an individual for a lifetime of achievement in expanding the audience for books and reading. The Award was first presented in 2005. Nominations for the Literarian Award are made by former National Book Award Winners, Finalists, and Judges, and other writers and literary professionals from around the country. Final selections are made by the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors. Recipients of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community receive $10,000.
In February 2020, Tracie D. Hall became the tenth Executive Director of the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world with over 50,000 members serving library and educational institutions throughout and beyond the US. The first Black woman to helm ALA, Hall has served in numerous library and arts leadership positions nationwide.
Prior to joining ALA, Hall served as the Culture Program Director at the Joyce Foundation where she was recognized for creating numerous programs to advance racial inclusion in arts administration and equitable funding for arts institutions founded by and for Black, Latino, Asian, Arab, Indigenous, and other people of color. As Deputy Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events she oversaw the visual and performing arts, film, and community market programs for the city of Chicago and received citations for her work to expand arts access and neighborhood outreach. Hall was the Vice President of Strategy and Organizational Development at Queens Public Library where during her tenure she founded the NYC Early Learning Network.
Hall’s former roles also include Community Investment Strategist and Chicago Community Investor for the Boeing Company’s Global Corporate Citizenship division and Assistant Dean of Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. As the Community Librarian at Hartford Public Library, Hall conceived and curated the NEH-funded Festival of Caribbean Literature with the Connecticut Center for the Book. Then-mayor, Eddie Perez, designated February 13 as “Tracie Hall Day” to acknowledge her service to the city of Hartford. Hall also served as the Youth Services Coordinator at Seattle Public Library where she developed the long-running SCRIBES youth creative writing program for Hugo House. Holding dual bachelor’s degrees from University of California, Santa Barbara, and master’s degrees from the Yale University School of International and Area Studies and the University of Washington School of Information, Hall’s work in library and arts administration has focused on advancing early and adult reading literacy, expanding digital access and literacy, protecting the right to information access for people who are incarcerated, eliminating barriers to arts production and participation, and increasing socio-economic mobility for those who have had limited educational or employment opportunities.
Apart from her administrative assignments, Hall is a noted artist and curator and a recipient of numerous awards and residencies including an Artist Trust award, Cave Canem Fellowship, and Jack Straw Fellowship. In 2016, she founded the small but influential Rootwork Gallery in Chicago to raise the visibility of artists working in folk, vernacular, traditional, and street art traditions. Hall is a native of South Central Los Angeles and has lived in and between New Haven, New York City, Montgomery, and Chicago for the past two decades.
Nancy Pearl’s life has been shaped by books and reading. Inspired by her childhood librarians, Pearl went on to become a librarian herself, receiving her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Michigan in 1967 and working in the public library systems in Detroit, Tulsa, and Seattle. Pearl retired as the Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library and went on to write the Book Lust series, four titles filled with recommendations of good books to read.
Pearl is the creator of the internationally recognized community reads program “If All Seattle Read the Same Book” (now known as “Seattle Reads”) and was the inspiration for the Archie McPhee Librarian Action Figure. Her many awards and honors include being named the 50th recipient of the Woman’s National Book Association Award; the Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal; and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association.
Pearl speaks about the pleasures of reading to literacy organizations, libraries, and community groups throughout the world and comments on books regularly on KWGS, the flagship National Public Radio station in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On Book Lust with Nancy Pearl, her television show on the Seattle Channel, she has interviewed authors such as Terry Pratchett, Paul Yoon, and Kevin Young.
Her first novel, George & Lizzie, was published in 2017. The Writer’s Library: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives, a collection of author interviews, co-authored with Jeff Schwager, was published in 2020.
Carolyn Reidy became President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, Inc. in January 2008. In this role, she was responsible for all the publishing and operations of Simon & Schuster’s numerous publishing groups as well as its international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom.
