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Our Award Winners: Colson Whitehead & Literacy Honorees

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Each year we take the opportunity of the Library of Congress National Book Festival to award a series of important prizes that celebrate and honor literature and literacy.

This year, Colson Whitehead, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels “The Nickel Boys” and “The Underground Railroad,” will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the festival.

Whitehead, 50, is the youngest person to receive the Library’s fiction award for his lifetime of work.

“Colson Whitehead’s work is informed by probing insights into the human condition and empathy for those who struggle with life’s sometimes harrowing vicissitudes,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “In novels such as ‘The Nickel Boys’ and ‘The Underground Railroad,’ he has expanded the scope of historical events, transforming them into metaphors for today’s world.” Here’s more on the prize and Colson Whitehead.

The author will take part in a live Q&A event and talk about his life and work at this year’s National Book Festival, Saturday, Sept. 26 at 11 a.m. Visit the festival website and register now for more details.

Literacy Awards | Library of CongressAlso, five organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading will be awarded the 2020 Library of Congress Literacy Awards.

Top prizes are being awarded to The Immigrant Learning Center, The International Rescue Committee Inc. – Pakistan Reading Project, the National Center for Families LearningPratham Books and Room to Read.

The Literacy Awards, originated by David M. Rubenstein in 2013, honor organizations doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work. Collectively, all of these awards spotlight the great efforts underway to promote literacy and respond to the needs of our time.

Here’s more on the Literacy Awards and their 2020 recipients.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS to Colson Whitehead. Keep on writing. We love your work.

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