Author, poet, artist, and singer Patti Smith will receive the 13th Annual Westport Public Library Award at the library’s fundraising event, BOOKED for the evening. The event will take place on Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m. in the library’s Great Hall.
Smith was born in Chicago and grew up in southern New Jersey, where she worked in a factory and escaped an uneventful life via poetry and rock and roll. She fled to New York in 1967, where she worked in bookstores, wrote poetry, and met fellow artists, including photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, playwright Sam Shepard, and musician Lenny Kaye.
She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock, influenced by the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix as well as rockers like Jim Morrison and Lou Reed. Her debut album, Horses, has been hailed as one of the top 100 albums of all time. She has recorded 12 albums and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Her art has been shown at numerous venues, including the Andy Warhol Museum and the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris. In 2005, she was awarded the title of Commandeur des arts et des lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, which is the highest honor awarded to an artist by the French Republic.
She has written several books, including Witt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, Auguries of Innocence, and Just Kids, for which she won the National Book Award in 2010.
The Westport Public Library Award honors those whose work furthers the goals of the library—-to nurture a love of learning and to enhance our understanding of the world. Previous recipients of the award have been Tom Brokaw, E.L.Doctorow, Calvin Trillin, Wendy Wasserstein, Pete Hamill, Martin Scorsese, Arthur Mitchell, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Halberstam, Oscar Hijuelos, Adam Gopnik, and Will Shortz.
Invitations to Booked for the Evening will be sent in mid-April. Find more information and sponsorship opportunities on the Library website www.westportlibrary.org or call Cindy Clark at 203-291-4824.