New Literary Prize of $50,000.00 Awarded Yearly for Fiction

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The Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley, English Department are pleased to announce the launch of The Simpson Family Literary Project and the creation of a $50,000.00 literary prize. The prize will annually recognize a writer who has earned a distinguished reputation and the approbation and gratitude of readers. The Inaugural Prize Recipient for 2017-2018 will be an author of fiction at the relatively middle stage of a burgeoning career. He or she will give a public reading and be celebrated during a brief spring residence at the Lafayette Library and the University of California, Berkeley.

 The Simpson Family Literary Project, in addition to the national literary prize, promotes and pursues lasting educational outreach into schools, university, and libraries, and honors and supports authors across a great spectrum: from young writers to mid-career writers of distinction to internationally celebrated authors. The Project’s initiatives include teaching creative writing to high school-age writers and establishing a writer in residence program at the Lafayette Library.

Joyce Carol Oates has been announced as Writer is Residence at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation in Spring 2018, engaging with librarians and younger writers in the Bay Area.

The Simpson Family Literary Project is the result of a private/public partnership between Berkeley’s distinguished English Department and the innovative Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation. The Project gratefully acknowledges the profound impact and inspiration of Barclay and Sharon Simpson and their family, distinguished philanthropic sustainers of the arts and education, and heroic supporters of both Berkeley and the Library. For many years the Simpsons have championed the lives and achievements of artists, students, life-long-learners, and underserved children. 

Founding Chair of The Simpson Family Literary Project, Bay Area author Joseph Di Prisco, says, “A crucial democratic principle infuses the Simpson Family Literary Project: literature creates community and inspires literacy.  Storytelling endures as an innate skill everyone possesses and practices, however reflexively and casually.  At its most empowering, telling a story leads to literacy.”

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