The Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award is an annual award given by the Tulsa Library Trust. Its purpose is to give formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to internationally acclaimed authors who have written a distinguished body of work and made a major contribution to the field of literature and letters.
The award consists of a $40,000 cash prize and an engraved crystal book.
Past award winners are Kazuo Ishiguro (2013), Wendell Berry (2012), Alan Furst (2011), Ian McEwan (2010), Geraldine Brooks (2009), Michael Chabon (2008), Thomas Keneally (2007), Mark Helprin (2006), John Grisham (2005), Shelby Foote (2003), Joyce Carol Oates (2002), William Kennedy (2001), William Manchester (2000), Margaret Atwood (1999), E.L. Doctorow (1998), Dr. John Hope Franklin (1997), Neil Simon (1996), David McCullough (1995), Ray Bradbury (1994), Peter Matthiessen (1993), Norman Mailer (1992), Eudora Welty (1991), John le Carré (1990), Saul Bellow (1989), Toni Morrison (1988), John Updike (1987), Larry McMurtry (1986) and Norman Cousins (1985).
Dec. 5 and 6, 2014
Friday, Dec. 5 • 7 p.m.
Librarium, 1110 S. Denver Ave.
Saturday, Dec. 6 • 10:30 a.m.
Hardesty Regional Library, Connor’s Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St.
Tulsa Library Trust and Tulsa City-County Library
Ann Patchett, American novelist, is the winner of the 2014 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. A New York Times best-selling author, Patchett has written six novels and three books of nonfiction.
Hailed as one of the most interesting and unconventional writers of her generation, Patchett has dazzled readers for the last two decades with her award-winning books, including “The Patron Saint of Liars,” “Taft,” the critically acclaimed “The Magician’s Assistant,” “Bel Canto,” “Run,” and her most recent work, “State of Wonder,” a provocative and ambitious novel set deep in the Amazon jungle. Her nonfiction works have intrigued readers as well. Titles include “Truth & Beauty: A Friendship,” a memoir about her friendship with writer Lucy Grealy; “What Now?,” an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College; and, most recently, “This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage,” a collection of essays that examines the theme of commitment. She also was the editor of “Best American Short Stories 2006.”
“Patchett is a master storyteller who has an entertaining habit of dropping ordinary people into extraordinary and exotic circumstances to see what they’re made of,” according to Publishers Weekly.
A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Patchett has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, PEN/Faulkner Award, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Book Sense Book of the Year, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the American Bookseller’s Association’s “Most Engaging Author Award” and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award. Her books have been both New York Times Notable Books and New York Times best-sellers. Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages.
In November 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn., with her partner Karen Hayes. She has since gone on to be a spokesperson for independent booksellers, talking about books and bookstores on “The Colbert Report,” NPR, “The Martha Stewart Show” and “The CBS Early Show.” In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Patchett lives in Nashville, Tenn., with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.
The Tulsa Library Trust is a public foundation created by private contributions to benefit Tulsa City-County Library. Income generated by the Trust's endowment is used to fund projects and purchase materials that the library could not afford through its operating budget.
Ken Lackey is chairman of the 2014 Distinguished Author Selection Committee.
Kristin Bender is chairwoman of the 2014 Distinguished Author Award Dinner Committee, which is made up of more than 90 volunteers.
Steven H. Austin is president of the Tulsa Library Trust board.