Reidy joined Simon & Schuster in 1992 as President of the Trade Division, was named President of the Adult Publishing Group in 2001, and became President and CEO of Simon & Schuster in 2008. During Reidy’s time with the company, Simon & Schuster has published many acclaimed works, including books by Pulitzer Prize winners David W. Blight, Anthony Doerr, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Frank McCourt and David McCullough and Siddhartha Mukherjee; world figures, celebrities, newsmakers and journalists including Jimmy Carter, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dick Cheney, Jaycee Dugard, Walter Isaacson, Phil Knight and Bob Woodward; bestselling novelists Mary Higgins Clark, Vince Flynn, Stephen King, Ruth Ware and Jennifer Weiner; works of practical advice from authorities including Ray Dalio, Angela Duckworth, Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, and Rhonda Byrne’s worldwide multi-million copy bestseller The Secret; and bestselling children’s and teen authors including Cassandra Clare, Jason Reynolds, Shannon Messenger, Rachel Renée Russell and Neal Shusterman.
Prior to Simon & Schuster, Reidy was President and Publisher of Avon Books, after having worked at William Morrow and Random House, where she was publisher of Vintage Books and Associate Publisher of the Random House imprint. In 2017 Reidy was named “Person of the Year” by Publishers Weekly. In 2007 Reidy was named one of “The 50 Women to Watch,” by the Wall Street Journal, and she was also is a recipient of the Matrix Award from the New York Women in Communications. She graduated from Middlebury College, and obtained an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Indiana University, where in 2011 she was recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Oren J. Teicher
Oren J. Teicher is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Booksellers Association, the national trade association for independent booksellers, and he has been working on behalf of independent bookstores for more than thirty years, beginning in 1990 as the ABA Associate Executive Director, then as Director of Government Affairs, as the founding President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and, through 2009, as ABA's Chief Operating Officer. He was appointed as ABA's CEO in 2009. Teicher has played an integral part in ABA’s IndieBound program, Local First initiatives, and he works closely with independent business alliance boards and other independent retail trade associations. He has forged relationships with bookseller associations around the world; and has served as an officer of the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF).
Teicher has received numerous awards and recognition for his work; including being named Publishers Weekly's Person of the Year in 2013.
He announced this past March that he will be retiring from ABA at the end of 2019.
Before joining ABA, Teicher was the Director of Corporate Communications for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, and he served for many years as a senior staffer in the U.S. Congress.
Doron Weber was born on a kibbutz in Israel, grew up in New York City, and was educated at Brown University, the Sorbonne, and Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Although his early training was in the arts and fiction-writing, he published several science books, worked at The Rockefeller University, a Nobel-filled biomedical research institute, and gradually moved into science. For over two decades, he has worked at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropy making grants in science, technology, and economics, where he currently serves as Vice President and Program Director.
Weber’s signature Sloan program, Public Understanding of Science and Technology, focuses on connecting the “two cultures” of science and the arts, which he regards as two sides of the same human impulse to understand and meaningfully describe the world around and inside us. Weber helps commission, develop, and produce an array of culture defining products—books, radio, television, film, theatre, new media—to illuminate and humanize science for the lay public. He helped start Radiolab, Tribeca Film Institute, and World Science Festival; supports Emmy-winning television on American Experience, NOVA, and National Geographic, award-winning plays at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and London’s National Theatre, and Oscar-winning films via film schools and film festivals at Sundance, Tribeca, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Weber’s book program supports individual authors and has resulted in over 100 published books. Critically acclaimed titles include Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, Dava Sobel’s Galileo’s Daughter, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin’s American Prometheus, Richard Rhodes’s Hedy’s Folly, Jared Diamond’s Collapse, Stuart Firestein’s Ignorance, and Eric Kandel’s The Age of Insight. More recent books include Carl Zimmer’s She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, Oren Harman’s Evolutions, Richard Rhodes’s Energy, Adam Becker’s What is Real?, Julie Wosk’s My Fair Ladies, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s Everybody Lies, Catherine Price’s Vitamania, David Baron’s American Eclipse, M. R. O’Connor’s Resurrection Science, Kevin Davis’s The Brain Defense, Robert Kanigel’s Eyes on the Street, Brooke Borel’s Infested, and Jonathan Waldman’s Rust.
