Junot Díaz and Zadie Smith named to the American Academy of Arts and Letters

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When the American Academy of Arts and Letters holds its annual induction and award ceremony in mid-May, Calvin Trillin, secretary, will induct fourteen members into the 250-person organization and President Yehudi Wyner will induct three foreign honorary members. Joyce Carol Oates will deliver the centennial Blashfield Foundation Address. An exhibition of art, architecture, books, and manuscripts by new members and recipients of awards will be on view in the galleries from May 18 to June 11.

Newly Elected Members of the Academy

Art

MARY HEILMANN, artist
JULIE MEHRETU, artist
ANNABELLE SELLDORF, architect
STANLEY WHITNEY, artist

Literature

HENRI COLE, poet
JUNOT DÍAZ, writer
AMY HEMPEL, writer
EDWARD HIRSCH, poet
URSULA K. LE GUIN, writer
COLUM McCANN, writer
ANN PATCHETT, writer
KAY RYAN, poet

Music

MELINDA WAGNER, composer
JULIA WOLFE, composer

Foreign Honorary Members

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE, writer of Nigeria
KAIJA SAARIAHO, composer of Finland
ZADIE SMITH, writer of England

 

THE ACADEMY

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Founding members include William Merritt Chase, Kenyon Cox, Daniel Chester French, Childe Hassam, Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Vedder, and Woodrow Wilson. In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to “foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts” by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country. The organization is located in three landmark buildings, designed by McKim, Mead & White, Cass Gilbert, and Charles Pratt Huntington, on Audubon Terrace at 155 Street and Broadway.

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