Contact: Ashley Fedor

academy@artsandletters.org

(212) 368-5900

2020 Literature Award Winners

New York, March 11, 2020 – The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the names of 19 writers who will receive its 2020 awards in literature. The awards will be presented in New York at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May. The literature prizes, totaling $350,000, honor both established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. The Academy’s 250 members propose candidates, and a rotating committee of writers selects winners. This year’s award committee members were Louise Glück, John Guare, Amy Hempel, Jayne Anne Phillips, Terry Tempest Williams, and Joy Williams.

Christopher Lightfoot Walker Award
$100,000 to a writer who has made a significant contribution to American literature.
LESLIE MARMON SILKO
Arts and Letters Awards in Literature
Eight awards of $10,000 each honoring exceptional accomplishment in any genre.
MARIE ARANA
JOEL HARRINGTON
JEREMY O. HARRIS
WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
SANDRA LIM
MEGAN MCDOWELL
MAAZA MENGISTE
VIET THANH NGUYEN
Blake-Dodd Prize
$25,000 for achievement in nonfiction.
JANINE DI GIOVANNI
Benjamin Hadley Danks Award
$20,000 to an exceptional writer.
HANYA YANAGIHARA
E. M. Forster Award
$20,000 to a young writer from the United Kingdom or Ireland for a stay in the U.S. Award jury: Jhumpa Lahiri, Colum McCann, Paul Muldoon.
STEPHEN SEXTON
of Northern Ireland
Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction
$5000 for a work of first fiction (novel or short stories) published in 2019.
ISABELLA HAMMAD
for The Parisian
Katherine Anne Porter Award
$20,000 to a prose writer whose achievements and dedication to the literary profession have been demonstrated.
CHRISTINE SCHUTT
Arthur Rense Poetry Prize
$20,000 to an exceptional poet.
MARY RUEFLE
Rosenthal Family Foundation Award
$10,000 to a young writer of considerable literary talent for a work published in 2019.
VALERIA LUISELLI
for Lost Children Archive
Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award
$20,000 to a writer whose work merits recognition for the quality of its prose style.
ALEX KOTLOWITZ
Thornton Wilder Prize for Translation
$20,000 for a significant contribution to the art of literary translation.
LINDA ASHER
Morton Dauwen Zabel Award
$10,000 to a poet of progressive, original, and experimental tendencies.
BRENDA HILLMAN

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 250 members are elected for life and pay no dues.

In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.