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Jamaica Kincaid to Receive the 2024 St. Louis Literary Award

by Maggie Rotermund
Media Inquiries

Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.

ST. LOUIS – Author Jamaica Kincaid will receive the 2024 St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Libraries. Kincaid will come to St. Louis next spring to accept the award.

The award ceremony will be held in April 2024.

Jamaica Kincaid
Jamaica Kincaid. Photo courtesy of Wylie Agency.

“Jamaica Kincaid’s work resonated so profoundly with the selection committee, though for different reasons,” said Edward Ibur, executive director of the St. Louis Literary Award. “For some of us, it’s Kincaid’s fictional works like “Annie John” and “At the Bottom of the River: A Story” that showcase her unique beautiful, spare prose with compelling storylines and engaging characters that really hit home.

“For others on the committee, Kincaid’s long and celebrated history as an essayist in the New Yorker and her nonfiction books like “A Small Place, “My Brother, and my personal favorite, “Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya reveal one of the very best and most consistent nonfiction writers,” Ibur said.

The Antigua-born Kincaid explores themes of colonialism, gender and sexuality, racism, class, and familial relationships in her work. She came to the United States as a teenager and as a young woman began writing columns and stories for Ingénue, The Village Voice and Ms.

Her work has also appeared in The Paris Review and The New Yorker.

Kincaid published her first book in 1983, “At the Bottom of the River,” is a collection of short stories and reflections. She is the author of the novels “Annie John,” “Lucy,” and “See Now Then,” and the more personal books “The Autobiography of My Mother,” “Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya,” and “My Brother,” which explores the death from AIDS of her younger brother. 

She has been nominated for the National Book Award and is a recipient of a Guggenheim grant. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.

Kincaid is a professor in the African and African American Studies department as well as the Department of English at Harvard University.

“We are so honored to celebrate Jamaica Kincaid as the 56th recipient of the St. Louis Literary Award,” Ibur said.

St. Louis Literary Award 

The St. Louis Literary Award is presented annually by the Saint Louis University Libraries and has become one of the top literary prizes in the country. The award honors a writer who deepens our insight into the human condition and expands the scope of our compassion. Some of the most important writers of the 20th and 21st centuries have come to Saint Louis University to accept the honor, including Margaret Atwood, Salmon Rushdie, Eudora Welty, John Updike, Saul Bellow, August Wilson, Stephen Sondheim, Zadie Smith and Tom Wolfe.

Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 15,200 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.