Books That Inspire

Books That Inspire 2013

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The theme for the 2013 Books That Inspire exhibit is award-winning books and authors. Many readers are aware of literary awards of national notoriety such as the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Awards, and the Newbery Award. However, Oklahoma also has many literary awards that we hope to highlight in the exhibit.

The Neustadt International Prize for Literature is a biennial award sponsored by the University of Oklahoma's World Literature Today, a leading journal of world literature. The award was endowed by the Neustadt family, who are also the namesake of the 1982 addition of our own Bizzell Memorial Library. The prize consists of a replica eagle feather cast in silver, and a statue of Ms. Doris Neustadt holding an eagle feather graces the south entrance of Bizzell. Neustadt Prize Laureates include such notable authors as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz, and Elizabeth Bishop as well as many other international writers.

OU benefactor Peggy V. Helmerich sponsors the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award each year. This award is co-sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust and the Tulsa City-County Library and recognizes a distinguished body of work in the field of literature in letters. Award winners include Toni Morrison, John Updike, David McCullough, and Norman Mailer among many others.

The Sequoyah Book Awards for Children’s, Intermediate, and High School Literature are sponsored by the Oklahoma Library Association. These awards are unique in that the students themselves vote for the winning books each year, which encourages students to read books of literary quality. As educators, we know it is important to instill the love of reading in children at an early age so that it becomes a lifelong habit, and this award helps to encourage reading

There are just a few of the literary awards given in Oklahoma. Other organizations in the state, including the Oklahoma Center for the Book and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, also sponsor awards that recognize greatness in this field. I think the breadth of awards available in our state indicates the importance of reading and literature in Oklahoma. As you browse the exhibit, I hope you will find a book or idea that interests and inspires you to read the full book or learn more about the author.

Rick Luce
Dean, University Libraries
Peggy V. Helmerich Chair
Associate Vice President for Research, Norman Campus