Today@Sam Article

National Book Award Winners To Visit SHSU

March 20, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

Rep. John Lewis, writer Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell will discuss their award-winning March: Book Three at SHSU's National Book Awards Festival in April.


The 2016 National Book Award Winners in Young People’s Literature will be featured guests when they visit Sam Houston State University and Huntsville on April 24-25 for the annual National Book Awards Festival. 

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, writer Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell will talk about March: Book Three—the most recent installment in the graphic-novel memoir trilogy, which chronicles Lewis’s involvement in the American Civil Rights Movement. 

The marquee event will take place on Monday, April 24, from 7-8 p.m., in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom. At this event, which is free and open to the public, Lewis and his collaborators will read from and discuss the trilogy and Lewis’s participation in such historical events as Nashville sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, Freedom Summer, and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Each of the three books have won numerous awards. 

After the presentation, the authors will sign copies of the books, which can be purchased on site.

On the following day, Aydin and Powell will meet with 8th grade students at Mance Park Middle School, as well as participate with National Book Foundation Programs Director Ben Samuels, in several university activities where SHSU students can ask questions and learn more about writing and publishing. 

“A program this prestigious and of this magnitude is unprecedented in a community our size,” said Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion, clinical assistant professor of creative writing at SHSU. 

“NBAF at SHSU gives students and the public access to literary superstars. In the simplest terms, a goal of reading and writing, a goal of literature, really, is to help us connect to one another. Great literary programming does just that, but on a large scale,” she said. 

Considered in some scholarly circles as the “Academy Awards of Books,” the National Book Award is one of the highest and most respected honors given to an American writer. In addition to the National Book Award, March: Book Three also is the recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young-adult literature; the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award; the YALSA Award for excellence in young-adult non-fiction; and the Coretta Scott King Book Award, which recognizes an African American author of a book for young people. 

For 67 years, the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards have worked “to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.”  

The National Book Awards on Campus brings award finalists to college campuses for readings in large, public venues and master classes with aspiring student-writers. National Book Award winners are announced at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner in New York City in November.

For more information, contact Nowlin-O’Banion at or 936.294.4109, or Scott Kaukonen, director of the MFA program in creative writing, editing and publishing at or 936.294.1407. To register for free tickets and obtain additional information, visit



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