National Book Awards at Concordia

Concordia College is the founding partners with the National Book Foundation of the National Book Awards on Campus Program.  Each spring Concordia hosts two authors, selected from among the finalists/winners of that year’s National Book Awards, for a two-day residency on campus. The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture.

2019 National Book Awards Evening with the Authors

The 14th National Book Awards at Concordia will be held March 14-15, 2019.  The Reading and Conversation with the Authors event, which is open to the public, will take place Thursday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Knutson Campus Center Centrum.  

Information on the visiting authors will be available in December 2018.

The National Book Awards at Concordia is underwritten by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in honor of Earl Lewis '78.


Earl Lewis

Earl Lewis, a 1978 graduate of Concordia College, is director of the new University of Michigan Center for Social Solutions established to address three core areas of social concern: diversity and race, water, and the future of work. He is Professor of History and Afroamerican and African studies. Dr. Lewis served as President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2013-2018), one of the country’s premier philanthropies supporting the humanities, liberal arts and higher education. He continues to work on the book series that he launched during his tenure at the Foundation. Our Compelling Interest investigates how diversity and social connectedness are imperative to our shared success and prosperity. Prior to the Mellon Foundation Dr. Lewis served as Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs and the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies at Emory University. Lewis also held an earlier faculty appointment at the University of California at Berkeley (1984-1989). A native of Tidewater, Virginia, Lewis earned his BA degree in history and psychology from Concordia College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2008. Dr. Lewis currently serves as Chair of the Concordia College Board of Regents.

John Ydstie '74, NPR

John Ydstie is the hosts for the evening Readings and Conversation event. A National Public Radio correspondent and host, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College, summa cum laude, with a major in English literature and a minor in speech communication. He has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the federal budget for NPR for two decades. Ydstie is also a regular guest host on NPR news programs.

Lisa Lucas

Lisa Lucas is the executive director of the National Book Foundation. Before joining the Foundation, Lucas served the publisher of “Guernica,” a non-profit online magazine focusing on writing that explores the intersection of art and politics with an international and diverse focus. Prior to that, she served as director of education at the Tribeca Film Institute, on the development team at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a consultant for the Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and ReelWorks Teen Filmmaking. Lucas also serves on the literary council of the Brooklyn Book Festival.