The Neustadt International Prize for Literature
The prize was established in 1969 as the Books Abroad International Prize for Literature, then renamed the Books Abroad / Neustadt Prize before assuming its present name in 1976, The Neustadt International Prize for Literature. It is the first international literary award of this scope to originate in the United States and is one of the very few international prizes for which poets, novelists, and playwrights are equally eligible. It is widely considered to be the most prestigious international literary prize after the Nobel Prize in Literature and, in fact, is often referred to as the “American Nobel” because of its record of 32 laureates, candidates, or jurors who in the past 48 years have been awarded Nobel Prizes following their involvement with the Neustadt Prize. Like the Nobel, it is awarded not for any one work but for an entire body of work.
The NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature
Initiated with the 2003 prize, the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature is awarded every other year to a living writer or author-illustrator with significant achievement in children’s or young-adult literature. Made possible through the generosity of Nancy Barcelo, Susan Neustadt Schwartz, and Kathy Neustadt and sponsored by WLT, the NSK Prize celebrates literature that contributes to the quality of children’s lives. Candidates for the award are nominated by a jury of children’s literature experts, and the jury also selects the winner of each biennial prize.
Laureates receive a check for $25,000, a silver medallion, and a certificate at a public ceremony at the University of Oklahoma and are featured in a subsequent issue of WLT. To date, the winners have included Mildred D. Taylor (2003), Brian Doyle (2005), Katherine Paterson (2007), Vera B. Williams (2009), Virginia Euwer Wolff (2011), Naomi Shihab Nye (2013), Meshack Asare (2015), and Marilyn Nelson (2017).
The Neustadt Festival of International Literature and Culture
The awarding of the Neustadt or NSK Children’s Prize occurs during the annual Neustadt Festival of International Literature and Culture. Founded as a conference on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman, Oklahoma, the event has turned into a weeklong festival that features a celebration of literature and the arts.