Aspen Words Literary Prize Virtual Awards Ceremony

April 21, 2021  • Aspen Words

Co-presented by the Aspen Institute and NPR Books, the Aspen Words Literary Prize Ceremony will take place virtually in 2021 on April 21.

The program will include a conversation with Susan Abulhawa (“Against the Loveless World”), Rumaan Alam (“Leave the World Behind”), Louise Erdrich (“The Night Watchman”), and Danielle Evans (“The Office of Historical Corrections” Stories) moderated by NPR co-host of “All Things Considered,” Mary Louise Kelly .

Finalist Randall Kenan (“If I Had Two Wings” Stories) passed away in 2020, his memory and his wonderful work of fiction will be celebrated during the event.

The evening will conclude with the announcement of the $35,000 prize winner.

While this event is free and open to all, if you make a donation of any amount, you will receive a promotional code for a complimentary audiobook from Audible. Available to the first 1,000 registrants.

Following the ceremony, we’ll host an interactive celebratory toast and live Q&A with the prize winner. Tickets to join are $200 and will grant you special access via a Zoom meeting link.

Learn more about the finalists here.

Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR’s award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.

Previously, she spent a decade as national security correspondent for NPR News, and she’s kept that focus in her role as anchor. That’s meant taking All Things Considered to Russia, North Korea, and beyond (including live coverage from Helsinki, for the infamous Trump-Putin summit). Her past reporting has tracked the CIA and other spy agencies, terrorism, wars and rising nuclear powers. Kelly’s assignments have found her deep in interviews at the Khyber Pass, at mosques in Hamburg and in grimy Belfast bars.

Kelly first launched NPR’s intelligence beat in 2004. After one particularly tough trip to Baghdad — so tough she wrote an essay about it for Newsweek — she decided to try trading the spy beat for spy fiction. Her debut espionage novel, “Anonymous Sources,” was published by Simon and Schuster in 2013. It’s a tale of journalists, spies and Pakistan’s nuclear security. Her second novel, “The Bullet,” followed in 2015.

Kelly’s writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Washingtonian, The Atlantic and other publications. She has lectured at Harvard and Stanford, and taught a course on national security and journalism at Georgetown University. In addition to her NPR work, Kelly serves as a contributing editor at The Atlantic, moderating newsmaker interviews at forums from Aspen to Abu Dhabi.

A Georgia native, Kelly’s first job was pounding the streets as a political reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 1996, she made the leap to broadcasting, joining the team that launched BBC/Public Radio International’s The World. The following year, Kelly moved to London to work as a producer for CNN and as a senior producer, host, and reporter for the BBC World Service.

Kelly graduated from Harvard University in 1993 with degrees in government, French language, and literature. Two years later, she completed a master’s degree in European studies at Cambridge University in England.