While Weber has developed an organization that supports thousands of screenplays, plays, teleplays, radio plays, webisodes, games, VR, and librettos, he considers books to be an anchor and critical entry point for the entire program, believing books have an outsize influence because they often represent the first serious foray into a new field where authors can uncover or synthesize new knowledge and convey it in the richest, deepest, and most nuanced way. Books also serve as a platform to other media. Weber has helped adapt foundation-supported books (The Poisoner’s Handbook, Hedy’s Folly) into television documentaries (The Poisoner's Handbook, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story); other books (Hidden Figures, The Man Who Knew Infinity) into films; and even books (The Elegant Universe) into plays (String Fever). He has championed stories about women scientists in every medium.
At Sloan, Weber also runs the program in Universal Access to Knowledge, which seeks to harness digital information technology to make the benefits of human knowledge accessible to all. His grantmaking has helped lead the Digital Public Library of America, a consortium of over 2,000 libraries, archives and museums in 50 states, and to scale Wikipedia into the largest encyclopedia in human history and the fifth largest web site in the world. A recent grant to Consumer’s Union focuses on consumer privacy in the digital age.
Weber’s work at Sloan has been profiled in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Lifehacker, Fortune, and Filmmaker Magazine. His program has received numerous awards including the National Science Board’s Public Service Award “for its innovative use of traditional media—books, radio, public television—and its pioneering efforts in theater and commercial television and films to advance public understanding of science and technology.”
Prior to Sloan, Weber worked at The Rockefeller University, the Society for the Right to Die, and The Reader's Catalog. He has also been a screenwriter, speechwriter, teacher, tutor, taxi driver, romance novelist, busboy, and boxer. He currently serves as President of The Writers Room Board, National Secretary for the Israel Rhodes Scholarship, Trustee of Shakespeare & Co, and Board Visitor of the Wikimedia Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, National Association of Corporate Directors, and USA Triathlon.
In 2012, Weber published Immortal Bird: A Family Memoir (Simon & Schuster), named one of the 50 Notable Works of Non-Fiction by The Washington Post and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. He previously coauthored three books: Safe Blood: Purifying the Nation's Blood Supply in the Age of AIDS, The Complete Guide to Living Wills, and Final Passages: Positive Choices for the Dying and Their Loved Ones. His articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, LA Times,USA Today, Barron's, The Washington Post, and the Boston Review, among others. He is currently at work on a novel.
Richard Robinson has been President of Scholastic Inc. (NASDAQ: SCHL) since 1974, Chief Executive Officer since 1975, and was elected to the position of Chairman of the Board in 1982. Under Mr. Robinson’s leadership, Scholastic has become the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of print and digital instructional materials for pre-K to grade 12, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. With annual revenue of $1.6 billion and more than 9,000 employees worldwide, the Company distributes one out of every three children’s books purchased in the US through school-based Scholastic Reading Club and Book Fairs, instructional programs, non-profit partners, retail outlets and online.
During Mr. Robinson’s tenure, publishing records were shattered with the release of each book in the Harry Potter® series by J.K. Rowling, and Scholastic published the script book of the 8th Harry Potter story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two in July 2016. Mr. Robinson also led the development of such popular series as Captain Underpants®, The Hunger Games, Clifford the Big Red Dog®, Goosebumps®, I SPY®, The Magic School Bus® and the groundbreaking, multi-platform The 39 Clues®, among many others.
Scholastic Book Club catalogues, expert-curated collections of books from all publishers, are delivered monthly to nearly every K–8 school in the US, and are available online so children and parents have access to the best children’s books at affordable prices. Every Book Club purchase helps the child’s teacher earn points toward the purchase of additional books for the classroom. More than 125,000 Scholastic Book Fairs are held in US schools annually, generating excitement about books for kids and families, and helping principals create a culture of reading in their communities.
