Lewis Center Chair, Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor of the Humanities and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, along with Princeton Visiting Presidential Scholar and acclaimed critic Hilton Als and recent past creative writing faculty members Sigrid Nunez and Kevin Young, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. They are counted among 29 newly elected members in the fields of Architecture, Art, Literature, and Music. The honor of election is considered the highest form of recognition of artistic merit in the United States.
Smith, Als, Nunez, and Young join current Academy members and creative writing faculty Jhumpa Lahiri, Paul Muldoon, and emeritus faculty Joyce Carol Oates and Edmund White.
Other inductees this year include Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Joy Harjo, Walter Hood, Spike Lee, Wynton Marsalis, and Faith Ringgold.
Founded in 1898, the American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society of the country’s leading architects, visual artists, composers, and writers. Through various activities and awards, the Academy works to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 300 members are elected for life and pay no dues. As vacancies occur, new members are elected by vote of the existing membership.
New members will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters during its virtual award ceremony on May 19, 2021, at 7 p.m. (ET).
Read the Academy of Arts and Letters’ official press release to learn more about the new members.
* Banner image: American Academy of Arts and Letters Library, 2016, photo by Ellen Siebers.