The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced the 18 writers who will receive its 2021 awards in literature. The prizes, totaling $600,000, honor both established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry. The academy's 300 members propose candidates, and a rotating committee of writers selects the recipients. Winners will be honored in a virtual presentation on May 19. See the complete list of literature award winners here.
In addition, the American Academy of Arts and Letters will present essayist and poet Rita Dove and composer Yehudi Wyner with Gold Medals for Poetry and Music, respectively. Given annually in two rotating categories of the arts, the medals recognizes those who have achieved eminence in an entire body of work. Artist and writer Phong Bui is being recognized with the academy's Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts for his significant contribution as co-founder and artistic director of the Brooklyn Rail.
During the virtual award ceremony, 29 new members, including 10 writers, and four honorary members will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Membership is limited to 300 architects, visual artists, composers and writers who are elected for life and pay no dues. The new members were elected by vote of the existing membership.