Founded in 1920 as a single classroom magazine, Scholastic is now a leading provider of comprehensive literacy solutions for pre-K to grade 12 classrooms, serving schools and districts with a wide array of print and digital materials to support the renewed focus on independent reading as a core component of literacy instruction. Scholastic publishes 32 classroom magazines, which provide relevant, engaging content in print and digital formats reaching more than 25 million readers. The Company’s core curriculum for literacy instruction includes classroom book collections, Guided Reading programs, and classroom digital subscription programs, including GO!™ (formerly Grolier Online), Core Clicks™, Storia® School Edition and the “Flix” line of products. Scholastic is a leader in the movement to improve family and community engagement and offers professional learning programs for educators who are striving to serve the diverse needs of their students.
Under Mr. Robinson’s leadership, Scholastic has developed a rich content and e-commerce experience for teachers, parents and children on Scholastic.com, attracting more than one billion page views every year. Scholastic.com is the most trafficked website for pre-K to grade 8 teachers, and is among the largest internet booksellers, according to Internet Retailer, offering quality, affordable children’s books from all publishers.
Mr. Robinson spearheaded the global expansion of Scholastic into Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Asia, where the Company has operations mirroring the US model of trade publishing, book clubs, book fairs and curriculum materials publishing. Scholastic also exports to more than 165 countries.
Scholastic is the founding sponsor of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the most prestigious recognition program honoring America’s creative teens. Since its founding in 1923, the program has established an amazing track record for identifying the early promise of our nation’s most accomplished and prolific creative leaders. Alumni include artists Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein, Robert Indiana, Zac Posen, Kay WalkingStick and John Baldessari; writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Stephen King, Lena Dunham, Bernard Malamud and Joyce Carol Oates; photographer Richard Avedon (who won for poetry); actors Frances Farmer, Robert Redford, Alan Arkin and John Lithgow; and filmmakers Ken Burns and Richard Linklater. Outside the arts, Awards alumni employ their creativity to become leaders in fields ranging from journalism, law, and medicine, to finance and public service.
Mr. Robinson has received numerous honors for his outstanding career, including Publishers Weekly’s Publishing Innovator of the Year in 2011, the Partners for Children Award and the Corporate Leadership Award from Save the Children, R.R. Bowker’s 1998 Literary Market Place Publisher of the Year, and the Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Service to Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He served as Chairman of the Association of American Publishers from 1996 to 1998, was inducted into the Association of Educational Publishers Hall of Fame, received the British American Business Award for Innovation, and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award and named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. In 2013, he was named an Honorary Member of the Order of Australia for service to the promotion of children’s literature worldwide.
Mr. Robinson is a recipient of the UJA-Federation For the Love of Reading Award, The Creative Coalition Spotlight Award, the Robin Hood Foundation’s John F. Kennedy, Jr. Corporate Hero Award and the Best Friend Award from LA’s BEST After School Enrichment Program, as well as being named the National Association of Bilingual Educators’1995 Corporate Citizen of the Year -- all in recognition of his efforts to improve literacy. In 2002, Reach Out and Read established TheRichard Robinson Award in his honor to provide annual recognition to pediatric doctors and other healthcare professionals who exemplify the mission of ROR.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Richard Robinson is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College. He also studied at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge University in England, and at Teachers College, Columbia University, and began his career as a high school English teacher in Evanston, IL. He is an Honorary Trustee of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Cave Canem was conceived when poets Toi Derricote and Cornelius Eady were vacationing together in Pompeii, Italy in 1996. At the entryway of The House of the Tragic Poet, was the famous mosaic Cave Canem, which means “Beware of the Dog,” and signified to them that African-American poets need to have a safe space to practice their craft if they are to thrive.
