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The Library Endowment Trust looks forward to our next Literary Voices event, Spring 2024

Literary Voices®

For 20 years, we have been honored to present Literary Voices®, a fundraising dinner that benefits the Library Endowment Trust and brings a renowned author to the Oklahoma City Metro. Funds raised through the years have provided additional funding for programs, materials, and services for the Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County.

All proceeds from Literary Voices® 2024 will benefit the creation of our fund for early childhood literacy in Oklahoma County, a joint project with the Friends of the Library. This fund will build sustainability for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library book gifting program as well as support ongoing needs through the Metropolitan Library System. To see how Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is already impacting children in Oklahoma County, please visit

As we celebrate this milestone, we are proud to announce we are expanding Literary Voices® to offer a series of events for the community during National Libraries Week, April 7 – April 13, 2024. This year we will offer three unique events at three separate locations. Please see the information about each author event as listed below. VIP benefits to meet the authors are exclusively available within sponsorship packages.

April 7, 2024 • 1pm

Kwame Alexander

Join Oklahoma City Public Schools and Metro Tech to hear from this regular NPR contributor and New York Times Bestselling author.

April 9, 2024 • 7pm

James Patterson

Listen to one of America’s best-loved authors and receive a copy of his new book, The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians (release date April 8, 2024). Conversation with James Patterson will be moderated by Roberta Fields.

April 11, 2024 • 6pm

Kevin Kwan

Celebrate Literary Voices® and public libraries at our signature fundraising dinner. Conversation with Kevin Kwan will be moderated by Jacqueline Sit.

The event on April 11 will model our traditional Literary Voices® dinner. At this event we honor community members with the Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is named in memory of its first recipient, the late Lee B. Brawner, who served as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Library System from 1971 until 1999. The award is given to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to libraries and literacy in Oklahoma.

2024 Author & Speaker

James Patterson

2024 Author & Speaker

Kevin Kwan

2024 Author & Speaker

Kwame Alexander

2024 Authors & Speakers

James Patterson

James Patterson is arguably the greatest storyteller of our time. He is the creator of unforgettable characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Jane Effing Smith, and Maximum Ride, and of breathtaking true stories about the Kennedys, John Lennon, and Princess Diana, as well as our military heroes, police officers, and ER nurses. He has coauthored #1 bestselling novels with Bill Clinton and Dolly Parton, has told the story of his own life in James Patterson by James Patterson, and has received an Edgar Award, nine Emmy Awards, the Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation, and the National Humanities Medal.

Kevin Kwan

KEVIN KWAN is the author of Crazy Rich Asians, the international bestselling novel that has been translated into 40 languages. Its sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, was released in 2015, and Rich People Problems, the final book in the trilogy, followed in 2017. For several weeks in 2018, the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy commanded the top three positions of the New York Times bestseller list – an almost unprecedented single-author trifecta, and the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians became Hollywood’s highest grossing romantic comedy in over a decade.  His latest bestseller Sex & Vanity is currently being adapted into a feature film at Sony Pictures.  In 2018, Kevin was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 39 books, including SWING, BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI, co-authored with James Patterson, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book, THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER.

His newest releases are THE DOOR OF NO RETURN, book one of a new trilogy that is destined to be a game changer, and AN AMERICAN STORY. His memoir, WHY FATHERS CRY AT NIGHT, was released in May, 2023. A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award.

In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. He is the writer and executive producer of THE CROSSOVER TV series on Disney+.

Previous Literary Voices Speakers & Authors

Elizabeth Strout (2022)

Elizabeth Strout is an award-winning and bestselling author of several works including the Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge, which was developed for a limited television series starring actress Frances McDormand.

In both short stories and fiction, Strout has received numerous awards and recognition. Her sequel, Olive Again, is an Oprah Book Club Pick; Anything Is Possible, is the winner of the Story Prize; The Burgess Boys was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and NPR. Each time, Strout has landed on the NYT bestseller list.

Born in Portland, Maine, Strout grew up in small towns in Maine and New Hampshire.  From a young age she was drawn to writing things down, keeping notebooks that recorded the quotidian details of her days.  She was also drawn to books, and spent hours of her youth in the local library lingering among the stacks of fiction. During her adolescent years, Strout continued writing avidly, having conceived of herself as a writer from early on.  She read biographies of writers, and was already studying – on her own – the way American writers, in particular, told their stories.  Poetry was something she read and memorized; by the age of sixteen was sending out stories to magazines.  Her first story was published when she was twenty-six.

