John M. Barry to Receive 21st Louisiana Writer Award

BATON ROUGE, La (press release) – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is proud to announce John M. Barry has been selected as the recipient of the 21st annual Louisiana Writer Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Louisiana’s history and coastal restoration.

“The contributions of Mr. Barry to literature, history, government, and the education of Louisianans and citizens across the country have been nothing short of remarkable. We are pleased and also fortunate that he chose to make his home in Louisiana,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

Barry is the author of many books, most notably The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History and Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. These particular works led to Barry’s contributions to state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization policy-making related to flood protection and pandemic preparedness.

“The resurgence of interest in The Great Influenza since the start of the coronavirus outbreak proves the timeliness, and timelessness, of John’s work. His expertise and dedication to Louisiana, and in particular, his role in coastal restoration, are worthy of praise and celebration,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “He joins distinguished past recipients such as Ernest Gaines, James Lee Burke, Tim Gautreaux, Johnette Downing, and Sheryl St. Germain, to name only a few. It is an honor to present this award to such a truly outstanding writer.”

Barry is the recipient of several awards, including the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians and the New England Society Book Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek, and he is a frequent guest on numerous broadcasts in the U.S. and overseas. Barry is currently a Distinguished Scholar at Tulane’s Bywater Institute and a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana coordinates the Louisiana Writer Award and other programs and events that support reading, books, and libraries. The Louisiana Writer Award is given annually to recognize the extraordinary contributions to the state’s literary heritage exemplified by the artist’s body of work. An interview with John M. Barry led by Robert Mann, Manship Chair in Journalism at the Manship School of Mass Communication and Louisiana Library and Book Festival Foundation board member, will be available on YouTube and Facebook on November 12 at noon. For more information on Barry and his work, please visit the Louisiana Writer Award webpage.



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