Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste was announced as one of the winners of the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2020 in New York, USA on March 11, 2020.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is a society whose goal is to “foster, assist, and sustain excellence” in American literature, music, and art. One of the organisation’s activities are the literature prizes, totalling $350,000, that honour both established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry.

The organisation announced the nineteen writers who will receive its 2020 awards in literature with a committee of Louise Glück, John Guare, Amy Hempel, Jayne Anne Phillips, Terry Tempest Williams, and Joy Williams making the selections.

Maaza Mengiste, the author of The Shadow King and Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was listed in the Art and Letters Awards in Literature alongside seven other writers each going home with US$10,000. The full list in the category is;

  • Marie Arana
  • Joel Harrington
  • Jeremy O Harris
  • Wayne Koestenbaum
  • Sandra Lim
  • Megan Mcdowell
  • Maaza Mengiste
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen

Mengiste shared on her Twitter, “Holding on to all good news that I can: I’m overjoyed & honored to announce I’ve been awarded a 2020 Literature Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for “exceptional accomplishment in any genre”. A heartfelt congrats to the other writers.”

The awards will be presented in New York, USA in May.