Saturday, May 18, 2024


by BPT Staff
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The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana proudly announces poet and author David Kirby as the recipient of the 25th Louisiana Writer Award. The award is given annually by the Center to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana’s literary and intellectual life exemplified by a contemporary Louisiana writer’s body of work.

Kirby, the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, grew up near Baton Rouge and earned his undergraduate degree from LSU. While he’s been gone from Louisiana for many years, much of his work is rooted in the state.

“Louisiana is right there in my bloodstream with the red and white cells, the platelets and the plasma. I haven’t lived in Baton Rouge for years, but I think of my boyhood there every day – it shapes my writing, my teaching, the conversations I have with old friends and people I’ve just met,” Kirby said upon learning of this recognition. “If you’re around for a while and keep at it, you’ll win a prize or two, and I’ve certainly won my share. But none of them means more to me than this year’s Louisiana Writer Award.”

“David Kirby has never forgotten where he came from, which is obvious in his work, with Louisiana often his inspiration,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “He’s the type of author the Louisiana Writer Award was established to recognize – not only for his poetry, but David also moves effortlessly among genres.”

Kirby has written almost 40 books during his career, including The House on Boulevard St: New and Selected Poems, which was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award. The Winter Dance Party, Poems 1983-2023, a milestone marking 40 years of Kirby’s career, is set for an August release from LSU Press.

In addition to poetry, his nonfiction includes Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll, a biography of the flamboyant musician Kirby remembers listening to on a radio during his days as a boy in south Louisiana. He’s also written about music for the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and New York Times Book Review among others.

“David Kirby is like one of those messenger gods of old. He is everywhere bringing the vital and lifesaving messages in the shape of poems,” 2007-2011 Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque wrote after learning that Kirby would receive the award. “In his nearly a-book-year publications, he limits his coverage to nothing less than to everything he loves, everything he values.”

The Louisiana Writer Award will be presented to Kirby during the annual ceremony at the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, November 2, in Baton Rouge. Visit the Louisiana Writer Award webpage for more information about Kirby and his work.

Learn more about the 20th Louisiana Book Festival at as the year progresses and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter).

The Louisiana Center for the Book was established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 to promote interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries, and to celebrate Louisiana’s rich literary heritage. It is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

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