Writers for Writers Award, Editor’s Award

Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award

The Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award celebrates authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community. The award, which is presented each year at Poets & Writers’ annual dinner, is named for Barnes & Noble in appreciation of its long-standing support.

Recipients of the 2019 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award are Reginald Dwayne Betts (for mentoring individuals involved in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and for his efforts to reform these systems); Neil Gaiman (for advocating for freedom of expression worldwide and inspiring countless writers); and Roxana Robinson (for her long-standing, fierce, and outspoken advocacy on behalf of authors).

Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet and memoirist. His latest collection of poetry, Bastards of the Reagan Era (Four Way Books, 2015) received the 2016 PEN New England Award in Poetry. His first collection of poems, Shahid Reads His Own Palm, won the Beatrice Hawley Award. Betts’ memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was the recipient of the 2010 NAACP Image Award for non-fiction. Betts is a graduate of Yale Law School, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2018 Emerson Fellow at New America. A tireless advocate for reform of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, he frequently donates his time as a spokesperson and lecturer to bring visibility and awareness to these causes. He has made countless visits into prisons and juvenile centers to share his poetry and to speak about the power of reading, literacy, and mentorship with those incarcerated.

Neil Gaiman writes books for children and adults, graphic novels and nonfiction, including American Gods, The Graveyard Book, and Norse Mythology. He is also a screenwriter, a poet, and makes films and television. He uses his platform as an award-winning and beloved writer to speak and write about the importance of libraries, literacy, and freedom of expression worldwide. His most influential speeches, such as “Make Good Art,” given to graduates at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, have been read and heard by millions of people. He is a professor of the arts at Bard College, a fellow of the Royal Society for Literature, and visiting professor at Liverpool University. He has used social media since 1989 to give advice and encouragement to writers of all ages, genders and nationalities. In 2017 he became a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees.

Roxana Robinson’s most recent book, Sparta, was short-listed for the Dublin Impac Award, won the Maine Fiction Award and was named one of the BBC’s Ten Best Books of the Year. Her earlier novel, Cost, won the Maine Fiction Award and was named one of the Five Best Fiction Books of 2008 by the Washington Post. She is the author of three other novels, three story collections and the biography Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. Four were New York Times Notable Books. Robinson’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper’s, the Nation, and Best American Short Stories. She has been honored as a New York Public Library Lion and was a finalist for the NBCC Balakian Award for Criticism. She has received fellowships from the NEA, the MacDowell Colony and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has taught at the University of Houston and Wesleyan University, as well as at many literary conferences. She currently teaches in the MFA Program at Hunter College. Robinson has served as a Trustee for the National Humanities Center and PEN America, and is a long-time member of the Council of the Authors Guild, where she served as President from 2013-2017. For nearly two decades she has supervised Word of Mouth, a support network providing connection and community for women fiction writers. She serves on the writers councils of both the Center for Fiction and Poets & Writers.

The Editor’s Award

The Editor’s Award recognizes a book editor who has made an outstanding contribution to the publication of poetry or literary prose over a sustained period of time. This 2019 recipient is Dawn Davis, vice president and publisher of 37 Ink, an imprint of the Atria Publishing Group, a division of Simon & Schuster. 

Throughout her career, Davis has worked to advance diverse and historically marginalized voices in publishing. Since launching 37 Ink in April 2013, she has published the National Book Award-longlisted story collection Heads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, the National Book Award finalist for nonfiction, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, and New York Times best-sellers including The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood and The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae, creator and producer of the widely acclaimed HBO show, Insecure. For twelve years prior to joining Simon & Schuster, she directed the Amistad imprint at HarperCollins, where she published the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Known World by Edward P. Jones, and acclaimed debut authors including Attica Locke, Bill Cheng, and Dolen Perkins-Valdez.

Photo Credits: Rachel Eliza Griffiths (Betts), Beowulf Sheehan (Gaiman), David-Ignaszewski (Robinson).

Previous Award Winners

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Steve Cannon
Richard Russo
Rebecca Saletan (Editor’s Award)

Francisco Goldman
Ann Patchett
Richard Shelton
Fiona McCrae (Editor’s Award)
Jeff Shotts (Editor’s Award)

Elizabeth George
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Christopher Soto, and Javier Zamora
Erin Belieu, Cate Marvin, and Ann Townsend
Paul Slovack (Editor’s Award)

Margaret Atwood
Cheryl Boyce-Taylor
Christopher Castellani
Barbara Epler (Editor’s Award)

Ian Frazier
Haki R. Madhubuti
Joyce Carol Oates
Kate Medina (Editor’s Award)

Steve Berry
Rigoberto Gonzalez
Judith Kelman
Chuck Adams (Editor’s Award)
Leonard Riggo (Leadership Award)

David Baldacci
Kwame Dawes
Carol Muske-Dukes
Kathryn Court (Editor’s Award)

Maria Mazziotti Gillan
John Grisham
Elizabeth Nunez
Jonathan Galassi (Editor’s Award)

Junot Díaz
Maxine Hong Kingston
M. L. Liebler
Pat Strachan (Editor’s Award)

Russell Banks
Robert Caro
Sarah Gambito
Daniel Halpern (Editor’s Award)

Toi Derricotte
A.M. Homes
Peter Straub

E. Ethelbert Miller
Francine Prose
Susan Richards Shreve

Regie Cabico
Bill Henderson
Anna Quindlen

Barbara Kingsolver
Sidney Offit
Quincy Troupe

Judy Blume
Oakley Hall
Sharon Olds

Bob Holman
Ishmael Reed
Amy Tan

E. Lynn Harris
June Jordan
Wally Lamb

Cornelius Eady
Marita Golden
Scott Turow

Stanley Kunitz
Barbara Goldsmith
Terry McMillan

Edward Albee
E. L. Doctorow
Susan Sontag

Rita Dove
Stephen King
Hilma Wolitzer

Mary Higgins Clark
James A. Michener
Arthur Miller
Walter Mosley
William Styron