Strout attended Bates College, graduating with a degree in English.  Later, she went to Syracuse University College of Law, where she received a law degree along with a Certificate in Gerontology.  Her latest novel, Oh, William! was released in 2021.

Kristin Hannah (2019)

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, Winter Garden, Night Road, and Firefly Lane.

Her novel, The Nightingale, has been published in 43 languages and is currently in movie production at TriStar Pictures, which also optioned her novel, The Great Alone. Her novel, Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to direct.

Kristin is a former-lawyer-turned writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together, and The Nightingale, in 2015 was voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, The Wall Street Journal and The Week. Additionally, the novel won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards. The audiobook of The Nightingale won the Audiobook of the Year Award in the fiction category.

Lee Child (2018)

Lee Child was born in 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV’s “golden age.” During his tenure his company made Brideshead RevisitedThe Jewel in the CrownPrime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars’ worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.


Killing Floor was an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new installment. Lee has several homes—an apartment in Manhattan, country houses in England and the south of France, and whatever airplane cabin he happens to be in while traveling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.


Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.

Lisa Scottoline (2017)

Lisa’s writing career began with her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went, published in 1994 by HarperCollins Publishers. The novel became a bestseller and was nominated for the Edgar Award, the most prestigious award given in crime fiction, awarded by the Mystery Writers of America. Lisa’s second novel, Final Appeal, was also nominated for and received an Edgar Award. Since then she has written 26 novels, all of which have appeared on bestseller lists, including the New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA TodayLos Angeles TimesEntertainment Weekly, and Publisher’s Weekly.


Writing & Books

A list of her books in chronological order is: Everywhere That Mary Went (1994); Final Appeal (1995); Running From the Law (1996); Legal Tender (1997); Rough Justice (1998); Mistaken Identity (1999); Moment of Truth (2000); The Vendetta Defense (2001); Courting Trouble (2002); Dead Ringer (2003); Killer Smile (2004); Devil’s Corner (2005); Dirty Blonde (2006), Daddy’s Girl (2007), Look Again (2009), Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog (2009), Think Twice (2010), My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space (2010), Save Me (2011), Best Friends, Occasional Enemies (2011), Come Home (2012), Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim (2012), Don’t Go (2013), Accused (2013), Keep Quiet (2014), Have a Nice Guilt Trip (2014), Betrayed (2014), Every Fifteen Minutes (2015), Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat (2015), Corrupted (2015), and Most Wanted (2016).


Lisa and her daughter Francesca also write a Sunday humor column, “Chick Wit”, for the Philadelphia Inquirer. These stories have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of books including the most recent, Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? Scottoline presently has 30 million copies in print in the United States, not including audio, eBook and various large print editions. Internationally, Lisa is published in 35 countries.


Legal Career

Lisa began her legal career with a clerkship for President Judge Edmund B. Spaeth, Jr. of the Pennsylvania Superior Court. When the clerkship ended, she joined Dechert, Price & Rhoads in Philadelphia as an associate. In 1986, she left the firm to raise her newborn daughter and began writing legal fiction part-time. In 1994, Scottoline re-entered the legal world as an administrative law clerk to Chief Judge Dolores K. Sloviter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, while beginning a new career as a fiction author, with the publication of her first novel.


Lisa also joined the faculty as a visiting professor at The University of Pennsylvania Law School to teach a course she created entitled “Justice and Fiction.”

Sebastian Junger (2016)

As an award-winning journalist reporting on the war from the soldiers’ perspective, Junger and photojournalist Tim Hetherington spent weeks at a time at a remote outpost that saw more combat than almost anywhere else in the country. This resulted in his best-sellerWAR, as well as Restrepo.


Junger became a fixture in the international media when, as a first-time author, he commanded the New York Times best-seller list for more than three years with The Perfect Storm, which became a major motion picture starring George Clooney.


His reporting on Afghanistan in 2000, profiling Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, became the subject of the National Geographic documentary Into the Forbidden Zone. In 2001, his expertise and experience reporting in Afghanistan led him to cover the war as a special correspondent for ABC News and Vanity Fair. His work has also been published in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, and Men’s Journal. He has reported on the LURD besiegement of Monrovia in Liberia, human rights abuses in Sierra Leone, war crimes in Kosovo, the peacekeeping mission in Cyprus, wildfire in the American West, guerilla war in Afghanistan, and hostage-taking in Kashmir. He has worked as a freelance radio correspondent during the war in Bosnia.


Junger is a native New Englander and a graduate of Wesleyan University. Attracted since childhood to “extreme situations and people at the edges of things,” Junger worked as a high-climber for tree removal companies. After a chainsaw injury, he decided to focus on journalism, primarily writing about people with dangerous jobs, from fire-fighting to commercial fishing (which led, of course, to The Perfect Storm).