Cave Canem’s flagship program is an annual writing retreat held at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, PA that welcomes emerging African-American poets from across the United States and around the world. Poets become “fellows,” and are invited to attend two additional retreats within a five-year period. Among the major literary awards received by fellows are the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, the NAACP Image Award, the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the Ruth Lilly and Lannan Fellowships.
Delivered in partnership with five prestigious presses, Cave Canem administers three books awards of its own: The Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize, and the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize.
In addition to the flagship writing retreat and the book awards, there are community-based workshops for emerging adult poets, conversations with legendary poets and scholars, new works readings showcasing poetry by contemporary African-American practitioners, cross-cultural craft conversations with poets of color in mid-career, a popular lecture series, and a poets tour representing over 70 fellows.
Cave Canem has over 20 local, regional, and national cultural partnerships and collaborative residencies for fellows at such sites as the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.
The success of Cave Canem has inspired the creation of Kundiman, a national organization dedicated to the creation and cultivation of Asian-American poetry; CantoMundo, which provides a space for the creation and critical analysis of Latina/o poetry; and Kimbilio, a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering, and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora.
James Patterson has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. As of January 2016, he has sold over 350 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, he also writes children's, middle-grade, and young-adult fiction and is also the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children's bestsellers lists.
The son of an insurance salesman and a schoolteacher, Patterson grew up in Newburgh, New York, and began casually writing at the age of nineteen. In 1969, he graduated from Manhattan College. He was given a full ride to Vanderbilt University's graduate program in English but dropped out after a year, knowing that he wouldn't be able to continue reading and writing for pleasure if he became a college professor.
Instead, he moved to New York to become a junior copywriter for the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, eventually becoming CEO of its North American company.
In 1976, while still working for J. Walter Thompson, Patterson published his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, with Little, Brown and Company. After being turned down by thirty-one publishers, it won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Patterson's 1993 novel, Along Came a Spider, his first novel to feature Alex Cross, was also his firstNew York Times bestseller in fiction.
In 2001, Morgan Freeman starred as Alex Cross in a film adaptation of Along Came a Spider, and Tyler Perry also played the character in the 2012 film Alex Cross. A film adaptation of Patterson's middle-grade novel Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life will be released in theaters in October 2016.
For his initiatives to help kids become passionate readers and for his philanthropic efforts, Patterson was awarded the National Book Foundation's 2015 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.
James Patterson has donated more than one million books to students, emphasizing some of the most under-resourced schools and youth programs in the country. In 2015, Patterson donated $1.75 million to public school libraries throughout the United States, $1 million to independent bookstores, and a further $250,000 in holiday bonuses to individual bookstore employees. He also gave $1 million to independent bookstores in 2014.
Patterson has recently donated over $26 million to his and his wife's alma maters—the University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and Manhattan College—and he has established over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at twenty-four colleges and universities throughout the country. Patterson has also donated over 650,000 books to U.S. soldiers at home and overseas.
In May 2015, Patterson launched a new children's book imprint at Little, Brown, called JIMMY Patterson, that is unwaveringly focused on one goal: turning kids into lifelong readers. This imprint also provides resources, strategies, and programs to serve teachers, parents, librarians, and booksellers. Patterson will be investing proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives.
Patterson has also founded ReadKiddoRead.com, a website designed to help parents, teachers, and librarians ignite a new generation's excitement for reading. Awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize and the American Library Association's Great Websites for Kids, the site features thoughtful book reviews from a variety of genres and age ranges, a large and lively Facebook community, and contributions from other authors.
Mr. Patterson's awards for adult and children's literature include the Edgar Award, the International Thriller of the Year Award, and the Children's Choice Award for Author of the Year.
He lives in Palm Beach with his wife, Sue, and his son, Jack.
