Laurie Halse Anderson, Roxane Gay, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Mitchell Kaplan to be Honored by Poets & Writers

Laurie Halse Anderson, Roxane Gay, and Nikole Hannah-Jones
to Receive the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award

Mitchell Kaplan to be Honored as a Champion for Writers

(From left: Laurie Halse Anderson, Roxane Gay, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Mitchell Kaplan.
Credits, from left: Randy Fontanilla/Penguin Random House, Reginald Cunningham,
Janes Estrin/the
New York Timescourtesy of Books & Books)

New York, NY—December 6, 2023—Poets & Writers today announced that Laurie Halse Anderson, Roxane Gay, and Nikole Hannah-Jones will receive the 2024 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and that Mitchell Kaplan will be honored as a Champion for Writers.

Honorees are selected by a committee composed of current and past members of the Poets & Writers Board of Directors, chaired by literary agent Eric Simonoff. Of the 2024 honorees, Simonoff commented: “We are thrilled to recognize three acclaimed authors who have shown dedication and fortitude in rebuffing attempts to ban books and silence authors. Their powerful and righteous voices have made enormous contributions to advancing freedom of expression—which is fundamental both to a thriving literary culture and a thriving democracy. We’re equally pleased to recognize Mitchell Kaplan, who has been on the forefront of this issue as a bookseller, literary organizer, and advocate. It is essential that people of principle—like Laurie, Roxane, Nikole, and Mitch—stand up to protect the rights and freedoms we all treasure. Poets & Writers is proud to honor them for doing so.”

The awards will be presented at Poets & Writers’ gala on March 26, 2024, in New York City. Nihar Malaviya, CEO of Penguin Random House, is the chair of the event. Malaviya said: “We are proud to continue our support of Poets & Writers, and delighted to shine a light on writers and others in our industry who are fighting to preserve the right to read and be read, a core value at Penguin Random House.”


The Barnes & Noble 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. It is named for Barnes & Noble in appreciation of the company’s enduring support of Poets & Writers. This year’s recipients have been courageous and outspoken in response to efforts to silence them and limit access to their work; in so doing they have helped defend the rights of all writers.

Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times best-selling author whose writing spans young readers, teens, and adults. Her most recent book, SHOUT, a memoir-in-verse about surviving sexual assault at the age of thirteen and a manifesta for the #MeToo era, received widespread critical acclaim and was Anderson’s eighth New York Times best-selling book. Combined, her books have sold more than 8 million copies. Two of her novels, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists, and Chains was short-listed for the prestigious Carnegie medal in the United Kingdom. Anderson is the 2023 recipient of Sweden’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, was selected by the American Library Association for the Margaret A. Edwards Award, and has been honored for defending intellectual freedom by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English. Her persistent efforts to combat censorship include joining Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and others in fighting censorship in the courts. In addition, she regularly speaks about the need for diversity in publishing and is a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council.

Roxane Gay is a New York Times best-selling author, a professor, editor, and social commentator. Her books include the New York Times best-selling Bad Feminist, the nationally best-selling Difficult Women, the New York Times best-selling Hunger, and, most recently, the nonfiction collection, Opinions. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel, and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Her writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. In 2021 she launched Roxane Gay Books, a Grove Atlantic imprint that focuses on underrepresented writers. Gay has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects. She also has a newsletter, The Audacity, and once had a podcast, The Roxane Gay Agenda.

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine. The book version of The 1619 Project as well as the 1619 Project children’s book, Born on the Water, were instant No. 1 New York Times best-sellers. Her 1619 Project is now a six-part docuseries on Hulu. Hannah-Jones has spent her career investigating racial inequality and injustice, and her reporting has earned her the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the Genius grant, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, and the National Magazine Award three times. She also serves as the Knight Chair of Race and Journalism at Howard University, where she founded the Center for Journalism & Democracy. Hannah-Jones is also the co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which seeks to increase the number of investigative reporters and editors of color, and in 2022 she opened the 1619 Freedom School, a free, afterschool literacy program in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa.


The Champion for Writers Award will recognize Mitchell Kaplan for his leadership in the fight against censorship and his efforts to expand the literary conversation. Kaplan has made Books & Books a generous platform for authors whose books have been banned, and helped to create a literary festival that showcases the breadth of literary voices working in America today.

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 and was selected as Publishers Weekly’s bookstore of the year. In 1985, Kaplan co-founded the Miami Book 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. Kaplan, with his partner Paula Mazur, established the Mazur Kaplan Company to bring books to the screen, both film and television. He also hosts the podcast The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan. With Books & Books, he recently launched the Books & Books Literary Foundation to nurture readers, cultivate community, and promote the exchange of free ideas. Kaplan received the Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation in 2011, served as president of the American Booksellers Association, and now serves on the Board of the National Coalition Against Censorship.


Poets & Writers’ annual gala, In Celebration of Writers, will take place on Tuesday evening, March 26, 2024, at Pier Sixty in New York City. For tickets and additional information, visit


Poets & Writers is the primary source of information, support, and guidance for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the United States. Our mission is to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public.

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