Pulitzer Prize-winning Maine author Elizabeth Strout is among this year’s five New York Public Library Lions, the institution’s highest honor given to cultural icons.

The other recipients are Oscar-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, Grammy-winning opera singer Jessye Norman, poet Claudia Rankine and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Ron Chernow.

“These five icons have shaped our culture in immeasurable ways,” New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx said in a press release. “We live in a world in which freedom of expression, creativity, independent thinking, and scholarship are not only important, but critical. Whether through song, prose, poetry, or film, this year’s class of honorees has embodied the spirit of Library Lions by inspiring others to learn, grow, and explore.”

Strout, who won a Pulitzer for her 2008 novel “Olive Kitteridge,” splits her time between New York City and Brunswick. She recently had another bestselling book, “My Name is Lucy Barton,” adapted for the stage in a London production starring Laura Linney, and former President Barack Obama named her latest book, “Anything is Possible,” among his favorite books of 2017.

“In these times it is wise for us to recall that from the first days of the (New York Public Library), it was a haven for recently arrived immigrants who found a safe place there to read about the culture of a world they had left, and of the world they were now in,” Strout said in the press release. “It is essential to the fabric of a community to have a library that reflects the needs of their people, and who opens the door to a broadening of their lives; (the New York Public Library) does all this splendidly. I am really so deeply honored to be a Library Lion from this library who reaches out to everyone, no matter who they are or where they came from.”

This year’s recipients will be celebrated in an event Nov. 5 in the historic Rose Main Reading Room of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in New York City. Previous honorees include Nelson Mandela, Martin Scorsese, Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: lesliebridgers

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