Shortlist for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature Announced

May 14, 2020
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A nine panel grid of photos of the NSK Finalists
Top row (left to right): Laurie Halse Anderson, Eric Gansworth, Meg Medina. Middle row: Linda Sue Park, Mitali Perkins, Jason Reynolds. Bottom row: Cynthia Leitich Smith, Laurel Snyder, Alex Wheatle

Finalists for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, sponsored by World Literature Today, were announced today at the University of Oklahoma. The NSK Prize is the most prestigious international children’s literary award given in the United States. A distinguished international jury of accomplished writers and artists selected the shortlist, with their sole criterion being the significant achievement of a writer or illustrator, either over a lifetime or in a single publication, as well as an ongoing, positive impact on children’s literature.

The NSK Prize is celebrated for its exclusive focus on literary merit, being recognized as one of the most truly international literary awards given in the world. Robert Con Davis-Undiano, executive director of World Literature Today, heralded the list of finalists for its excellence: “The NSK Prize recognizes the very best of children’s and young adult literature.” He noted that “it is a special moment when the NSK can boost a writer on the way up.”

The finalists for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature are:

・Laurie Halse Anderson
・Eric Gansworth
・Meg Medina
・Linda Sue Park
・Mitali Perkins
・Jason Reynolds
・Cynthia Leitich Smith
・Laurel Snyder
・Alex Wheatle

Biographical information about each of the candidates can be found here, along with the names of their respective nominating jurors.

The 2021 prizewinner will be announced on Oct. 20, the second night of the 2020 Neustadt Festival, which runs Oct. 19–21. Hosted on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus each fall, the Neustadt Lit Fest is a three-day event featuring music, art, dance, and drama representing that year’s winning writer’s culture as well as roundtable discussions of literary trends and the author’s literary and cultural influence. At the 2021 festival, which will be hosted in the NSK Prize winner’s honor, the recipient will receive $35,000, a silver medallion, and a certificate.

The NSK Prize was first awarded in 2003 to Newbery Medal winner Mildred D. Taylor. Other notable winners include National Book Award recipients Katherine Paterson (2007) and Virginia Euwer Wolff (2011), Naomi Shihab Nye (2013), and Marilyn Nelson (2017), winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal. Last year’s NSK Prize was awarded to Margarita Engle, the 2017–2019 U.S. Young People’s Poet Laureate and two-time finalist for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

The NSK Prize is given in alternating years with the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. The 2020 Neustadt Prize winner is Albanian writer Ismail Kadare. Kadare will be recognized at the 2020 Neustadt Lit Fest, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Neustadt Prize.

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