Recipient of the 2014 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community
Born in Zanesville, Ohio, Zimmer attended the University of Iowa and graduated from George Washington University Law School. She worked as a corporate attorney for several years in Washington, DC while also volunteering as a tutor for Martha’s Table, a multi-service community organization for the District’s families in need.
Realizing that the children she was working with had no books to call their own spurred Zimmer to take action and in 1992, Zimmer founded First Book. To provide quality books to underserved children, Zimmer developed two groundbreaking models of social entrepreneurship: the First Book Marketplace, an award-winning, self-sustaining program that purchases new books from publishers and makes them available to educators and program leaders at affordable prices, and the First Book National Book Bank, which serves as the nation’s largest clearinghouse for new books donated by publishers. In addition, First Book’s market-driven Stories for All Project is serving as a catalyst to increase diversity in children’s books, so that all children can see themselves in books.
With Zimmer at the helm, First Book distributes millions of new books and educational resources every year to children from low-income families through a growing network of schools, programs, churches, and institutions across the United States, as well as in as well as in Canada, Peru, Haiti, Jamaica, India and other countries.
A passionate advocate for social entrepreneurship, educational equity, and the importance of literacy to further economic competitiveness and global understanding, Zimmer has participated in some of the world’s most prestigious economic forums. In 2013, Zimmer was a presenter at the University of Oxford’s “Power Shift: Forum for Women in the World Economy” at the Saïd Business School at Oxford. Zimmer and First Book were also featured at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative. Zimmer was also a presenter and blogger at the World Economic Forum in Beijing in 2012, served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Entrepreneurship, and was featured as a presenter at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2010.
Zimmer has won numerous awards and honors, including the Carle Honors Angel Award in 2009, the first ever American Marketing Association Nonprofit Marketer of the Year in 2008, and the Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year in the United States in 2007 from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Ashoka, which works to ensure that social entrepreneurs and their innovations continue to inspire a new generation of local change-makers. She also serves on the Youth Venture Board of Directors and as a member of the board for James Patterson’s ReadKiddoRead.
Born Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Stamps, Arkansas, Dr. Maya Angelou was a writer, poet, performer, and teacher. In 1969, with the publication of her groundbreaking literary autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou rose to international prominence as an author. Caged Bird is an intelligent and sophisticated story of how Angelou transformed herself from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-assured, dignified young woman and civil activist. The book was banned by many schools and colleges because of its frank portrayal of childhood rape, racism, and sexuality. In 2013, at the age of 85, Angelou published her seventh autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom.
Dr. Angelou has also published five books of poetry, including I Shall Not Be Moved, three books of essays, including Letter to My Daughter, a children's book, and six long-form poems, including “Mother” and “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she read at the 1992 inauguration of President William Jefferson Clinton. Angelou's reading marked the first time that an African American woman wrote and presented a poem at a Presidential inauguration. She was also the second poet in history to do so, following Robert Frost, who recited a poem at the swearing-in ceremony of John F. Kennedy in 1961. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles.
Angelou's remarkable career encompasses dance, theater, journalism, and social activism. She appeared in Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including Cabaret for Freedom, which she wrote with Godfrey Cambridge. She also lived and worked in Cairo and Ghana, first as the associate editor of The Arab Observer and then as features editor and writer for The Ghanaian Times. At the request of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she served as the Northern Coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1978, she was a National Book Award Judge for Biography and Autobiography.
Angelou has received more than 30 honorary degrees and has been inducted into the Wake Forest University Hall of Fame for Writers. In 2010 President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor.
Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr.
Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. was named chairman of The New York Times Company in 1997. He became publisher of The New York Times in 1992 and continues to run the Company’s flagship enterprise on a day-to-day basis. Over the past decade, he has shaped and implemented innovative print and online initiatives that are enabling the Company to compete successfully in the 21st century global media marketplace.
