2012 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Awards and Editor's Award Announced (February 2012)

New York, NY—Poets & Writers, Inc. has announced that David Baldacci, Kwame Dawes, and Carol Muske-Dukes are the recipients of the 2012 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and Kathryn Court is the recipient of the Editor’s Award.

“We are very proud of this year’s honorees,” said Elliot Figman, executive director of Poets & Writers. “Their diverse concerns, aesthetics, and the variety of ways in which they have extended themselves in order to contribute to the literary community—all of this points to the richness and breadth of contemporary American literature.”

Figman added, “Kathryn Court was nominated by a number of leading publishing professionals for her abiding interest in international literature as well as her excellence and dedication. She joins a very distinguished list of editors who we’ve had the privilege of recognizing.”

The 2012 awards will be presented at Poets & Writers’ annual benefit dinner, In Celebration of Writers, on March 29, 2012, at Capitale in New York City. The chair of this year’s event is Michael Jacobs, President and CEO of ABRAMS. Continuing a Poets & Writers tradition, writers will be seated at each table. Among the notable authors serving as literary table hosts this year are Kurt Andersen, Robert Caro, Erica Jong, Jay McInerney, Sue Monk Kidd, and Sapphire. Acclaimed humorist Andy Borowitz will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and the novelist Susan Isaacs will present the awards to the honorees.

Tickets to the dinner begin at $500 per person. The evening is expected to generate over $350,000, with proceeds to support Poets & Writers’ extensive programs for creative writers.

The Writers for Writers Award was established by Poets & Writers in 1996 to recognize authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community. The title of the award has been given to Barnes & Noble in appreciation of their sponsorship of Poets & Writers. The Editor’s Award was established in 2009 to recognize a book editor who has made an outstanding contribution to the publication of poetry or literary prose over a sustained period of time.

David Baldacci and his wife, Michelle, established the Wish You Well Foundation to support family literacy. In 2010 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty, and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, nearly 1 million new and used books have been collected and distributed through area food banks. David explains, “With this program, people go home with food, which they need to live, as well as with books, which they need to change their lives.”

Three Baldacci titles were released in 2011: Zero Day, One Summer, and The Sixth Man. All were published by Grand Central Publishing/HBG and, like his twenty previous novels, all have become national and international bestsellers. His work has been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide.

Kwame Dawes is a tireless champion for poetry, the literary arts, and community. His efforts have helped facilitate poetry publications in the Caribbean, in South Carolina, and among Black British poets.  He was the creative force behind the Emmy Award-winning Live Hope Love, a multimedia exploration of the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica. He is a founder and director of Calabash, an international literary festival held in Jamaica since 2001. He also founded and directed the South Carolina Poetry Initiative and the South Carolina Arts Institute.

Born in Ghana in 1962, Dawes has written sixteen collections of poetry, most recently Wheels (Peeple Tree Press, 2011). He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and a faculty member of the Pacific MFA program and of Cave Canem.

Carol Muske-Dukes is a fierce and passionate advocate for poets and poetry. She founded a long-running writing program for inmates of New York State prisons in the early 1970’s—Poets & Writers was the first supporter of this program. She is the current Poet Laureate of California, and co-editor with Bob Holman of Crossing State Lines: an American Renga (FSG, 2011).

Carol is the author of eight books of poems, including Twin Cities (Penguin, 2011), two collections of essays, including Married to the Icepick Killer: A Poet in Hollywood (Random House, 2002), and four novels. She is professor of English and Creative Writing and founding Director of the new PhD Program in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.

Kathryn Court is the President and Publisher of Penguin Books. She began her publishing career at William Heinemann Ltd. in London, and came to New York in 1976. She joined Penguin in early 1977, becoming Editorial Director in 1979. She was named Publisher of Penguin Books in 1992 and in 2000 President of Penguin and Publisher of Plume. Among the distinguished authors she has worked with are Reinaldo Arenas, Sebastian Barry, Antony Beevor, Andrea Camilleri, J. M. Coetzee, Robert Fagles, Garrison Keillor, Sheila Kohler, John le Carré, Janice Y. K. Lee, Julia Leigh, Simon Lelic, Rebecca Makkai, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Sir John Mortimer, Robin Oliveira, Linda Olsson, Sir Ken Robinson, Richard Rodriguez, C. J. Sansom, Colm Tóibín, and William Trevor.

Past recipients of the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award include Edward Albee, Judy Blume, Mary Higgins Clark, E. L. Doctorow, Junot Díaz, John Grisham, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Maxine Hong Kingston, Wally Lamb, Walter Mosley, Susan Sontag, and Amy Tan. The Editor’s Award was established in 2009 and has been awarded to Jonathan Galassi, Daniel Halpern, and Pat Strachan. A full list of past winners and more information about this year’s awardees is available here.