Oren J. Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) since 2009, was the recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 2019 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Recognizing the key cultural and economic role that independent bookstores play in their communities, the ABA provides information, education, business tools, programs, and advocacy for local businesses across the country, working to strengthen and expand independent bookstores nationwide, efforts which Teicher has effectively spearheaded. Appointed to the position of Associate Executive Director of the ABA in 1990, Teicher, who will retire at the end of 2019, has also served as Director of Government Affairs, founding President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and as ABA’s Chief Operating Officer.
Best known for his portrayals of gay American life in both fiction and nonfiction, Edmund White’s body of work spans subject and genre, including a biography of French writer Jean Genet, for which he won the National Book Critics Circle Award; a trilogy of autobiographical novels, A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, and The Farewell Symphony; pioneering works of nonfiction like The Joy of Gay Sex, the travel memoir States of Desire, and the National Book Critics Circle Award–nominated City Boy; and many other titles.
In recognition of her transformative impact on American literature, Ursula K. Le Guin was the 2014 recipient of the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She was the Foundation’s twenty-seventh award recipient. The medal was presented to her by the author Neil Gaiman during the 2014 National Book Awards Ceremony.
For more than forty years, Le Guin defied conventions of narrative, language, character, and genre, as well as transcended the boundaries between fantasy and realism, to forge new paths for literary fiction. Among the nation’s most revered writers of science fiction and fantasy, Le Guin’s fully imagined worlds challenge readers to consider profound philosophical and existential questions about gender, race, the environment, and society. Her boldly experimental and critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and children’s books, written in elegant prose, are popular with millions of readers around the world.