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Watch: The NYS Writers Hall of Fame Ceremony

The Empire State Center for the Book and the New York Library Association held its NYS Writers Hall of Fame Virtual Ceremony yesterday, honoring Edwidge Danticat, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Lore Segal, and Garry Trudeau among the seven members of the 2020-21 class of inductees.


In normal times, the hall of fame induction is a big-ticket event held at The Princeton Club in Manhattan. During pandemic times, last year's in-person event was postponed until this year, when the event was premiered on YouTube.


In addition to Danticat, Pinkney, Segal, and Trudeau, three deceased honorees were inducted: Bill Finger, Bronx-raised co-creator of Batman; Anna Katherine Green, Buffalo resident known as the mother of the detective novel, and Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist and librettist of the American theatre.

Kudos to television journalist Roma Torre, who did a fantastic job hosting the event.


2021 Writers Hall of Fame Inductees:


Edwidge Danticat

National Book Award finalist Edwidge Danticat is the author of several award-winning books, including Claire of the Sea Light; Brother, I'm Dying;'and most recently her story collection Everything Inside. She is also the editor of The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, and has written several books for children and young adults, including Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance.

Her memoir, Brother, I'm Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.

She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow, a 2018 Ford Foundation “The Art of Change” fellow, and the winner of the 2018 Neustadt International Prize and the 2019 St. Louis Literary Award.

Photo credit: Shevaun Williams


Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and nonfiction. Her books have been awarded multiple Coretta Scott King Book Awards, Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honor citations, four NAACP Image Award nominations, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor medal, as well as several Parenting Publication Gold Medals, and American Library Association Notable Book citations. Andrea was named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and is among “The 25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives” cited by Children’s Health Magazine. She is also a recipient of the Medgar Evers College Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo credit: Christine Simmons


Lore Segal

Lore Segal is a novelist, essayist, translator, and writer of children’s books. Her book Shakespeare's Kitchen was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2008.

Born in Vienna in 1928, Segal was one of 500 Jewish children who escaped to England after Hitler annexed Austria in 1938. Her writings include the novelistic autobiography Other People’s Houses, and Lucinella, a fantasy/satire set at a writers’ retreat similar to Yaddo.

Segal's short story “The Reverse Bug” was included in Best American Short Stories, 1989 and was a 1990 O. Henry Prize-winner. Her stories “Other People’s Deaths” and “Making Good” were included in the O. Henry Prize Stories in 2008 and 2010.

Photo credit: Alisa Douer


Garry Trudeau

Garretson Beekman "Garry" Trudeau is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and illustrator, best known for creating the Doonesbury comic strip. Trudeau is also the creator and executive producer of the Amazon Studios political comedy series "Alpha House." Trudeau's essays have been published in Harper's, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, The New Yorker, New York, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time magazine. He has produced several compilations of his work, most recently #SAD!: Doonesbury in the Time of Trump in 2018, and Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump, published in 2016. President Trump has called Trudeau a “third-rate talent.” Photo credit: Maarten de Boer/Getty Images


Bill Finger (1914-1974)

Milton Finger, known professionally as Bill Finger, was a comic book writer who helped create some of the most beloved comic book characters of our time. Born in Denver and raised in the Bronx, Finger started his comic writing career as a ghostwriter for colleague Bob Kane. Over a decades-long career writing both for comics and the screen, Finger created and co-created a number of well-known characters, chief among them the iconic “Batman.” His countless contributions to the genre -- his many heroes, villains, and even the name “Gotham City” -- live on in the comics, television, and movies of today. Photo credit: ABC Photo Archives


Anna Katharine Green (1846–1935)

Anna Katharine Green was a poet and a bestselling writer widely regarded as "the mother of the detective novel." She wrote 40 books and her 1878 book The Leavenworth Case is widely regarded as the first American detective novel. Her fictional detective Ebenezer Gryce predates Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes by a decade. In her autobiography, Agatha Christie cited Green as an influence on her own fiction

Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960)

Oscar Clendenning Hammerstein II was perhaps the most influential lyricist and librettist of the American theater, winning eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Many of his 850 songs are standard repertoire for vocalists and jazz musicians. Best known for his collaborations with composer Richard Rodgers, their musicals include "Oklahoma!," "Carousel," "South Pacific," "The King and I," and "The Sound of Music." He also collaborated with Jerome Kern (with whom he wrote "Show Boat." He died August 23, 1960, and on September 1, 1960, at 9 p.m., the lights were dimmed on Broadway in memory of “the man who owned Broadway.”

The NYS Writers Hall of Fame 2020 Selection Committee:

  • Barbara Genco, retired librarian from Brooklyn Public Library and Editor of Collection Management at Media Source;

  • Paul Grondahl, Director of the New York State Writers Institute;

  • Brian Kenney, Director of the White Plains Public Library;

  • Stefanie Peters, Editor, Library of America;

  • Lisa Lucas, Executive Director, National Book Foundation;

  • Kathleen Masterson, Director of the Literature and Theatre Programs, New York State Council on the Arts;

  • Ira B. Matetsky Esq., Partner, Ganfer, Shore, Leeds & Zauderer;

  • Christine McDonald, retired director, Crandall Library in Glens Falls;

  • Andrew Medlar, Director, Brooklyn & New York Public Libraries BookOps;

  • Bertha Rogers, Creator, New York State Literary website and map;

  • Will Schwalbe, Author and journalist;

  • Cynthia Shor, Executive Director of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association;

  • Rocco Staino, Director of the Empire State Center for the Book.

The NYS Writers Hall of Fame induction and ceremony is presented in conjunction with the NYS Writers Institute. For additional information on the Empire State Center for the Book and the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, please contact Rocco Staino at rocco.staino@gmail.com or 914-475-3857.


If you would like to make a donation to support the projects and activities of the Empire State Center for the Book, please visit https://www.nyla.org/4DCGI/donate/formCFTB.html?menukey=CFTB