Poet, children’s book author, and translator Marilyn Nelson has won the 2017 Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. The biennial award recognizes a “storied career exploring history, race relations, and feminism in America,” and carries with it a $25,000 purse.
Ohio-born Nelson, who currently serves as professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, has written or translated more than a dozen works, and has received honors including the Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Honor, and the Pushcart Prize. In addition to her awards, Nelson has served as the poet laureate of Connecticut, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Poetry Society of America.
Robert Con Davis-Undiano, the executive director of World Literature Today who oversees the prize, said in a press release of Nelson’s work, “Her engaging, lyrical style builds awareness around sensitive issues through human, and even humor storytelling that both children and adults can relate to.”
Established in 2003, the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature honors a living writer or author-illustrator who has made significant achievements in the field. Funding for the award is provided by Nancy Bercelo, Susan Neustadt Shwartz, and Kathy Neustadt, and the prize is sponsored by World Literature Today, the University of Oklahoma–based magazine of international literature. Previous winners include Vera B. Williams, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Naomi Shihab Nye.