Marilyn Nelson, professor emerita at the University of Connecticut, has been selected to receive the 2017 Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature from World Literature Today, the magazine of international literature and culture. The prize comes with a silver medallion and a $25,000 cash award.
Professor Nelson has written or translated more than a dozen books, including Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World (Dial Books, 2009). She has also published several poetry collections. Professor Nelson is a winner of the Pushcart Prize and has been a finalist for the National Book Award three times. From 2001 to 2006, Dr. Nelson was the poet laureate of the state of Connecticut.
Robert Con Davis-Undiano, World Literature Today’s executive director who oversees the prize, stated that “Marilyn Nelson is an important author who has used her works to advocate for race relations and women’s empowerment. Her engaging, lyrical style builds awareness around sensitive issues through human, and even humorous, storytelling that both children and adults can relate to.”
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Nelson is a graduate of the University of California-Davis. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.