World Literature Today Announces 2023 Neustadt Festival Poster Design Contest Winners

September 6, 2023
by  WLT

A styled advertisement for the Neustadt Lit Fest.

University of Oklahoma students Sophie Miller, Alexis Davis, Lucy Law (tie), and Evan Johnson (tie) have been awarded first, second, and third place, respectively, in the 2023 Neustadt Lit Fest poster design project. The students participated in the competition as part of an annual collaboration sponsored by World Literature Today and the University of Oklahoma School of Visual Arts.

Miller’s winning design will be used in all the promotional materials for the 2023 Neustadt Festival, slated for Oct. 23–25 on the OU campus. The festival’s schedule of events and full list of featured writers, artists and scholars are available online.

Renowned graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang—the eleventh laureate of the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s & Young Adult Literature as well as a MacArthur Fellow and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature—will headline the festival. Nine visiting writers will also convene as the jury to select the winner of the 2024 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and give readings from their works.

Since 2011, School of Visual Arts undergraduate coordinator Karen Hayes-Thumann has incorporated the poster competition as part of an undergraduate course in visual communication. During the spring semester, WLT’s art director, Parker Buske, and editor in chief, Daniel Simon, met with the students in person and over Zoom to provide feedback and help them refine their concepts. The WLT staff then chose the winners from among the final designs.

“We had some really outstanding entries for the poster design contest,” said Buske, “and Sophie’s design really stood out amongst the lot. She created design elements that accompany Gene’s cartoonist style well and will work effectively within our promotional content leading up to the festival. She worked well with the materials provided to represent the theme of the festival and WLT in an effortless and amusing way. Great job to Sophie, and great job to all of the students who participated in this contest!”

Sophie Miller is an artist and designer studying at the University of Oklahoma. Her work is inspired by a love for play and color and takes shape in many different mediums, from large-scale murals to logo design. Her hometown is Edmond, Oklahoma.

Alexis Davis is from Plano, Texas, and is a current OU visual communications student with a minor in architecture. In her free time, she enjoys all artistic things—including graphic design, painting, and drawing.

Lucy Law is from Oklahoma City and is pursuing a degree in Visual Communications at the University of Oklahoma. Her plans after school are to move to a bigger city and work as a product designer.

To learn more about the Neustadt prizes, visit