Honorees to be celebrated on May 24, 2017, at 25th Annual Gala
Novelist and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, best-selling author and literary philanthropist James Patterson, and self-publishing service IngramSpark® will be celebrated for their distinctive and distinguished contributions to American literature at the Authors Guild’s 25th Annual Gala on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at the Essex House, 160 Central Park South in New York City.
The Authors Guild has presented awards for distinguished service since 1996 to Joan Didion, Suzanne Collins, Dave Eggers, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Marita Golden, Joyce Carol Oates, and Robert Pinsky, among others. Guild President Roxana Robinson notes that “This year’s honorees follow in our tradition of recognizing writers and others who not only are at the top of their field, but also give generously back to the literary community.”
Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best-known novels are The Bluest Eye(1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), and Beloved (1987). Her most recent novel is God Help the Child (2015). Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved, which was adapted into a film of the same name. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. She was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2012, Morrison received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2016 she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. Morrison is also a respected lecturer, scholar, and teacher. She founded the Princeton Atelier, a unique model that fosters creative talent by bringing together distinguished artists from all fields with students to collaborate on original performances, productions, and exhibitions. She also was a mentor in Rolex’s Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, working with novelist Julia Leigh (The Hunter).
“I look forward to accepting this award from the Authors Guild, an organization I’ve been part of for over four decades,” said Morrison. “To work on behalf of one’s fellow authors and readers is an honor, and it is work that’s necessary to sustain a diverse and vital literary culture. The Guild, I know from experience, is committed to this ideal, which makes this award all the more meaningful.”
James Patterson has created many enduring fictional characters including Alex Cross and Michael Bennett, along with several best-selling series, including The Women’s Murder Club and Maximum Ride. He has sold over 400 million books worldwide and holds the Guinness World Record for most #1 New York Timesbestsellers. Patterson’s philanthropic endeavors are wide ranging. He has given more than one million books to students, has donated $3.5 million to school libraries throughout the United States, over $500,000 to independent bookstores, and has established more than five thousand college scholarships for teachers. Patterson also writes children’s, middle-grade, and young-adult fiction. His children’s book imprint at Little, Brown, JIMMY Patterson, is focused on one goal: turning kids into lifelong readers. He invests proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives. For his initiatives to help kids become passionate readers and for his philanthropic efforts, Patterson was awarded the National Book Foundation’s 2015 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and the L.A. Times Book Prize’s 2016 Innovator’s Award.
“To be recognized for literary service is an honor that moves me deeply,” said Patterson. “An award like this brings attention to all that’s being done—much of it out of the spotlight—to build a sustainable reading community in this country, a mission that underscores all of my work.”
IngramSpark is one of the primary distribution platforms for independent authors. Offering comprehensive global distribution in print and digital formats, IngramSpark is changing the way authors reach their readers. IngramSpark, an Ingram Lightning Source LLC service, was launched in 2013 for indie publishers and authors as a way to bring their books to a global audience. Since the launch, tens of thousands of authors from around the world have used IngramSpark as their platform. These authors represent a range of genres from fiction and poetry to children’s literature, business, and educational content. Notable authors using IngramSpark include novelist CJ Lyons, Barbara Freethy, and poet and artist Robert Drake. The award will be accepted by Phil Ollila, Chief Content Officer of Ingram Content Group on behalf of IngramSpark.
“In our increasingly global marketplace for books, IngramSpark provides the platform for independent authors and publishers to reach their readers,” said Ollila. “We’re grateful to the Authors Guild for recognizing Ingram’s commitment to helping authors and publishers reach their audience.”
Authors Guild Executive Director Mary Rasenberger said, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor Ms. Morrison, Mr. Paterson, and Ingram for their literary service. They have each played a monumental role in the literary community, and the work they do on behalf of authors and the reading public has made that community a stronger, richer, and more wonderful one.”
For information on purchasing tickets to the gala, visit the Authors Guild website or call (212) 594-2167. Individual tickets are $600 and $1,000; tables are $6,000 to $50,000.
About the Authors Guild and Authors Guild Foundation
The Authors Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for writers. Since its beginnings over a century ago, it has served as the collective voice of American authors. Our members include novelists, historians, journalists, and poets—traditionally and independently published—as well as literary agents and representatives of writers’ estates.
The Guild advocates for authors on issues of copyright, fair contracts, free speech, and tax fairness, and has initiated lawsuits in defense of authors’ rights, where necessary. We represent authors on Capitol Hill, in state legislatures, and in government agencies.
The Authors Guild Foundation, the charitable arm of the Guild, works to create a vibrant literary community by protecting writing as a livelihood and supporting the role of writers in our society. The Foundation advocates for authors rights, fights to protect them against unlicensed reproduction, defends free expression, and educates writers with the business knowledge and skills to survive in the writing profession.