New York, NY -- November 3, 2016 -- Poets & Writers announced today that the 2017 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award will be given to Francisco Goldman, Ann Patchett, and Richard Shelton. The Editor's Award will be presented to Fiona McCrae and Jeff Shotts, both of the Minneapolis-based independent publisher Graywolf Press.
Author Susan Isaacs, chairman of Poets & Writers' Board of Directors, said, "We are thrilled to have an opportunity to shine a light on the extraordinary contributions of these writers and editors. They embody the values that Poets & Writers aspires to: service, integrity, inclusivity, and excellence."
The Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award
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. It is named for Barnes & Noble in appreciation of the company's loyal sponsorship of Poets & Writers. This year's recipients have championed fellow writers, taught writing to incarcerated men, supported organizations across the literary landscape, and worked to strengthen the literary community.
Francisco Goldman is an acclaimed novelist and frequent contributor to the New Yorker. He is being recognized for promoting the work of other writers, especially those from Latin America. Goldman created and directs the Aura Estrada Prize (Premio Aura Estrada), which is named for his late wife. The prize is open to North American women writing in Spanish and carries a generous award of $10,000. Founded in 2008, the prize has already identified a number of important emerging voices.
Ann Patchett is a New York Times best-selling author and owner of Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee. She is being recognized for her tireless work on behalf of the literary community, including service to such organizations as the Authors Guild, Book Industry Charitable Foundation, Fine Arts Work Center, Independent Bookstore Day, Nashville Public Library Foundation, PEN, the Eudora Welty Foundation, World Book Night, and Writers and Books. She is known for her efforts to bring together readers and authors -- in her own bookstore, in public libraries, and in many other venues.
Richard Shelton, an award-winning poet, memoirist, and professor, has taught writing workshops in Arizona's prisons for more than four decades, giving scores of incarcerated men access to the transformative power of writing. Several workshop participants have gone on to have successful careers as poets, journalists, and educators. In a recent article for Orion Magazine, Shelton described the profound impact his work in prisons has had: "[The participants] welcome criticism because they know it will push their writing toward improvement, possibly even publication. And publication changes lives. I have witnessed it again and again. There is something about seeing one's name on the page with one's creative work...that makes a difference in a person's self-image."
The Editor's Award
The Editor's Award recognizes editors who have made outstanding contributions to the publication of poetry or literary prose over a sustained period of time. The Awards Committee, which is composed of current and past members of the Poets & Writers Board of Directors, notes that Fiona McCrae, publisher and director of Graywolf Press, and Jeff Shotts, executive editor at Graywolf, have each been nominated multiple times over the past several years by esteemed authors and colleagues. The Awards Committee decided to give the award jointly to both McCrae and Shotts, in honor of the tremendous impact they have had, individually and collaboratively.
As director of the pace-setting nonprofit literary publisher, Fiona McCrae is credited with developing a list that is exceptionally diverse and challenging. In addition to her role as director, McCrae continues to edit works by authors such as Percival Everett and Anuradha Roy. She has introduced important works in translation to American readers, notably Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses.
Jeff Shotts has perhaps the winningest list of contemporary poets of any editor working today. They include: Elizabeth Alexander (Jackson Poetry Prize), Mary Jo Bang (National Book Critics Circle Award), Fanny Howe (Ruth Lilly Prize), D. A. Powell (National Book Critics Circle Award), Claudia Rankine (MacArthur Fellowship, National Book Award, Jackson Poetry Prize), Vijay Seshadri (Pulitzer Prize), Tracy K. Smith (Pulitzer Prize), and Mary Szybist (National Book Award), among others. Shotts is also noted for his work with authors of literary nonfiction, including Eula Biss (On Immunity), Steph Burt (Close Calls With Nonsense), Leslie Jamison (The Empathy Exams), and Kevin Young (The Grey Album).
McCrae and Shotts join a prestigious list of past recipients of the Editor's Award: Chuck Adams, Kathryn Court, Barbara Epler, Jonathan Galassi, Daniel Halpern, Kate Medina, Paul Slovak, and Pat Strachan.
In Celebration of Writers
The awards will be presented at Poets & Writers' annual dinner, In Celebration of Writers, on Tuesday evening, March 8, 2017, at 583 Park Avenue in New York City. The chair of this year's event is Shawn Morin, CEO and president of Ingram Content Group. Actress, author, and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jane Alexander, will serve as the emcee for the event. Susan Isaacs will present the awards on behalf of the Board of Directors.
Tickets to the dinner begin at $500 per person. The evening is expected to generate over $500,000, with proceeds to support Poets & Writers' programs for creative writers.
About Poets & Writers
Poets & Writers believes in contemporary literature's indispensable value to our national culture. We focus on literature's source: creative writers.
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.
Founded in 1970, Poets & Writers pursues this mission by publishing Poets & Writers Magazine, an award-winning bi-monthly journal; producing a website that provides trustworthy advice, information, and a lively online community for writers; administering the Readings & Workshops Program, which pays writers fees for giving readings and leading workshops throughout New York and California, as well as in eight cities outside these states; staging Poets & Writers Live, a series of events bringing writers and publishing professionals together; and presenting awards for writers including the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award, and the Amy Award. Learn more at pw.org.
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