FILE – In this file photo dated Nov. 15, 2017, writer Jesmyn Ward attends the 68th National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner in New York. An acclaimed writer, prolific songwriter, and group of small town quilters are among this year’s recipients of the Mississippi Governor’s Arts Awards. The Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement goes to Ward, who received the National Book Award for her novels “Salvage the Bones” and “Sing, Unburied, Sing”. The prizes will be televised on Friday February 19, 2021.
JACKSON, miss. (AP) – An acclaimed writer, prolific songwriter, and group of small-town quilters are among this year’s recipients of the Mississippi Governor’s Arts Awards.
This is the 33rd year for the awards, and a ceremony usually takes place in Jackson. Governor Tate Reeves has limited the size of the gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the ceremony was recorded. It is scheduled to air on Friday at 8 p.m. on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
The Mississippi Arts Commission said in a press release that the awards are:
Excellence in Literature: Jesmyn Ward is a writer and professor of creative writing at Tulane University. Ward, who grew up in DeLisle, received the National Book Award for her novels “Salvage the Bones” and “Sing, Unburied, Sing”.
Lifetime Achievement: Benjamin Wright is a songwriter, arranger, composer, music director and performer from Greenville. Wright has worked with artists such as Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Outkast, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Mary J. Blige and Janet Jackson.
Art in the Community: Tutwiler Quilters is a group that helps black women in the Delta use their quilting skills to support themselves and their families by making money from their work.
Excellence in Media Arts: Arthur Jafa is a filmmaker and cameraman who grew up in Tupelo and Clarksdale. His work focuses on black identity. His short film “The White Album”, which was about the supremacy of whites, was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale 2019.