Penguin Random House authors Ron Chernow, James McBride, Elaine Pagels, Abraham Verghese and Isabel Wilkerson are among the recipients of this year’s National Humanities Medals, and our author Sandra Cisneros is among the recipients of the National Medal of Arts, it was announced this week by President Barack Obama. These prestigious awards will be personally presented by the President in a special White House ceremony on Thursday, September 22. The ceremony will be streamed live.
Our authors were recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities as follows:
- Ron Chernow for bringing our Nation’s story to life. Through his examination of America’s successful giants and titans, he also invites his readers to discover their failures and foibles, uncovering enduring lessons that inform our modern era.
Sandra Cisneros for enriching the American narrative. Through her novels, short stories, and poetry, she explores issues of race, class, and gender through the lives of ordinary people straddling multiple cultures. As an educator, she has deepened our understanding of American identity.
- James McBride for humanizing the complexities of discussing race in America. Through writings about his own uniquely American story, and his works of fiction informed by our shared history, his moving stories of love display the character of the American family.
- Elaine Pagels for her exploration of faith and its traditions. Through her study of ancient manuscripts and other scholarly work, she has generated new interest and dialogue about our contemporary search for knowledge and meaning.
Abraham Verghese for reminding us that the patient is the center of the medical enterprise. His range of proficiency embodies the diversity of the humanities; from his efforts to emphasize empathy in medicine, to his imaginative renderings of the human drama.
- Isabel Wilkerson for championing the stories of an unsung history. Her masterful combination of intimate human narratives with broader societal trends allows us to measure the epic migration of a people by its vast impact on our Nation and on each individual life.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities were established by Congress in 1965 as independent agencies of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.