Join us for the 2023 Lillian Smith Book Awards Ceremony, which will be held in-person on September 21, 2023, at 7 p.m. ET on the Fourth Floor of Decatur Library.
The Lillian Smith Book Awards are sponsored by the Southern Regional Council, University of Georgia Libraries, DeKalb County Public Library/The Georgia Center for the Book, and Piedmont College. This event is free and open to the public, but you must register on Eventbrite.
The LSBA committee is proud to award the 2023 Lillian Smith Book Award to:
TOMIKO BROWN-NAGIN for Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality
LINDA VILLAROSA for Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on Health in America
The Southern Regional Council established the Lillian Smith Award shortly after Smith's death in 1966. Internationally acclaimed author of the controversial novel, Strange Fruit (1944), Lillian Smith was the most liberal and outspoken of white, mid-twentieth century Southern writers on issues of social and racial injustice. When other Southern liberals were charting a cautious course on racial change, Smith boldly and persistently called for an end to segregation. For such boldness, she was often scorned by more moderate southerners, threatened by arsonists, and denied the critical attention she deserved as a writer. Yet she continued to write and speak for improved human relations and social justice throughout her life.
Selected by a panel of judges, nominated books represent outstanding creative achievements worthy of recognition because of their literary merit, moral vision, and honest representation of the South, its people, problems, and promises. The Lillian Smith Book Awards honors those authors who, through their writing, carry on Smith's legacy of elucidating the condition of racial and social inequity and proposing a vision of justice and human understanding that represents the ideals of a racially just society.
The 2023 winners will receive a specially-designed, glass trophy bearing the embossed Lillian Smith Book Award logo. The award was designed by Nate Nardi of Decatur Glassblowing, and the logo was designed by Jerri Wilson of the DeKalb County Public Library.
TOMIKO BROWN-NAGIN is Dean of Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and Professor of History at Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In 2019, she was appointed chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the American Philosophical Society, and of the American Law Institute, and a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Her previous book, Courage to Dissent won the Bancroft Prize in 2011. She frequently appears as a commentator in media.
Photo:Rose Lincoln Photography 2021
LINDA VILLAROSA is a journalism professor at the City University of New York and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, where she covers the intersection of race and health. She has also served as executive editor at Essence and as a science editor at The New York Times. Her article on maternal and infant mortality was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She is a contributor to The 1619 Project.
Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with what's new at Georgia Center for the Book