2020 Award Winners pictured above: (top left to right): Minrose Gwin, Margaret McMullan, Bark (Susan and Tim Lee), C. T. Salazar, and Steve Rouse (bottom left to right): Ann J. Abadie, Will Jacks, Lemuria Books, Stacey Johnson, and Angie Thomas
There will be a joint celebration of 2020 & 2021 Award Winners on June 12, 2021, in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Visit the Awards Weekend tab for more information.
Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award
The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2021 Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award Rea Hederman New York, New York A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Rea Hederman graduated from Murrah High School and Mississippi College. He earned an MBA from the University of Virginia and an MA in Journalism from the University of Missouri. He has been publisher of the New York Review of Books since 1984. The New York Times described the Review as “one of the most influential and admired journals of its kind” and “the country’s most successful intellectual journal.” Hederman received from the University of Missouri School of Journalism the Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.
Rea Hederman’s career has served as a foundation, a grounding for free expression, for accuracy, for depth of understanding, and for literary accomplishment. We need more like him. – Robert Ivy, CEO, AIA, Washington, DC Rea Hederman has made an exemplary and great contribution to American journalism and culture—and, when he could, gave his best to Mississippi, which amounts to much that, indeed, has lasted. – Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi The New York Review, under Rea Hederman’s stewardship, has grown and widened its appeal and influence in all manner of worldwide literary and humane concerns. It thrives to this day, and in no small part does it thrive because of Rea Hederman and his great vision and generosity and tenacity. There's no story like his since Hodding Carter and Turner Catledge. As self-effacing as he is—and he is very much out of the spotlight—Rea deserves Mississippi's thanks and hurrahs for being the best of our best. – Richard Ford, Novelist and Short Story Writer, East Boothbay, Maine
The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters is pleased to announce the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Ann J. Abadie Oxford, Mississippi Since 1975, Dr. Ann J. Abadie has been a driving force at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, contributing to its success as the institution’s associate director, as the editor of numerous book projects, and as the co-founder of the Center’s annual Oxford Conference for the Book. Now the Center’s associate director emerita, Abadie has spent the past five decades—and counting—working mostly behind the scenes on educational and literary projects across our state. A devoted ally to the arts and to the written word, she is most deserving of this award, and we are pleased to give her a night "in the spotlight" for her tireless work. Ann Abadie "In the Spotlight"
2020 Special Achievement Award to the Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival, sponsored by Coahoma Community College, and to the festival’s early founders, Panny Mayfield and Dr. Kenneth Holditch, for keeping alive the work of a truly remarkable Mississippi playwright, for educating our state’s young people on Williams’s work, and for bringing fans from far and wide to our state.
2020 Citation of Merit
In recognition and appreciation for their years of contributing to the literary life of Mississippi, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters is pleased to present a Citation of Merit to Lemuria Books Jackson, Mississippi
2021 - Andrea Morales, Oxford - Roll Down Like Water 2020 - Will Jacks, Cleveland – Po’ Monkey’s: Portrait of a Juke Joint
2021- Catherine Pierce, Starkville - Danger Days 2020 - C. T. Salazar, Caledonia – This Might Have Meant Fire
Music Composition (Classical)
2021 - James Sclater, Clinton - Angels 2020 - Steve Rouse, Louisville, Kentucky – The Bird, the Bee, and the Bear
2021 - Odie Lindsey, Nashville, Tennessee - Some Go Home 2020 - Minrose Gwin, Albuquerque, New Mexico – The Accidentals
2021 - Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Princeton, New Jersey - Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own 2020 - Margaret McMullan, Pass Christian - Where the Angels Lived: One Family’s Story of Exile, Loss, and Return