During Mr. Sulzberger’s tenure as publisher, The Times has earned 53 Pulitzer Prizes and provided its readers with innumerable examples of momentous journalism such as its breakthrough series “How Race is Lived in America,” its internationally acclaimed coverage of the September 11 terrorist attack in a “A Nation Challenged” and “Portraits of Grief,” “Class Matters,” an 11-part series exploring class in American society, “Distracted Driving,” examining the serious risks of talking or texting while operating an automobile, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts,” an expose of the Bush Administration’s use of wiretaps and “China Rises,” a four-part, multimedia series.
Before coming to The Times, Mr. Sulzberger was a reporter with The Raleigh (N.C.) Times from 1974 to 1976, and a London correspondent for The Associated Press from 1976 to 1978.
He joined The Times in 1978 as a correspondent in its Washington bureau. He moved to New York as a metro reporter in 1981 and was appointed assistant metro editor later that year.
From 1983 to 1987, he worked in a variety of business departments, including production and corporate planning. In January 1987, he was named assistant publisher and, a year later, deputy publisher, overseeing the news and business departments. In both capacities, he was involved in planning The Times’s automated color printing and distribution facilities in Edison, N.J., and at College Point in Queens, N.Y., as well as the creation of the six-section color newspaper.
Mr. Sulzberger was on the board of both the North Carolina Outward Bound and the New York Outward Bound Schools, serving as chairman of the later. He also helped found and was chairman of the Times Square Alliance. He is a current member of the board of the Mohonk Preserve.
Mr. Sulzberger earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Tufts University in 1974. He is also a 1985 graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development.
Born in Miami, Florida, Mitchell Kaplan is best known for the creation of the Miami Book Fair International, the largest community book festival in the United States and a model for book fairs across the country.
Kaplan began his working career as a high school English teacher. Two years after opening an independent bookstore, Books & Books, Kaplan, along with the Dade County Library and other independent bookstore owners, was asked by the president of the downtown Wolfson campus of the Miami-Dade College, Eduardo J. Padrón, to help put on a book fair, originally called "Books by the Bay."
Kaplan emerged as one of the influential leaders of the Fair that has created community pride and has become a model for other fairs across the country. The Fair brings over 300 renowned national and international authors exhibitors to a weeklong celebration of all things literary and includes pavilions for translation, comics, children, and young adults.
In addition to overseeing five bookstores, including one located in Grand Cayman, Kaplan serves as the Chair of the Miami Book Fair Board of Directors and on the steering committee of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, Miami-Dade College's literary center. He has served as President of the American Booksellers Association, and on the Board of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. He lives in Miami with his wife, Rachelle, and their twin sons, Jonah and Daniel, and their daughter, Anya.
Joan Ganz Cooney
Joan Ganz Cooney (b. November 30, 1929) began her career as a reporter in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. From 1954 to 1962 she worked as a publicist for NBC in New York and for the U.S. Steel Hour, a highly acclaimed CBS drama series. Mrs. Cooney eventually produced documentaries at WNET/Channel 13, winning her first Emmy for Poverty, Anti-Poverty, and the Poor, a documentary on the U.S. government’s War on Poverty program.
In 1966, with the support of Lloyd Morrisett, then a vice president at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Mrs. Cooney produced a study entitled The Potential Uses of Television in Preschool Education, which provided the rationale for using television to teach disadvantaged children basic skills through programs that were both educational and entertaining. The report convinced the corporation to partly finance such a project, and Mrs. Cooney and Dr. Morrisett were able to raise the rest of the $8 million through the U.S. Office of Education, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Ford Foundation. In 1968, the Children’s Television Workshop was born (it was renamed Sesame Workshop in 2000).
Sesame Street debuted a year later and had an immediate and revolutionary impact on children’s educational television. It was the first preschool program to integrate education and entertainment as well as feature a multicultural cast. It has been broadcast daily since 1969 in the U.S. on more than 300 Public Broadcasting Service stations and has been seen by hundreds of millions of children in more than 140 foreign countries. Indigenous co-productions reflecting local languages, customs and educational needs have since been produced for audiences in the Arab world, Israel, India, Indonesia, Bosnia, Portugal, Turkey, Germany, France, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Russia, China, South Africa, Egypt, the Philippines, Canada, Spain, and Latin America.
