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October 23, 2021

Literati Award

Jim Lehrer

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/Colophon 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.

The 2021 Literati Award recipient is photographer Laura Wilson.

Laura Wilson’s photographs have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, London’s Sunday Times Magazine, and The Washington Post Magazine. She has published six books of photographs: Watt Matthews of Lambshead (Texas State Historical Society, 1989), Hutterites of Montana (Yale University Press, 2000), Avedon at Work (University of Texas Press, 2003), Grit and Glory (Bright Sky Press, 2003), That Day: Pictures in the American West, (Yale University Press, 2015), and From Rodin to Plensa: Modern Sculpture at the Meadows Museum (Scala, 2018).


Wilson is currently working on two projects. Writers will become a book and exhibition for the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas documenting 35 writers destined to have a lasting legacy. Making Movies documents directors, cinematographers and actors behind the scenes.


Laura was elected to the Philosophical Society of Texas and is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters where she won the Carr P. Collins award. She was also awarded the Royal Photographic Society of England Book of the Year for Avedon at Work. She currently serves on the board of the Ransom Center and Clements Center for Southwest Studies.


Works in Public Collections:

Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas

Houston Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas

Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana

Ransom Center for Southwest Studies, Austin, Texas


Recent Exhibition History:

Meadows Museum, Dallas, Texas

Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, Switzerland

Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

Phillips, New York, New York

Whitney Western Art Museum, Cody, Wyoming

Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas

Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, GA

Fomento Cultural Banamex, Palacio Iturbide, Mexico City


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)