Literary festival returns October 21


Children’s author Patricia McKissack has been chosen as the recipient of the 2016 Tradition of Literary Excellence Award which will be presented at the Gala Opening Event of the Lit in the Lou festival, 7 p.m. October 21 at University City Hall’s fifth floor.

The award, which was created in 2014 and is funded by the Municipal Commission of Arts & Letters of 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.”  Previous recipients of the award were poet Jane O. Wayne in 2015 and author William Gass in 2014.

McKissack, a former teacher and editor of children’s books, began her full-time professional writing career in the early eighties in partnership with her late husband Frederick, with whom she wrote more than 100 children’s books. Among her most well-known works are: Goin’ Someplace Special, a Coretta Scott King Award winner; The Honest-to-Goodness Truth; Let My People Go, recipient of the NAACP Image Award; The Dark-Thirty, a Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award winner; and Mirandy and Brother Wind, recipient of the Caldecott Medal and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

Tickets to the gala are $25 on line with or at the door. Food and drink and included. Parking is on the west rear of the building along with handicap parking and entrance. Additional parking is at the University City Library just east of city hall.

On Saturday, October 22, activities will include a children’s book festival during the day, set at Jackson Park Elementary School in U. City, and an evening literary pub crawl for adults. The Kids’ Book Fest, with activities for both elementary school age children and teens, is free and open to the public. It will feature visiting authors Marc Brown (creator and illustrator of the PBS character, Arthur the Aardvark) and Jacqueline Woodson (award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming), as well as a host of beloved children’s authors who live and work in St. Louis. The Literary Pub Crawl—a ticketed event—boasts venues in and around the U. City Loop where adults can snack and sip while savoring the work of our region’s favorite authors.

For more details about Lit in the Lou, or to support Lit in the Lou with a financial donation, visit


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