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Texas writer Larry McMurtry to receive National Humanities Medal

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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will present the 2014 National Medals of Arts and Humanities to Texas writer Larry McMurtry, visual artist John Baldessari, actress Sally Field, novelist Jhumpa Lahiri, food activist and writer Alice Waters and 16 others at a White House ceremony on Sept. 10.

In addition to Field and Baldessari, the Medal of Arts will be given to director-choreographer Ping Chong, actress Miriam Colon, artist Ann Hamilton, composer Meredith Monk, singer George Shirley, and writers Stephen King and Tobias Wolff. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the University Musical Society in Michigan will also be recognized.

The recipients “have broadened our horizons and enriched our lives,” said National Endowment for the Arts chairwoman Jane Chu. The NEA manages the nomination process for the medal, the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government.

In addition to McMurtry, Lahiri and Waters, the 2014 National Humanities Medal will be presented to writer Anne Dillard, architect and preservationist Everett L. Fly, philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, scholar Fedwa Malti-Douglas and historians Vicki Lynn Ruiz and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham will also be honored. The Clemente Course in the Humanities, a free course for disadvantaged youth that was created by the late Earl Shorris in Manhattan, is also a recipient.

The Humanities awards recognize individuals and organizations whose works “has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history and literature or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to culture,” according to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the federal agency that manages the program on behalf of the White House.

“The recipients of this medal have sparked our imaginations, ignited our passions, and transformed our cultural understanding. They embody how the humanities can serve a common good,” NEH Chairman William Adams said in a statement.

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