From the St. Louis Literary Consortium: Writer William Gass has been chosen as the recipient of the first annual Tradition of Literary Excellence Award. The award, which was created and is funded by the Municipal Commission of Arts & Letters in University City, is given “to honor the work of a living local author whose literary achievement has won national and international acclaim and, in so doing, has contributed to the distinction of the St. Louis area, upholding its tradition as a center of literary excellence.”
Gass, who turns 90 this year, is a prolific and influential writer of short stories, novels, essays, and literary criticism who is admired by readers around the world. Currently, he is the David May Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Washington University. He joined the philosophy department at Washington University in 1969 and founded the International Writers Center in 1990, which he directed until his retirement in 2000. He was the first recipient of the PEN/Nabokov Award for Lifetime Achievement, and he won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism an unprecedented three times.
Gass will receive the Tradition of Literary Excellence Award on Friday evening, October 10, 2014, at a party celebrating the launch of Lit in the Lou, a new book festival set in the heart of University City. The event will take place on the fifth floor of University City’s historic city hall at 7:30 p.m. and will mark the opening of the three-day festival. The award will be conferred by Mayor Shelley Welsch of University City, after which Gass is expected to read from his work. In addition to honoring Gass, the literary community will also recognize two local student winners of the Library of Congress Letters About Literature contest.
The public is invited to attend the launch party/awards ceremony and may purchase tickets ($25/person) at Brown Paper Tickets and through the website (stllit.blogspot.com) of the St. Louis Literary Consortium, organizers of Lit in the Lou. All other festival activities, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11 and Sunday, October 12, are free and open to the public. Outdoor activities are slated for Saturday in U. City’s Ackert Park and along Ackert Walkway, with more readings and book signings to be held in Loop shops and restaurants and at the University City Public Library. The event will conclude with additional workshops and panel discussions on Sunday. Lit in the Lou is an STL250 event.
To find out more about the Lit in the Lou Book Festival, visit stllit.blogspot.com, or contact Kristina Blank Makansi at email@example.com, 314.363.4546. And to support Lit in the Lou with a financial donation, check out: www.indiegogo.com/projects/lit-in-the-lou-a-new-book-