The Lannan Literary Awards are a series of awards and literary fellowships given out in various fields by the Lannan Foundation. Established in 1989, the awards are meant "to honor both established and emerging writers whose work is of exceptional quality", according to the foundation.[1] The foundation's awards are lucrative relative to most awards in literature: the 2006 awards for poetry, fiction and nonfiction each came with $150,000, making them among the richest literary prizes in the world.

The awards reflect the philosophy governing the Lannan Foundation, a family foundation established by financier and art patron J. Patrick Lannan Sr. in 1960.[2] It describes itself as "dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects which support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities."[3]

Awards have been made to acclaimed and varied literary figures such as David Foster Wallace, William Gaddis, Lydia Davis, William H. Gass, Steve Erickson and W. S. Merwin. The foundation has also recognized people known as much for their public intellectual activities as for their literary talents, such as Barbara Ehrenreich and Edward Said.

The foundation also gives a "Cultural Freedom Prize" for the stated purpose of recognizing "people whose extraordinary and courageous work celebrates the human right to freedom of imagination, inquiry, and expression."[4] Prize winners include Claudia Andujar, Helen Caldicott, Julián Cardona, Elouise P. Cobell, Mahmoud Darwish, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Robert Fisk, Eduardo Galeano, Arundhati Roy, Bryan Stevenson and Cornel West.

The foundation does not accept applications for awards or fellowships. Candidates are suggested anonymously "by a network of writers, literary scholars, publishers, and editors," with the foundation's literary committee making the final determination.[1]

The foundation also "provides financial assistance to tribes and nonprofits that serve Native American communities..."[5] For instance, it gave more than $7 million in grants to the Blackfeet Reservation Development Fund from 1998 to 2009, to support litigation on behalf of Native Americans with interests in trust lands. This nonprofit was created by Elouise P. Cobell and her legal team to bring claims against the United States for mismanaging lands held in trust for Native Americans. The Cobell v. Salazar case was filed in 1996 and settled in 2009.[5]

Lannan Literary Award for Poetry

Lannan Literary Award for Fiction

Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction

Lannan Literary Award for An Especially Notable Book

Lannan Literary Fellowship

Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award

See also


  1. ^ a b "Awards and Fellowships - Lannan Foundation". Lannan Foundation. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "History - Lannan Foundation". Lannan Foundation. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  3. ^ "Welcome - Lannan Foundation". Lannan Foundation. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 2006-08-27 at the Wayback Machine Lannan Foundation website, Web page titled "Cultural Freedom Prize", accessed November 8, 2006
  5. ^ a b Iulia Filip, "Quarrel over Fees in $3 Billion Cobell Case" Archived 2016-10-26 at the Wayback Machine, Courthouse News, 19 July 2013; accessed 26 October 2016
  6. ^ "Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor". Lannan Foundation. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  7. ^ "Mitchell S. Jackson". Lannan Foundation. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  8. ^ Harriet Staff (November 15, 2016). "Lannan Foundation Announces 2016 Literary Awards & Fellows". Poetry Foundation. Archived from the original on December 22, 2023. Retrieved December 22, 2023.