2016 Literary Award Gala

honoring John Lewis 

2016 Nashville Public Library Literary Award
honoring JOHN LEWIS
Bestselling Author | Civil Rights Hero | Medal of Freedom Recipient | Congressman


Friday Evening, November 18th


Saturday Morning, November 19th


Saturday Evening, November 19th

131126_John Lewis medal-1200px

John Lewis is a US Congressman, author and American civil rights icon. A graduate of now American Baptist College and Fisk University, Congressman Lewis was a leader in the Nashville student-led, nonviolent sit-in movement and the Freedom Rides in the early 1960s. He was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington and led the Selma to Montgomery March as part of the voting rights movement in 1965.

A 2010 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, John Lewis is co-author of the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel memoir trilogy MARCH. The MARCH series is used in schools across the country to teach the Civil Rights Movement to the next generation of young activists, and has been selected as a First-Year common reading text at colleges and universities across the nation. Lewis’ 1998 memoir Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement won numerous honors, including the Robert F. Kennedy, Lillian Smith and Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. His most recent book, Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, has won the NAACP Image Award.

Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.

For tickets or for more information, contact Elizabeth Sherrard at 

About the Literary Award

The Nashville Public Library Literary Award was established in 2004 to recognize distinguished authors and other individuals for their contributions to the world of books and reading.  Each year the award brings an outstanding individual to Nashville to honor his or her achievements, to benefit the library and to promote books and literacy. A celebration of the written word, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean declared the NPL Literary Award and Gala his “favorite event of the year.”

The NPL Literary Award weekend draws an audience of nearly 1,000 cultural, political, community and business leaders from Nashville and beyond. Each year, the celebration begins with a Patrons Party held at a lovely private home. Often called “the best book club in town,” the annual gathering provides an intimate setting for guests to mingle, network and spark riveting conversation with the award recipient. The following evening hosts the Literary Award Gala at the beautiful downtown library. The black-tie affair begins with cocktails in Ingram Hall and is followed by dinner and remarks from the honoree in the Grand Reading Room.

Previous recipients include David Halberstam, David McCullough, John Updike, Ann Patchett, John Irving, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Billy Collins, John McPhee, Margaret Atwood, Robert K. Massie, Scott Turow and Jon Meacham.

Proceeds from the Literary Award’s Patrons Party and Gala fund the multiple endeavors of the Nashville Public Library Foundation, including the preschool literacy program Bringing Books to Life!, several after-school programs for at-risk youth and the Courtyard Concert series.