In 1998 Junger established The Perfect Storm Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities for children of people in the maritime professions.

P.J. O'Rourke (2015)

P. J. O’Rourke was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and attended Miami University and Johns Hopkins. He began writing funny things in 1960s “underground” newspapers, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years reporting for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly as the world’s only trouble-spot humorist, going to wars, riots, rebellions, and other “Holidays in Hell” in more than 40 countries. He is a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard, H. L. Mencken fellow at the Cato Institute, a member of the editorial board ofWorld Affairs and a regular panelist on NPR’s Wait… Wait… Don’t Tell Me. He lives with his family in rural New England, as far away from the things he writes about as he can get.


  • O’Rourke is probably the most resilient comedy writer to come out of the early National Lampoon. He saw through the anarchists’ narcissism, and has been satirizing it for years in Rolling Stone and elsewhere. If anyone ‘changed comedy forever,’ it was O’Rourke.”  —The New York Times
  • Both TIME and The Wall Street Journal have labeled him “the funniest writer in America.”
  • He is the former editor of the National Lampoon and a writer for Car and DriverPlayboyEsquireVanity FairThe New RepublicThe New York Times Book ReviewHarper’sAtlantic Monthly, and Rolling Stone.
Khaled Hosseini (2014)

Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat in the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and history at a high school in Kabul. In 1976, the Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris. They were ready to re turn to Kabul in 1980, but by then their homeland had witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet Army. The Hosseinis sought and were granted political asylum in the United States, and in September 1980 moved to San Jose, California. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned a medical degree in 1993. He completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles and was a practicing internist between 1996 and 2004.


In March 2001, while practicing medicine, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner. Published by Riverhead Books in 2003, that debut went on to become an international bestseller and beloved classic, sold in at least seventy countries and spending more than a hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. In May 2007, his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, remaining in that spot for fifteen weeks and nearly an entire year on the bestseller list. Together, the two books have sold more than 10 million copies in the United States and more than 38 million copies worldwide. The Kite Runner was adapted into a graphic novel of the same name in 2011. Hosseini’s much-awaited third novel, And the Mountains Echoed, will be published on May 21, 2013.


In 2006, Hosseini was named a Goodwill Envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. Inspired by a trip he made to Afghanistan with the UNHCR, he later established The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. He lives in Northern California.

David McCullough (2013)

David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” “a matchless writer.” He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.


Mr. McCullough’s most recent book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, the number one New York Times best seller, has been called “dazzling,” “an epic of ideas … history to be savored.” His previous work, 1776, has been acclaimed “a classic,” while John Adams, published in 2001, remains one of the most praised and widely read American biographies of all time. More than three million copies are in print and it is presently in its 82nd printing.


In the words of the citation accompanying his honorary degree from Yale, “As an historian, he paints with words, giving us pictures of the American people that live, breathe, and above all, confront the fundamental issues of courage, achievement, and moral character.”


Mr. McCullough’s other books include The Johnstown FloodThe Great BridgeThe Path between the SeasMornings on HorsebackBrave Companions, and Truman. His work has been translated and published in 15 countries around the world, and, in all, more than 10,000,000 copies are in print. As may be said of few writers, none of his books has ever been out of print.


David McCullough is also twice winner of the prestigious Francis Parkman Prize, and for his work overall he has been honored by the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award and the National Humanities Medal. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has received forty seven honorary degrees.


He has been an editor, essayist, teacher, lecturer, and familiar presence on public television — as host of “Smithsonian World,” “The American Experience,” and narrator of numerous documentaries including Ken Burns’s “The Civil War.” His is also the narrator’s voice in the movie “Seabiscuit.”


Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, Mr. McCullough was educated there and at Yale, where he was graduated with honors in English literature. He is an avid reader, traveler, and has enjoyed a lifelong interest in art and architecture. He is as well a devoted painter. Mr. McCullough and his wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough have five children and nineteen grandchildren.

Mary Higgins Clark (2012)

Mary Higgins Clark is the best-selling author of thirty-two suspense novels. Her first book, a 1968 historical novel about George Washington, was re-issued with the title “Mount Vernon Love Story” in 2002. With the publication of “Where Are the Children?” in 1975, she launched her career as a world-renowned writer of suspense thrillers. Her memoir, “Kitchen Privileges,” was published in 2002, while her first children’s book, “Ghost Ship,” illustrated by Wendell Minor, was published in 2007.


