The Louis Literary Prize is one of the most renowned literary awards in the United States. Every year, Saint Louis University libraries bestow this honor to a living writer whose work has enriched our literary heritage by deepening our understanding of the human condition and broadening our capacity for compassion. From 1967 to 1981, the award was known as the Messing Award in honor of Roswell and Wilma Messing, Jr. The Louis Literary Prize program series includes the Read Book Talk series on the Saint Louis University campus. This year, acclaimed author Ann Cleeves returns with the third installment of her Two Rivers series, while western thriller author Craig Johnson presents the 19th installment of his hit series starring Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire.
The Saint Louis University libraries will also honor award-winning writer Neil Gaiman with the annual St. Louis Black Authors of Children's Literature award presented by the Reading Garden series for young audiences. Gaiman is the author of Coraline, Neverwhere, The Ocean at The End of The Lane, American Gods, The Graveyard Book, Stardust and The Sandman. He has been awarded the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. His latest work, “Freewater” is a lyrical and accessible medium-grade historical novel about two enslaved children who escape from a plantation and the many ways in which they find freedom, based on the story of formerly enslaved Maroon communities.
Africans and their descendants. The Louis Literary Prize program collaborates with the St. Louis County Library (SLCL) to organize events around the honoree. Throughout March, SLCL hosted an event “Inspired by Neil Gaiman” where library staff shared their favorite Gaiman books and similar titles by other authors at a virtual event. In addition, book clubs at SLCL branches read Gaiman's works this spring and individual branches also exhibited his works. Both Campus Read and SLCL events are open to the public with prior registration.
The virtual and face-to-face debates of the person awarded the San Luis Literary Prize take place every year in the months leading up to the award ceremony. The St. Louis County Library Foundation also hosts an impressive author event series each month, bringing best-selling and award-winning authors from a variety of genres to libraries across the county. This offers readers unique opportunities to meet and interact with their favorite writers. Some of the most important writers of the 20th and 21st centuries have come to Saint Louis University to receive this honor, such as Margaret Atwood, Salmon Rushdie, Eudora Welty, John Updike, Saul Bellow, August Wilson, Stephen Sondheim, Zadie Smith and Tom Wolfe.