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The Neustadt Lit Fest

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About the Neustadt Lit Fest

The Neustadt Festival


The Neustadt Festival is a literary and cultural festival that occurs annually during the fall semester on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus.

The 2020 Neustadt Lit Fest, sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s internationally renowned magazine, World Literature Today, will take place as a Zoom-based virtual event this fall, October 19-21. The festival, which is free and open to the public, features award-winning writer Ismail Kadare, who will receive the 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature that week, plus nine other writers who will convene to choose the winner of the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature. 

For questions about any of the events, email Terri Stubblefield at

Students can also take the Neustadt course in conjunction with the festival each fall.

Rohinton Mistry Book Signing, WLT
2012 Neustadt Prize Laureate Rohinton Mistry signing a student's book. Photo by Megan E. Guderian

About the Neustadt International Prize for Literature

The Neustadt Prize Feather

The Neustadt International Prize for Literature is a biennial award sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and World Literature Today.

The Prize consists of $50,000, a replica of an eagle feather cast in silver, and a certificate. A generous endowment from the Neustadt family of Ardmore, Oklahoma, and Dallas, Texas, ensures the award in perpetuity.

The prize was established in 1969 as the Books Abroad International Prize for Literature, then renamed the Books Abroad / Neustadt Prize before assuming its present name in 1976, The Neustadt International Prize for Literature. It is the first international literary award of this scope to originate in the United States and is one of the very few international prizes for which poets, novelists, and playwrights are equally eligible.

Visit our Past Laureates page to see all previous winners, candidates, and jurors for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.



Neustadt Jurors and Candidates


A new international jury of outstanding writers is selected to decide the winner of each Neustadt Prize in odd-numbered years. The members of the jury are determined by the executive director of World Literature Today (who is the only permanent member) in consultation with the journal’s editors and the president of the University of Oklahoma. Each juror nominates one author for the prize. The jurors convene for two to three days at the University of Oklahoma for their deliberations, and the winner is announced at the banquet honoring the laureate of the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. A special ceremony in the laureate’s honor is then held the following year, and the writer’s life and work are subsequently profiled in a special issue of WLT.



The Neustadt Prize Charter


The charter of the Neustadt Prize stipulates that the award be given in recognition of outstanding achievement in poetry, fiction, or drama and that it be conferred solely on the basis of literary merit. Any living author writing in any language is eligible, provided only that at least a representative portion of his or her work is available in English, the language used during the jury deliberations. The prize may serve to crown a lifetime’s achievement or to direct attention to an important body of work that is still developing. (The prize is not open to application.)



Neustadt–Nobel Prize Convergences


One indication of the prestige of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature is its record of 32 laureates, candidates, or jurors who in the past 50 years have been awarded Nobel Prizes following their involvement with the Neustadt Prize, with only one exception: José Saramago (Portugal), who was a Nobel Prize recipient before being considered for the Neustadt. The prize, which carries a $50,000 award, is administered by the University of Oklahoma and its international magazine, World Literature Today. The Neustadt Prize is the only international literary award emanating from the United States for which poets, playwrights and novelists are given equal consideration.

NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature

Nancy Barcelo, Susan Neustadt Schwartz, and Kathy Neustadt Photo: Shevaun Williams and Associates/Simon Hurst
Nancy Barcelo, Susan Neustadt Schwartz, and Kathy Neustadt Photo: Simon Hurst

The NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature is awarded every other year to a living writer or author-illustrator with significant achievement in children’s or young-adult literature. Made possible through the generosity of Nancy Barcelo, Susan Neustadt Schwartz, and Kathy Neustadt and sponsored by WLT, the NSK Prize celebrates literature that contributes to the quality of children’s lives.

Candidates for the award are nominated by a jury of children’s and YA writers, and the jury also selects the winner of each biennial prize.

Laureates receive a check for $35,000, a silver medallion, and a certificate at a public ceremony at the University of Oklahoma and are featured in a subsequent issue of WLT. To date, the winners have included Mildred D. Taylor (2003), Brian Doyle (2005), Katherine Paterson (2007), Vera B. Williams (2009), Virginia Euwer Wolff (2011), Naomi Shihab Nye (2013), Meshack Asare (2015), Marilyn Nelson (2017), and Margarita Engle (2019).

The Neustadt Family

Walter and Dolores Neustadt
Walter and Dolores Neustadt. Photo: Shevaun Williams and Associates/Simon Hurst

The Neustadt family's major support of The University of Oklahoma has been crucial to the institution's development. From the gift to the University of land for Max Westheimer Airpark to the addition of the Neustadt Wing of the Bizzell Memorial Library, sponsorship of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and founding of the Neustadt Professorship in Comparative Literature, through three generations of active, visionary leadership, the Neustadt family has promoted excellence in higher education.

With the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature, a new generation of the Neustadt family has dedicated itself to advancing the cause of The University of Oklahoma. The letters "NSK" stand for Nancy, Susan, and Kathy, the children of Walter and Dolores Neustadt and the benefactors of the prize. The three have decided to encourage the improvement of writing for children by honoring an accomplished contemporary writer of children's literature every other year.