The New York Times has credited Mrs. Clark for “her intuitive grasp of the anxieties of everyday life that can spiral into full blown terror.” Critics have also praised her as a “superb storyteller” who “creates nightmarish situations that lie just beneath the surface of ordinary life.”


Mrs. Clark has been awarded 18 honorary doctorates, including one from her alma mater, Fordham University. Among her numerous honors and awards, she was made a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, the highest honor that can be offered to a layperson by the Pope. In 2001 she was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2011.


In a letter to her readers in the 30th anniversary edition of her debut suspense novel, “Where Are the Children?”, Mrs. Clark writes, “One of the definitions of happiness is ‘to love what you do’ and I’ve been blessed because that gift was given to me. Over these years I have enjoyed telling stories and meeting so many of the wonderful people who are my readers, and I thank you for that.”

Harlan Coben (2010)
Ann Patchett (2009)
Scott Turow (2008)
Sue Grafton (2007)
Jane Seymour (2006)
Juan Williams (2005)
Dr. Beck Weathers (2004)
Dave Barry (2003)

Lee B. Brawner


About Lee B. Brawner

Lee B. Brawner served as executive director of the Metropolitan Library System from 1971 until 1999. During his 28-year tenure as director, the library system grew from 11 facilities to 17 stretching across Oklahoma County. Lee was a champion of intellectual freedom, winning the 1998 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in the Education category for “his devotion to the principles of intellectual freedom.”

Prior to his career in Oklahoma City, Lee worked as a librarian in Texas at both the Dallas and Waco public libraries. He held an MLS from George Peabody College, Nashville. In 2003 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was named after him, from the Library Endowment Trust.

A frequent contributor to library literature, in 1996 Lee co-authored the book Determining Your Public Library’s Future Size: A Needs Assessment and Planning Model with architect Don Beck. As principal consultant of Brawner Associates, a consulting firm founded after his retirement from active library directorship, Lee conferred with over 100 libraries and participated in library studies and assessments, including planning and programming for over 140 library buildings across the United States.

Active in professional, civic and cultural organizations, Lee received the 1997 Pioneer Award for providing the vision and leadership that have created a library system valued locally and respected by library professionals throughout America.

2024 Lee B. Brawner Award Recipient

Robert and Sody Clements

Robert and Sody Clements have made significant contributions to the Oklahoma City community and supporting libraries and literacy has been no exception.

Robert Clements is Executive Vice-President of Clements Foods Co., a local business with international presence. Founded in 1953 by Robert’s father and grandfather, Clements Foods is now in its 65th year of family ownership and management. Sody McCampbell Clements serves the community in myriad ways, most recently on the council for the City of Nichols Hills. Sody and Robert have been married for 32 years and have two sons, Robert and William.

Life-long residents of Nichols Hills, the Clements have served in leadership roles for the Kirkpatrick Foundation, the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Board, Festival of the Arts, Lyric Theatre and many other nonprofit organizations.

Their overwhelming professional leadership and support, combined with their long history of bringing others into the fold of library and literacy advocacy is why we the Library Endowment Trust is honored to recognize them both with the Lee B. Brawner Award. We are grateful for the legacy the Clements’ have built throughout our library community and are grateful for this opportunity to recognize them.

Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Robert and Sody Clements

Robert and Sody Clements have made significant contributions to the Oklahoma City community and supporting libraries and literacy has been no exception.

Robert Clements is Executive Vice-President of Clements Foods Co., a local business with international presence. Founded in 1953 by Robert’s father and grandfather, Clements Foods is now in its 65th year of family ownership and management. Sody McCampbell Clements serves the community in myriad ways, most recently on the council for the City of Nichols Hills. Sody and Robert have been married for 32 years and have two sons, Robert and William.

Life-long residents of Nichols Hills, the Clements have served in leadership roles for the Kirkpatrick Foundation, the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Board, Festival of the Arts, Lyric Theatre and many other nonprofit organizations.

Their overwhelming professional leadership and support, combined with their long history of bringing others into the fold of library and literacy advocacy is why we the Library Endowment Trust is honored to recognize them both with the Lee B. Brawner Award. We are grateful for the legacy the Clements’ have built throughout our library community and are grateful for this opportunity to recognize them.

Cliff Hudson (2019)

Cliff Hudson standing in front of yellow backgroundClifford Hudson spent 35 years of his career at Sonic Corp., an Oklahoma City-based, publicly held company that owns, operates and franchises SONIC Drive-In restaurants. Most recently, he was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of this public company with more than 3,500 franchised and company-operated drive-in restaurants. He left the company upon its sale in December 2018 and joined the law firm Crowe & Dunlevy as Of Counsel in the firm’s Oklahoma City office.


