Literati Award

The Literati Award honors individuals who have used the written word to advance the ideals of creativity, conviction, innovation and scholarship and who have had a significant impact on culture and the community through their work. This award was created by the Friends of the SMU Libraries in 2010 and was established in honor of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the organization to celebrate the power of the written word and to recognize significant achievements in creativity.

2022 Literati Award Recipient Adrian Miller

Adrian Miller smiling in front of a plate of food

Adrian Miller, Culinary Historian and Author 

Adrian Miller is a food writer, James Beard Award winner, attorney, and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver, Colorado.

Bio

Adrian received an A.B in International Relations from Stanford University in 1991, and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1995. From 1999 to 2001, Miller served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton with his Initiative for One America – the first free-standing office in the White House to address issues of racial, religious and ethnic reconciliation. Miller went on to serve as a senior policy analyst for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Jr. From 2004 to 2010, he served on the board for the Southern Foodways Alliance. In June 2019, Adrian lectured in the Masters of Gastronomy program at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche (nicknamed the “Slow Food University”) in Pollenzo, Italy. He is currently the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches and, as such, is the first African American, and the first layperson, to hold that position.

Awards

In 2018, Adrian was awarded the Ruth Fertel “Keeper of the Flame Award” by the Southern Foodways Alliance, in recognition of his work on African American foodways. In 2019, Adrian received the Judge Henry N. and Helen T. Graven award from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, for being “an outstanding layperson, whose life is nurtured and guided by a strong sense of Christian calling, and who is making a significant contribution to community, church, and our society.”

Bibliography

Miller’s first book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time won the James Beard Foundation Award for Scholarship and Reference in 2014. His second book, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas was published on President’s Day 2017. It was a finalist for a 2018 NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction,” and the 2018 Colorado Book Award for History. Adrian’s third book, Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue, will be published Spring 2021.

Adrian Miller's website

Past Recipients

  • Jim Hart ’69 (2010)
  • Laura Bush ’68 (2011)
  • Marsh Terry ’53, ’54 (2012)
  • Lee Cullum ’61 (2013)
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (2014)
  • Willard Spiegelman (2015)
  • Darwin Payne ’68 (2016)
  • Rena Pederson (2017)
  • Skip Hollandsworth (2018)
  • Jim Lehrer (2019)
  • Laura Wilson (2021)