Poets & Writers Announces Recipients of 2010 Writers for Writers Award and Editor's Award

New York, NY -- Junot Díaz, Maxine Hong Kingston, and M. L. Liebler are the recipients of the 2010 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and Pat Strachan is the recipient of the Editor’s Award, it was announced today by Elliot Figman, executive director of Poets & Writers, Inc.  


Poets & Writers established the Writers for Writers Award 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. Last year, Poets & Writers began presenting the Editor’s Award, recognizing a book editor who has made an outstanding contribution to the publication of poetry or literary prose over a sustained period of time. 


The 2010 awards will be presented at Poets & Writers’ 40th anniversary benefit dinner, In Celebration of Writers, on March 18, 2010, at Capitale in New York City. This year’s chair is John Makinson, Chairman and Chief Executive of The Penguin Group.  New York Times-bestselling author and humorist Dave Barry will serve as master of ceremonies. Galen Williams, the founder of Poets & Writers, will also be honored at the event.           


“This year’s honorees embody a real generosity of spirit and the very best of the literary community,” said Figman. “We are proud to recognize them.” 


Junot Díaz is the co-founder of the VONA Voices Workshop, which is dedicated to nurturing developing writers of color. He is the winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead, 2007), which was named “Novel of the Decade” by New York Magazine.  His fiction has been published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review, and four times in The Best American Short Stories. His bestselling debut book, Drown (Riverhead, 1996), led to his inclusion among Newsweek’s “New Faces of 1996.” The New Yorker placed him on a list of the twenty top writers for the twenty-first century. Born in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, and raised there and in New Jersey, Díaz graduated from Rutgers and received an MFA from Cornell. He lives in New York City and Boston, and is a tenured professor at MIT.


Maxine Hong Kingston has led writing and meditation workshops for veterans and their families for fifteen years. She is Senior Lecturer for Creative Writing at the University of California, Berkeley. Her memoirs and fiction include: The Fifth Book of Peace (Knopf, 2003), Hawai'i One Summer (University of Hawaii Press, 1998), Tripmaster Monkey (Knopf, 1989), China Men (Knopf, 1980), and The Woman Warrior (Random House, 1976). She has received the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the PEN West Award for Fiction, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  


M. L. Liebler is an internationally-known Detroit poet, university professor, literary arts activist, and arts organizer. He is the author of 13 books, including Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream (Wayne State University Press, 2008), which received both the Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence and the American Indie Book Award for 2009. In addition to his many books, Liebler has read, performed and taught poetry all around the world on behalf of the U.S. State Department. He has taught at Wayne State University in Detroit since 1980, and he is the founding director of both The National Writer’s Voice Project in Detroit and the Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization.  He was recently selected as Best Detroit Poet by The Detroit Free Press and Detroit’s Metro Times, and he was the nation’s first artist-in-residence for a public library at the Chelsea District Library for 2008-2009.


Pat Strachan has been a senior editor at Little, Brown since 2002. She began her career at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, where she worked as an editor for seventeen years, rising to vice president and associate publisher. After four years as a fiction editor at The New Yorker, she returned to book publishing. Among the writers whose books she has edited are Lydia Davis, Ian Frazier, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Larry Heinemann, Jamaica Kincaid, Galway Kinnell, John McPhee, Deirdre McNamer, Edna O’Brien, Grace Paley, Padgett Powell, Marilynne Robinson, Grace Schulman, Jim Shepard, and Derek Walcott. She has received the PEN/Roger Klein Award for Editing. 


Past recipients of the Barnes & Noble Writers For Writers Award include Edward Albee, Judy Blume, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Wally Lamb, Walter Mosley, Susan Sontag, and Amy Tan. The Editors’ Award was established in 2009 and the inaugural recipient was Daniel Halpern.

Photo credits: Junot Diaz by Luis Blackaller, Maxine Hong Kingston by Gail K. Evenari, M.L. Liebler by Alex Lumelsky, Pat Strachan by Little, Brown, and Company.