Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Winner of 2007 Stanley W. Lindberg Award Announced

One of the most important events in the Georgia literary calendar takes place December 1 in Athens.

The Stanley W. Lindberg Award is presented every two years “in acknowledgment and celebration of an individual’s contribution to the rich literary arts in Georgia.” As such it is a “lifetime achievement” award given to someone judged to have made a significant contribution to Georgia letters. That person may be an author, but may also be a teacher, an editor, a publisher, or even a public radio host ;-).

Stanley Lindberg was, from 1977 until his premature death in 2000, the editor of The Georgia Review, and a UGA professor of English. Under his guidance, the Review became one of the nation's most respected literary magazines; its circulation jumped 250 percent during his first 10 years as editor, and today stands at nearly 6,000 worldwide.

In the 23 years of his editorship, the journal received numerous awards, including a prestigious National Magazine Award for Fiction in 1986. It has won widespread praise for publishing fine writing by famous authors and promising newcomers.

The Lindberg Award was established in the late 1990s by a group of noted writers and members of the Athens literary community who wanted to honor Lindberg's superb editing skills and keen eye for literary talent. The first award was presented in 1999 to author Pat Conroy.

Other recipients of the award include longtime UGA English professor and writer Marion Montgomery (2001), former Georgia Poet Laureate Bettie Sellers (2003), and acclaimed novelist and Macon native Tina McElroy Ansa (2005).

Now, I know you’re all waiting for this year’s recipient to be revealed, so in order to tease you, here are a few clues:

1. Georgia novelist
2. Former newspaper theater critic
3. Several of his books have been turned into TV movies
4. He has been my guest on Cover to Cover on four different occasions
5. In an earlier posting to this blog, I described him as “arguablyGeorgia’s greatest living writer”

The 2007 winner of the Stanley W. Lindberg Award is Terry Kay (pictured above with myself in the Cover to Cover studio).

Kay has published ten novels, a book of essays, and a children’s book; he was a 2006 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame; he won the 2004 Townsend Prize, Georgia’s highest fiction award, for The Valley of Light; and he is a readers’ favorite all across this state and beyond.

One thing about Terry Kay that the average reader doesn’t know is that he is a firm believer in the community of writers and will go to great lengths to encourage emerging writers and support others in their craft.

Kay was one of the Lindberg Award directors when I joined the board back in 2000. Besides him, the other directors included such literary luminaries as James Kilgo, Philip Lee Williams, Judy Long, editor-in-chief at Hill Street Press in Athens, and Charlotte Mealor who was for many years the business manager of The Georgia Review.

The discussions we would have about potential nominees were fascinating, and the communal knowledge of Georgia letters collected in whatever room we met in was incredible.

Terry Kay is no longer a Lindberg Award director. One of our stipulations has always been that no director can be nominated; that would (rightly) seem incestuous.

I can think of no other person in this state who deserves this award than Terry Kay. His contribution to the literature and literary life of this state is almost immeasurable, and I stand by my earlier statement that he is as “arguably Georgia’s greatest living writer.”

The 2007 Stanley W. Lindberg Award will be presented to Terry Kay at a celebration at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens on Saturday, December 1 at 8PM. I will be hosting the event, and Terry Kay will be introduced by his old friend Anne Rivers Siddons.

The event is open to the public, and tickets may be purchased through the Georgia Center for the Book, co-sponsor of the Award. Click here for details.

This is sure to be a great occasion and I hope you’ll be able to join us for a very special evening.

And finally, congratulations to Terry Kay!