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Library Lions 2012 Honorees
Martin Amis was born in Oxford in 1949, the son of the writer Sir Kingsley Amis. His First novel The Rachel Papers won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1974. A prolific writer, Amis is best known for his novels Money and London Fields, his striking memoir, Experiences, and most recently Lionel Asbo: A State of England. He is a regular contributor to numerous newspapers, magazines and journals, including the Sunday Times, The Observer, the Times Literary Supplement, and The New York Times. In 2008 The Times named him as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Amis has recently relocated to Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
For over 60 years, Mikhail Baryshnikov has been delighting audiences around the world, not only with his own performances, but also with his investment in emerging talent to develop and present their own work. Baryshnikov began studying ballet at the age of nine, and became a principal dancer of the Kirov Ballet in 1969. In 1974, he left the Soviet Union to dance with major ballet companies around the world including the New York City Ballet and ultimately joining the American Ballet Theatre as Artistic Director. Baryshnikov went on to co-found the White Oak Dance Project, where his principal focus was “to be a driving force in the production of art.” In 2005, he opened the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC), a creative home for local young and established artists to dream and create in the Center’s studios without any commercial pressure. BAC programs serve approximately 500 artists and more than 20,000 audience members each year.
Jennifer Egan is the author of The Invisible Circus, which was released as a feature film by Fine Line in 2001, Emerald City and Other Stories, Look at Me, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 2001, and the bestselling The Keep. Her new book, A Visit From the Goon Squad, a national bestseller, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize. Also a journalist, she writes frequently in The New York Times Magazine.
Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. For her epic work, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, Gordon-Reed won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in History and the 2008 National Book Award for Non-Fiction, along with 12 other awards. She was the first black person to win the Pulitzer Prize in History and the first black female to win the National Book Award in the Non-Fiction category. Gordon-Reed was awarded a 2009 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama, and was named a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow in 2010. Among her other honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Humanities (2009), a Fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library (2010–2011), and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Throughout his extraordinary life, Nelson Mandela has fought against discrimination and oppression, making his name synonymous with the promotion of democracy and equality for all people. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and as the party’s leader, he advocated civil-disobedience and fighting their oppressors with words, rather than with violence and weapons. During his 27 years of incarceration on Robben Island, Mandela’s reputation as a potent symbol of resistance to the anti-apartheid movement grew steadily. Released from prison in 1990, Mandela plunged wholeheartedly into his life’s work, striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. As a man who symbolizes the triumph of the human spirit, Mandela accepted the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and as the era of apartheid came to an end in 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Nelson Mandela has never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality, and learning. He shared his remarkable life experiences in the international bestseller Long Walk to Freedom, co-authored with Rick Stengel.
Richard Stengel will accept the award on behalf of President Mandela. Richard Stengel is the managing editor of TIME, having previously served as the magazine’s national and culture editor as well as the editor of TIME.com. Stengel has also written for The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Times. In 1993, Stengel collaborated with Nelson Mandela on Mandela’s best-selling autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and later served as co-producer of the 1996 Oscar-nominated documentary Mandela. In addition to his work on Long Walk to Freedom, Stengel has written several books including Mandela’s Way, January Sun: One Day, Three Lives, A South African Town and You’re Too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery.