Literary Award Gala

2021 Literary Award Gala

Literary Award Gala Weekend

Patrons Party
Friday, November 12th
6:30 p.m.
Main Library

Public Lecture
Saturday, November 13th
10:00 a.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. High School

Literary Award Gala
Saturday, November 13th
6:30 p.m.
Main Library

An Important Message

We are excited to come together in November to honor Colson Whitehead and to celebrate the Library. With that said, your safety is paramount. We are working closely with Meharry Medical College as our Health & Safety partner to make decisions that put your health first. Right now, this looks like the following measure in place to keep you safe.

  • Offering a virtual Gala option. To meet your needs and comfort level, we are preparing a virtual Gala with all of the splendor that you can enjoy from home.
  • Deep cleanings prior to and between the two events. We will ensure that a thorough clean of the Library takes place.
  • Reduced capacity. All events will take place with 50 percent or fewer guests than in past years.
  • Spreading out over multiple floors. We will space our events held at the Library out to ensure that you’re able to socially distance.
  • Disinfecting stations throughout the Gala. We will have hand sanitizing stations spread all over the event.
  • Required masks. To comply with the City’s mandate and to ensure your safety, masks will be required. Should the mandate be lifted, we will explore the health data with Meharry to decide if masks are needed.
  • Required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test from a provider for in-person events.*
  • Limited interactions between wait staff and guests. To minimize exposure, we are working closely with our caterer to ensure as little contact as possible.

We will keep you up to date on Meharry’s recommendations, which may include additional safety precautions, as we get closer to the event. As always, thank you and we look forward to celebrating with you soon. 

*To ensure your safety, we will not be able to accept home COVID tests, but will instead require that they come from a health entity.

About the Award

Established in 2004, the Nashville Public Library Literary Award recognizes distinguished authors for their illustrious contributions to the world of books, literacy, and reading. Each year, we bring an outstanding individual to Nashville for a weekend-long celebration to honor their achievements while simultaneously raising funds to support NPL and its essential education and literacy programs and resources.

About Our Honoree

This year, we are proud to honor Colson Whitehead. Whitehead is the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning, National Book Award winning, and New York Times bestselling author of The Nickel Boys, The Underground Railroad (now a televised miniseries on Amazon,)The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intiutionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York, a collection of essays. Whitehead’s reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications and he’s taught at multiple post secondary institutions including Columbia University and Princeton University.

Enjoy this video, created in fall 2020. from our honoree, Colson Whitehead.

Past Honorees
Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, 2019
David Remnick, 2018
Elizabeth Gilbert, 2017
John Lewis, 2016
Jon Meacham, 2015
Scott Turow, 2014
Robert K. Massie, 2013
Margaret Atwood, 2012
John McPhee, 2011
Billy Collins, 2010
Doris Kearns Goodwin, 2009
John Irving, 2008
Ann Patchett, 2007
John Updike, 2006
David McCullough, 2005
David Halberstam, 2004

Past Gala Chairs
Vandana Abramson
Beth Alexander
Grace Awh
Jean Ann Banker
Mary & John Bettis
Holly Coltea
Sondra Cruickshanks
Kaye & Roy Elam
Kate Ezell
Janetta Fleming
Elizabeth Fox
Jennifer Frist
Kathy Harrell
Barbara Haugen
Lucy Haynes
Phyllis & James Hildreth
Vicki Horne
Ann Kelly
Corinne Kidd
Mary & Calvin Lewis
Gina & Dick Lodge
Keith Meacham
Juli & Ralph Mosley
Elizabeth Papel
Kathryn Hays Sasser
Kate Satz
Kay Simmons
Denine Torr
Laura Anne Turner
Phyllis Vandewater
Jessica Viner
Linde Wilson
Lydia Howarth & Nicholas Zeppos