Dave Eggers is the bestselling author of seven books, including A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award; Zeitoun, winner of the American Book Award and Dayton Literary Peace Prize; and What Is the What, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which operates a secondary school in South Sudan run by Mr. Deng. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine, The Believer, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries, Wholphin, and an oral history series, Voice of Witness. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he cofounded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Eggers is also the founder of ScholarMatch, a program that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition. A native of Chicago, Eggers now lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.
Barney Rosset, through his publishing house, Grove Press, and his magazine, The Evergreen Review, introduced American readers to such literary giants as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Jean Genet, and Eugène Ionesco, as well as many of the writers of the Beat generation. He fought two landmark first amendment battles in order to publish the uncensored version of D.H. Lawrence’s novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. Rosset was a tenacious champion for writers who were struggling to be read in America and this award recognizes his vision and his enormous contributions to American publishing.
Robert B. Silvers is editor of The New York Review of Books. Prior to joining theReview, Mr. Silvers was, from 1959 to 1963, associate editor of Harper’s magazine, editor of the book Writing in America and translator of La Gangrène. Before that, Mr. Silvers lived in Paris for six years (1952 to 1958), where he served with the U.S. Army at SHAPE Headquarters and attended the Sorbonne and École des Sciences Politiques. He joined the editorial board of The Paris Review in 1954 and became Paris editor in 1956. He also worked as press secretary to Governor Chester Bowles in 1950. Mr. Silvers, who graduated from the University of Chicago in 1947, was born in Mineola, New York.
Barbara Epstein (1928–2006) worked in publishing and at The Partisan Review before becoming editor of The New York Review of Books in 1963. She began her publishing career at Doubleday & Co., where she served as junior editor after graduating from Radcliffe College in 1949. She was born Barbara Zimmerman in Boston, Massachusetts.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1919. He received an AB degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina, and an MA from Columbia University, where he wrote a thesis on the influence of John Ruskin’s writing on J.M.W. Turner. After Navy service in World War II, he worked in the mail room at Time Magazine for a while, then lived in Paris (1947–1951), where he received a Doctorat de l’Universite from the Sorbonne in 1949. It was in France that Ferlinghetti began painting. On his return to the United States he settled in San Francisco, where he and Peter D. Martin founded the first all paperbound bookstore in the country, City Lights Books. Under its imprint, Ferlinghetti began the Pocket Poets Series which included work by William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Patchen, Kenneth Rexroth, and Antonin Artaud. Ferlinghetti’s second books of poems, A Coney Island of the Mind (New Directions, 1958) is one of the best selling poetry books of our time. A Far Rockaway of the Heart (ND, 1997) won a silver medal, in the category of Poetry, in the California Book Awards, sponsored by The Commonwealth Club of California. On August 11, 1998, Ferlinghetti was named San Francisco’s first poet laureate. He received The Before Columbus Foundation "Lifetime Achievement Award" for the twentieth annual American Book Awards for 1999. In 2001 he was one of two American poets (the other being John Ashbery) chosen to participate in the second celebration of UNESCO’s World Poetry Day in Delphi, Greece, where he along with his international confreres poetically addressed the Oracle. He has also been writing a weeky column, “Poetry as News,” for the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review. In December 2006, Ferlinghetti was named a Commandeur in the French Order of Arts and Letters. Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s reputation within the literary world grows out of his commitment to literature and to the literary artists who have pushed the edges of the literary envelope shaping the last half of this century. He is a man of many hats, and he brings to each of his roles an approach that challenges tradition. It is his uncharacteristic personality that allows him to balance comfortably activities as diverse as those of poet, novelist, playwright, publisher, critic, social activist, and visual artist.