NEW YORK – Poet, activist and educator Sonia Sanchez is this year’s winner of the Edward McDowell Medal, a lifetime achievement award that was presented in 1960 and previously presented to Robert Frost, Tony Morrison and Stephen Sondheim.

“I had tears in my eyes when I learned about the award,” 87-year-old Sanchez said in a statement issued Sunday by McDowell. “When I consider my dear friend, sister Tony (Morrison) and many others who have received this award, I feel very happy to be part of this group. It is a great honor to be this year’s winner. McDowell has such a great story and a story of caring and caring for artists; it is a joy that this place exists to keep the world on the path to civilization, peace and humanity. ”

McDowell is a residence of artists, founded in 1907, in which scholarship holders of the last century, including James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Louise Erdrich and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Sanchez was an outstanding figure in the black art movement of the 1960s and 1970s and is known for such poetry collections as Homegirls and Handgrenades and Shake Loose My Skin.

Writer Walter Mosley will present Sanchez with her medal on July 10 at McDowell in Peterborough, New Hampshire, the first personal ceremony since 2019, a year before the pandemic.

“Sony Sanchez’s famous career spans seven decades. Her leadership continues to enhance the language’s ability to give voice to entire communities (their daily pleasures and sufferings) in our shared and troubled history, ”said poet and playwright Claudia Rankin, chair of this year’s McDowell Medal Selection Committee.

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