Today in news that blows my mind: Maya Angelou, one of the most widely read memoirists of our time, has never won a major literary prize. Over the last 50 years, Angelou has published seven autobiographies, five books of essays and a whole heap of poetry, plays, movies and television shows. She has won three Grammys for Best Spoken Word Album. She has been honored with over thirty honorary degrees and served on two presidential committees. She’s earned a National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the country’s highest civilian honor. But the 85-year-old author and poet has never been awarded a major literary prize — until now.
This year, Angelou will take home the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award given for her contributions to the literary community. And it’s about damn time. After being notified of her award, Angelou said that she couldn’t wait to join ”some very big names in the literary world” for the ceremony and that the prize made her feel like she was “picking in high cotton.”
And while the rest of the literary world may be exclaiming a whole-hearted “FINALLY,” Angelou’s never been too concerned with such honors and says that she’s always been legitimately happy for her award-winning peers:
“I know that makes me sound like all goody two-shoes,” she says “But only one name can be chosen for a prize. … And, here now, I’m getting an award from the National Book Foundation for lifetime achievement of service to the community! It’s a blessing. It’s incredible.”
It’s well-deserved and a long-time coming, Dr. Angelou.
Featured image via AP