Library Lions 2016 Honorees
This year, The New York Public Library is thrilled to recognize Harry Belafonte, Hilary Mantel, Javier Marías, Peggy Noonan, and Colm Tóibín, and our Library Lions class of 2016.
Harry Belafonte exposed America to world music and spent his life challenging and overturning racial barriers across the globe. Recently, Harry founded the Sankofa Justice & Equity Fund, a non-profit social justice organization that utilizes the power of culture and celebrity in partnership with activism. It is a space for artists to contribute their talents to build awareness and confront the issues that negatively impact marginalized communities. In November 2014 Harry Belafonte received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Mr. Belafonte has 4 children, 8 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. He lives in New York with his wife, Pamela.
In 2017, The New York Public Library renamed the 115th Street Library the Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library in honor of Harry Belafonte, whose incredible career illustrates his value for open, free, and equal access to education and opportunity.
Hilary Mantel was born in the north of England, studied law, and spent 9 years living and working in Africa and the Middle East. Deeply interested in history and in the theatre, she began writing fiction in her early twenties but was not published for more than a decade. She has published two short story collections, a memoir called Giving Up The Ghost, and 11 novels, some historical and some contemporary. Her novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, about the Tudor politician Thomas Cromwell, both won the Man Booker prize. She is now working to complete a Tudor trilogy. She lives with her husband in a small seaside town in England’s south-west.
Javier Marías was born in Madrid in 1951. He is the author of fourteen novels, three short story books, and twenty-one collections of articles and essays. He is also one of Spain’s leading translators from English, and a renowned columnist. His translations have included works by Joseph Conrad and Sir Thomas Brown, and he was awarded the Premio Nacional de Traducción in 1979 for his translation of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. His own books have been published in forty-three languages and have sold over eight million copies worldwide. Marías has held academic posts in Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as a lecturer at Oxford University. He has received numerous awards and accolades including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Prix Formentor. He is also the current King of Redonda. Marías lives in Madrid and is a member of the Real Academia Española. His most recent novel is Thus Bad Begins.
Peggy Noonan is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal and the author of nine books on American politics, history and culture. Her first, 1990's What I Saw at the Revolution, has been hailed as a classic of American political literature; her most recent, The Time of Our Lives, a collection of essays, was published in 2015. She was a special assistant and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan. She has been a teaching fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, and a professor in the Yale University history department. In recent years, Noonan has received the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award and the journalism medal bestowed each year by the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Colm Tóibín is the author of eight novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; Nora Webster, The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; as well as two story collections. His work has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize. Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.