Winners of the 2016 Lillian Smith Book Awards will be honored Sept. 4 at the Decatur Book Festival.
The University of Georgia Libraries sponsors the awards, in partnership with the Southern Regional Council, the Georgia Center for the Book and Piedmont College, to honor the social justice activist and highly-acclaimed author of Strange Fruit and Killers of the Dream.
Cheryl Knott, a professor in the School of Information, University of Arizona, will be recognized for Not Free, Not for All: Public Libraries in the Age of Jim Crow; and Minion KC (stet) Morrison, professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Delaware, for Aaron Henry of Mississippi: Inside Agitator.
The award seeks to honor works focused on race, social justice, civil and human rights, issues championed by Smith in her lifetime. The ceremony, part of the Decatur Book Festival, is Sept. 4 at 2:30 p.m. at the Decatur Library.
“Every year we have to make tough choices among the 40-plus excellent entries. The two winners this year join the lineup of so many distinguished winners that have been our honor to choose over the years,” said Mary Twining Baird, chair of the board of judges.
The Southern Regional Council established the Lillian Smith award shortly after Smith’s death in 1966. Internationally acclaimed as author of the controversial novel, Strange Fruit (1944), Lillian Smith was the most liberal and outspoken of white, mid-20th century Southern writers on issues of social and racial injustice. Smith’s family donated the collection of her letters and manuscripts to the University of Georgia ‘s Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library and, in 2004, the UGA Libraries joined the SRC as a partner in administering the awards. The property where she lived and worked in Clayton now serves as an educational center and an artist retreat, the Lillian E. Smith Center of Piedmont College. In 2015, the college joined as a partner in presenting the awards. The Georgia Center for the Book is also an award sponsor, joining in 2007.