Robert Con Davis-Undiano, Neustadt professor and executive director of the World Literature Today organization at the University of Oklahoma, this week announced the names of nine writers to be the jury for the 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
Calling this group “one of the most prestigious Neustadt juries ever,” he said that each juror nominates one writer for the prize.
The jurors are Russian-born literary nonfiction writer Anna Badkhen; Kapka Kassabova, a native of Bulgaria and a writer of journeys and geographies; Philippine American poet Joseph O. Legaspi; poet, translator and essayist Philip Metres; Dunya Mikhail, an Iraqi American poet; poet and translator André Naffis-Sahely; Vi Khi Nao, whose work includes poetry, fiction, and film; Felipe Restrepo Pombo, a Colombian journalist, editor and author; and Katherena Vermette, a Métis poet and writer of adult and children’s literature.
The finalists for the 2020 Neustadt Prize will be announced in July.
The jury will convene Oct. 16 during the annual Neustadt Lit Fest in Norman, Oklahoma. The winner will be announced that evening during a live broadcast on the WLT Facebook page.
This prestigious prize can be awarded to a living writer anywhere in any genre. It recognizes great accomplishments in literature and is frequently referenced as “the American Nobel” for its reputation as a forerunner to the Nobel.
First given in 1970 to Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti, the prize has gone to Nobel laureates Gabriel García Márquez, Czesław Miłosz, and Octavio Paz as well as many well-known novelists, poets, and playwrights.
The Neustadt Prize is given in alternating years with the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. The 2018 Neustadt Prize was awarded to Edwidge Danticat, an American writer of Haitian descent. The 2019 NSK Prize winner is author Margarita Engle, who will receive $35,000, a silver medallion and a certificate of recognition at the 2019 Neustadt Lit Fest hosted in her honor.
For 2019, the NSK Prize is being increased from $25,000 to $35,000 as part of an ongoing initiative to achieve parity between the two prizes.
More information about the Neustadt Lit Fest, including full biographies of the jurors, can be found at neustadtprize.org or by calling 325-4531.
The Neustadt International Prize for Literature is a biennial award sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and World Literature Today. The prize consists of $50,000, a replica of an eagle feather cast in silver and a certificate.
A generous endowment from the Neustadt family of Dallas, Denver and Watertown, Massachusetts, ensures the award in perpetuity. It is the first international literary award of this scope to originate in the United States and is one of the very few international prizes for which poets, novelists and playwrights are equally eligible.
Founded in 1927, World Literature Today is the University of Oklahoma’s award-winning magazine of international literature and culture. The mission of World Literature Today is to serve the international, state and university communities by achieving excellence as a literary publication, a sponsor of literary prizes, and a cultural center for students.
Now in its ninth decade of continuous publication, World Literature Today has been recognized by the Swedish Academy as one of the “best edited and most informative literary publications” in the world and was recently called “an excellent source of writings from around the globe by authors who write as if their lives depend on it” (Utne Reader).