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Harper Lee to receive National Medal of Arts

March 1, 2011 |  2:11 pm

Harperlee_bening

Harper Lee, the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird," will be among 10 artists and authors to recieve the National Medal of Arts, the White House announced Tuesday. Ten other American icons will recieve the National Humanities Medal.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall will also recieve a National Medal of Arts, along with actress Meryl Streep, musicians Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, James Taylor and Van Cliburn, painter Mark di Suvero, theater champion Robert Brustein and an organization, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.

The National Humanities Medal honors both creativity and scholarship. It will be presented to writers Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth and poet Wendell Berry. Scholars Jacques Barzun, Bernard Bailyn, Roberto González Echevarria, Arnold Rampersad and Gordon Wood will also recieve the Humanities medal, as will Stanley Nider Katz, president of the American Council of Learned Societies, and Daniel Aaron, founding president of the Library of America.

The National Medals of Arts and National Humanities Medals will be awarded together in a White House ceremony Wednesday. Most honorees are expected to attend, but Lee and Streep have said they will not be able to make it.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Harper Lee made a rare public appearance in 2005 to accept the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award, where she was photographed with library supporter Annette Bening. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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