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The National Endowment for the Arts Celebrates NEA Literature Fellows at the National Book Festival's Poetry & Prose Pavilion on September 22-23, 2012

Renowned authors Jeffrey Eugenides and Tayari Jones are among the presenters

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. - At this year's National Book Festival, many of the poets and writers at the Poetry & Prose Pavilion will celebrate their roles as NEA Literature Fellows, one of the nation's most prestigious competitive awards for new and established authors. The Poetry & Prose Pavilion, sponsored by the NEA, is part of the Library of Congress's twelfth annual literary festival, which takes place on September 23-24, 2012, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. 

This year's lineup at the Poetry & Prose Pavilion includes T.C. Boyle (San Miguel), Giannina Braschi, (United States of Banana), Junot Díaz (This Is How You Lose Her), Stephen Dunn (Here and Now), Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot), Nikky Finney (Head Off & Split), Paul Hendrickson (Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost: 1934-1961, Laura Kasischke (Space, In Chains), Philip Levine (News of the World), Margot Livesey (The Flight of Gemma Hardy), Thomas Mallon (Watergate), and Colson Whitehead (Zone One).

Nine of this year's presenters are NEA Literature Fellows (Boyle, Braschi, Dunn, Eugenides, Hendrickson, Jones, Kasischke, Levine, and Livesey); Jones and Hendrickson just received their Fellowships in 2012.

"[This] program ... I feel is essential to fostering the arts -- particularly for beginning or out-of-the-way artists whose work is not immediately apprehended in a commercial way," said author and Creative Writing Fellow (78, 83) T.C. Boyle in the NEA Literature Fellowships publication.

Also at the Poetry & Prose Pavilion, student state champions from the 2012 Poetry Out Loud National Finals.  Kristen Dupard, who earned both the 2012 Poetry Out Loud National Champion and Mississippi State Champion titles, along with second-place winner and Vermont State Champion Claude Mumbere, and third-place winner, Utah State Champion MarKaye Hassan will recite classic and contemporary poetry that earned them titles during this year's national poetry recitation contest. Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.  

Visit the National Endowment for the Arts and Library of Congress websites for interviews with current and past Book Festival authors, audio clips, downloadable materials, and interactive features. The NEA (@NEAarts) will live-tweet from the NEA Poetry & Prose Pavilion via Twitter. Look for #natbookfest – the official National Book Festival hashtag – to follow news from the festival.

Schedule of events for the NEA Poetry & Prose Pavilion:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Time   Author
10:00-10:45   Poetry Out Loud
10:55-11:40   Paul Hendrickson*
11:50-12:35   Colson Whitehead
12:45-1:30   Philip Levine*
1:40-2:25   Tayari Jones*
2:35-3:20   Jeffrey Eugenides*
3:30-4:15   Margot Livesey*
4:25-5:10   T.C. Boyle*

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Time   Author
12:00-12:45   Giannina Braschi*
12:55-1:40   Nikky Finney
1:50-2:35   Stephen Dunn*
2:45-3:30   Thomas Mallon
3:40-4:25   Junot Díaz
4:35-5:20   Laura Kasischke*

* Denotes recipients of NEA Literature Fellowships

The Poetry & Prose Pavilion is one of several pavilions where more than 100 writers and illustrators will discuss their work. Pavilions include Children, Teens, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Contemporary Life, Poetry & Prose, SciFi Fantasy & Graphic Novels and Special Programs pavilions, plus the Family Storytelling Stage featuring authors and musical acts popular with young children. Last year, more than 100,000 book fans attended the festival.

The 12th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held on the National Mall between 9th and 14th Streets on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 23 from noon to 5:30 p.m., rain or shine. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the National Book Festival Information Line at 888-714-4696 or visit the National Book Festival website.

About the NEA Literature Fellowships

Since 1968, the NEA has awarded more than 3,500 literature fellowships in prose, poetry, and translation.  Literature fellowships are highly competitive, and the prose and poetry fellowships are selected through an anonymous, panel-review process for which the sole criterion for review is artistic excellence. 

The NEA has a strong track record of finding and supporting talent. Since 1990, 61 of the 103 recipients of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction were previous NEA Literature Fellows. Most received NEA Literature Fellowships before any major national award, usually at least a decade earlier.

The NEA offers other grants and programs to support U.S. writers and connect them with communities. These include NEA grants to literary journals and presses, literary centers, reading series, festivals, writers-in-the-schools programs, libraries, and other literary organizations. Special NEA initiatives such as The Big Read and Poetry Out Loud offer model literary programs of artistic excellence and national reach.

About the Library of Congress and the National Book Festival

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 151 million items in various languages, disciplines, and formats. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and events including the Library of Congress National Book Festival, now in its 12th year. More information about the festival can be found at www.loc.gov/bookfest/.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.