The Norman Transcript

Local news

September 18, 2008

NEW: Banquet to honor winner of the Neustadt Prize

New Zealand author Patricia Grace, the 20th laureate of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, administered by the University of Oklahoma and its international magazine, World Literature Today, will be honored at a banquet Friday at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

Grace will receive a $50,000 check, a silver eagle feather, and a certificate. Also that evening, World Literature Today and the Neustadt family will announce the 2009 laureate for the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature.

Grace was selected for the Neustadt Prize by an international jury representing 10 countries. She is the fourth woman to win the prize.

"Not only does the Neustadt Prize recognize Patricia Grace as one of the most remarkable writers in the world, but there is huge and special resonance in honoring an indigenous, first nation writer," said R.C. Davis-Undiano, executive director of World Literature Today and dean of the OU Honors College. "This is a landmark and wonderful development."

Patricia Grace has been writing and publishing since the mid-1970s. Her published work includes six novels, five short-story collections, and several books for children. Baby No-Eyes, her fourth novel, was the representative text read by this year's Neustadt Prize jury. Joy Harjo, who nominated Grace for the Neustadt award, notes that Grace is "an essential and key figure in the emergence of a unique Maori fiction," describing her work as a "brilliant weave of Maori oral storytelling contained within the more contemporary Western literary forms of the novel and short story."

Grace's previous awards include the New Zealand Fiction Award in 1987 and the Frankfurt Liberaturepreis in 1994 for her novel Potiki, which has been translated into several languages. She received the Hubert Church Prose Award for Best First Book for Waiariki in 1976. Dogside Story won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Fiction Prize in 2001 and also was long-listed for the Booker Prize. Her novel Tu was awarded the Deutz Medal for fiction at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2005.

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