OXFORD, Mississippi — The Mississippi Library Association has announced the winners of the 2014 Mississippi Author Awards. Robert Khayat, author of The Education of a Lifetime (Nautilus), was named Mississippi Author of the Year in the nonfiction category. Previous winners in nonfiction include Eudora Welty, Willie Morris and Margaret Walker. The winner in the fiction category was Michael Farris Smith for his novel Rivers.
Otha Keys, Mississippi Author Awards committee member and a librarian at South Jones High School, said, “This memoir by Robert Khayat is one I could not put down. He is an excellent storyteller and he definitely has had an ‘education of a lifetime.’”
Robert Khayat, who heard about the award at his home in Oxford, said, “My family and I are profoundly grateful to the Mississippi Library Association for the Non-Fiction Award—a complete and pleasant surprise to us.”
“The overarching goal of the book was to move the perception of Ole Miss and Mississippi from 1962 to the present. I felt it was my responsibility to help others understand us . . . and for us to acknowledge our challenges,” Khayat added.
“Finally, I believe all of us are indebted to our local libraries for their service. When reading becomes a part of our lives as children and we continue to we read as we age, our lives are enriched and we become more sensitive, thoughtful and productive.”
Khayat and Smith will be honored at a banquet in Vicksburg on October 16, 2014, as a part of the Mississippi Library Association annual conference.
The Mississippi Author Award has been bestowed by the Mississippi Library Association since 1987.