The New York Public Library Honors Edward Albee, Ashley Bryan, Nora Ephron, and Salman Rushdie at Annual Library Lions Benefit, November 3, 2008

Nobel Laureate and Library Trustee Toni Morrison Is Evening's Master of Ceremonies Young Lions Dance Party begins at 9 p.m.

The New York Public Library will honor playwright Edward Albee, children’s author and illustrator Ashley Bryan, screenwriter and essayist Nora Ephron, and novelist Salman Rushdie at its annual Library Lions black-tie benefit on Monday, November 3, 2008, at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Master of Ceremonies for the evening’s program will be Nobel Laureate and Library Trustee Toni Morrison. The evening will also feature a disco dance party hosted by the Young Lions, a membership group of New Yorkers in their 20s and 30s who support the work of the Library. This year’s event is expected to raise more than $2.5 million for the Library’s acquisitions budget.

“The individuals we are honoring this year embody the highest level of accomplishment in their respective fields. Their achievements encompass a variety of rich forms of creative expression that the Library preserves and makes accessible in its collections,” said Library President Paul LeClerc. “We are proud to recognize them as Library Lions for their groundbreaking artistry and for their noble commitment to a life of ideas, inventiveness, exploration, and thought."

The event’s co-chairs are Mr. and Mrs. Oscar de la Renta; H.R.H. Princess Firyal and Mr. Lionel I. Pincus; Mr. and Mrs. Richard S. Fuld, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. John B. Hess; Mr. and Mrs. Felix Rohatyn; Mr. and Mrs. Stephen A. Schwarzman; and The Honorable Merryl H. Tisch and Mr. James S. Tisch. The Young Lions dance co-chairs are Mr. Nicholas T. Brown, Ms. Claire Danes, Ms. Amanda Hearst, Mr. Michael Hess, Mr. Hudson Morgan, and Ms. Andrea L. Olshan.

"The Library Lions benefit is our most important fundraiser of the year," said Catherine C. Marron, Chairman of the Library. “With the help of a group of dedicated co-chairs we are able to highlight the accomplishments of the Library and generate crucial support for our collections and operations.”

Décor for the evening will be designed by David Monn. Catering will be provided by Glorious Food.

Cocktails for Library Lions begin at 7:00 p.m. in Astor Hall, followed by a dinner and program at 8:00 p.m. in the Deborah, Jonathan F.P., Samuel Priest, and Adam Raphael Rose Main Reading Room. The evening continues with the Young Lions annual dance party. Dancing, dessert, and drinks will commence in the Celeste Bartos Forum at 9 p.m.

All event proceeds support the Library’s General Book Fund. For ticket information, please call (212) 930-0671.

About the 2008 Library Lions

Edward Albee was born on March 12, 1928, and began writing plays 30 years later. His plays include The Zoo Story (1958), The Death of Bessie Smith (1959), The Sandbox (1959), The American Dream (1960), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961-62, Tony Award), Tiny Alice (1964), A Delicate Balance (1966, Pulitzer Prize, and Tony Award), All Over (1971), Seascape (1974, Pulitzer Prize), Listening (1975), Counting the Ways (1975), The Lady from Dubuque (1977-78), The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981), Finding the Sun (1982), Marriage Play (1986-87), Three Tall Women (1991, Pulitzer Prize), Fragments (1993), The Play About the Baby (1997), The Goat, or, Who Is Sylvia? (2000, 2002 Tony Award), Occupant (2001), Peter and Jerry: (Act 1, Homelife. Act 2, The Zoo Story.) (2004), and Me, Myself and I (2007). He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and President of The Edward F. Albee Foundation. Mr. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980. In 1996 he received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. In 2005 he was awarded a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Ashley Bryan, one of today’s most beloved children’s book illustrators, grew up in New York City in the 1930s to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and has shared the joy of song with children ever since. He attended free art and music classes sponsored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and later attended the Cooper Union Art School. Recognizing the profound influence of African art on Western art, he undertook a school project illustrating African tales, drawing on the abundance of African art resources in New York City museums and libraries. He began illustrating children’s books in the 1960s, and in the 1970s created books of black American spirituals when he discovered there were no introductory selections of this music for young people. Mr. Bryan has been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, a Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee, a multiple Coretta Scott King Award Winner (most recently in 2008 for Let It Shine), and the recipient of countless other awards and honors. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine, where he can often be found with a cluster of children, all singing.

Nora Ephron is a film director, screenwriter, essayist and journalist. She has been called “a smart, funny lady who makes smart, funny movies.” Named one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in America” by Biography magazine, Ephron began as a reporter and essayist. Her collected essays were published in the bestseller, Crazy Salad. In 1983 Ephron wrote the bestselling novel Heartburn (she also wrote the 1986 movie adaptation.) Ephron’s latest book is the #1 New York Times bestseller, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. In 1983 Ephron earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing Silkwood. In 1989 she received another Oscar nomination for her screenplay, When Harry Met Sally, and made her directorial debut with This Is My Life. She followed that with Sleepless in Seattle, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, which grossed over $200 million worldwide. In 1998 she reunited Ryan and Hanks in the comedy, You’ve Got Mail. In 2007 she joined The New York Times as a guest columnist. Her next project is writing and directing an adaptation of the book, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.

Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay, India. He is the author of ten novels including Midnight’s Children (Booker Prize, 1981; “Best of the Booker” award, 2008, for the best novel to have won the prize in its first 40 years), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Shalimar the Clown, and The Enchantress of Florence; one book of stories, East, West, as well as three works of nonfiction—Imaginary Homelands, The Jaguar Smile, and Step Across This Line. He is a Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and holds the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. From 2004 to 2006 he served as President of PEN American Center, and continues to work as president of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped create. In June 2007 he was knighted for services to literature. His books have been translated into more than 40 languages.


Contact: Jennifer Lam |