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Trini honoured by Obama

Saturday, March 5, 2011
Professor Arnold Rampersad, left, shakes hands with US President Barack Obama.

Arnold Rampersad, chairman of the judges of the new OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, has been awarded one of the highest national awards in the United States, the National Humanities Medal, by President Barack Obama. In a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday, Trinidad-born and educated Professor Rampersad shook hands with President Obama and received his medal, which “honours individuals whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and the human condition”. He was one of 11 distinguished awardees in the humanities. 

Rampersad said: “It’s always special to receive a national honour, and it’s especially gratifying to receive an honour involving the humanities from someone as well read, as devoted to books, both as a reader and a writer, as is President Obama.” Arnold Rampersad is Sara Hart Kimball Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Stanford University. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including the two-volume definitive Life of Langston Hughes; Days of Grace: A Memoir (co-authored with Arthur Ashe), and the masterful Ralph Ellison: A Biography, which was a finalist for the coveted National Book Award.


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