Literarian Award, 2007

The Literarian Award is presented to an individual for outstanding service to the American literary community, whose life and work exemplify the goals of the National Book Foundation to expand the audience for literature and to enhance the cultural value of literature in America.

Terry Gross

On November 14th, at the 2007 National Book Awards Ceremony, the National Book Foundation will honor Terry Gross, host and executive producer of National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air,” with The Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. This award recognizes the important contribution she has made to the world of books – and to our understanding of literature and the writing process – through her probing and intelligent interviews with authors. Ira Glass, host and producer of public radio’s “This American Life,” will present the Award.

Photo © Will Ryan

Terry Gross is the host and co-executive producer of “Fresh Air,” National Public Radio’s weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues. The program is heard by more than four and a half million people on nearly 500 public radio stations. Over the years her guests have included America’s most interesting and celebrated writers.

Gross began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo, New York. Two years later Terry Gross began hosting and producing “Fresh Air,” when it was a local program broadcast by WHYY in Philadelphia. NPR has distributed the daily program since 1987. In 1994, “Fresh Air” received a Peabody Award, which cited Gross for her “probing questions and unusual insights.” In 1999, America Women in Radio and Television gave Gross a Gracie Award in the category National Network Radio Personality. In 2003, Gross received the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her book, All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists, was published in 2004. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.


Ira Glass

Ira Glass is the host and producer of the public radio program, “This American Life.” The show had its premier on Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ in 1995 and is now heard on more than 500 public radio stations each week. In March 2007, the television adaptation of “This American Life” premiered on Showtime to critical acclaim. Under Glass’s direction, the show has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including the Peabody and DuPont-Columbia awards, as well as the Edward R. Murrow and the Overseas Press Club awards. In 2001, Time magazine named Glass “Best Radio Host in America.”

Glass began his career as an intern at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. and over the years has worked on nearly every NPR network news program and held virtually every production job in NPR’s Washington headquarters.


Photo © Nancy Updike