Hudson graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in History, from which he also received in 2011 an honorary doctoral degree in humane letters. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University, where he served as Chair of the Board of Visitors from 2013-2016. In 2014, Georgetown University awarded him the John Carroll Award, its highest alumni recognition.


Hudson served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), a presidential appointment, from 1994-2001. He served as Chairman of the Oklahoma City School Board from 2001-2008, a position created in 2000 as part of a $530 million turnaround of a 40,000 student, inner-city Oklahoma City Public School system, for which he received the 2012 David T. Kearns Award for Excellence and Innovation in Education. He served as Trustee of the Ford Foundation (New York) from 2006-2017 and is a past Chair of the Board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Susan C. McVey (2018)

Susan McVey has served as Director of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) since April 2001. Prior to being Director, Ms. McVey served as Deputy Director and in the Capitol Library Branch of ODL during her 30+ years with ODL. Ms. McVey served as director of the Dulaney-Browne Library at Oklahoma City University prior to employment at ODL.


During Ms. McVey’s tenure, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries has provided competitive grants to non-profit literacy councils across the state to support local efforts in adult literacy. The Department has invested federal library funds in providing online access for all Oklahomans to full-text magazine and journal articles, e-books, and health information in the library or at home. The Oklahoma Center for the Book located at ODL has promoted writing by Oklahoma authors and about Oklahoma through the Oklahoma Book Awards. High-speed broadband and computers for public use are available in public libraries in every county in Oklahoma. These achievements are due to the hard work of the ODL staff.


Ms. McVey received a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma, a Masters in Library Science from the University of Texas in Austin, and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma.


She has been active on the state and national levels having served as President of the Oklahoma Library Association, received the Distinguished Service Award from OLA, and was named an Oklahoma Library Legend. She has served as president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), a national organization of state librarians.


Susan lives in Oklahoma City, with husband Paul King.

Governor Bill Anoatubby (2017)

Bill Anoatubby has served as Governor of the Chickasaw Nation since 1987.


He has been active in tribal government since 1975. His previous positions include director of tribal health services, director of finance, special assistant to the governor, controller, and he was the tribe’s first lieutenant governor.


In his first term, Governor Anoatubby established goals of economic development and self-sufficiency for the Chickasaw Nation and its people. Today, the Chickasaw Nation is well on its way to achieving those goals.


In 1987, the tribe had approximately 250 employees. Today, the Chickasaw Nation employs more than 13,000 people. The financial condition of the tribe has improved tremendously. Funding for tribal operations has increased exponentially, and tribal assets have grown two-hundredfold.


The Chickasaw Nation operates more than 100 diversified businesses and invests much of its revenue into funding more than 200 programs and services. These programs cover education, health care, youth, aging, housing and more, all of which directly benefit Chickasaw families, Oklahomans and their communities.


Under Governor Anoatubby’s direction, the Chickasaw Nation places a strong emphasis on preserving and sharing its heritage, history, language and culture. This commitment can be seen in the various artistically and culturally-centered programs, language services and the world-renowned Chickasaw Cultural Center.

Steve Payne (2016)

Steve has been an active advocate for libraries for 24 years. He has served on the Metropolitan Library System Endowment Trust since 1992, contributing to the Trust’s growth by giving both of his time and finances. Steve spends his free time pouring his skills and talents into the community through volunteer work. He tutors children through the Whiz Kids program and offers his professional expertise to help nonprofits through his work with The Executive Service Corps of Central Oklahoma. He has also volunteered at Maisha International Orphanage, the YMCA, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Crossings Community Church and Young Life, an organization that cultivates mentors for children and teens.


Steve has also impacted his community through his role as board chairman of CityCare and Infant Crisis Services.


An Oklahoma City native, he graduated from Putnam City High School and continued his education at Oklahoma State University earning a degree in finance. Fresh from college, he joined his father as an insurance agent for Hank Moran and Associates. After eight years he took his education and experience to Insurica where he worked until 1996, then joining his current business partners at Frates Insurance. Steve and his wife Sylvia have raised four children and now enjoy two sons-in-law and one grandson.

Donna Morris (2015)

A Missouri native, Donna Morris served as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Library System from August 2002 – December 2014. Prior to being named Executive Director, Ms. Morris served as Deputy Director for over 10 years and also in many other different positions at MLS over her 45 year career with the system.


During her career with MLS, she has been involved in all aspects of the development, implementation, management and operations of library services and operations. The 12 years she served as director of MLS were ones of exciting growth and development for the system which included the construction and opening of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, the Patience S. Latting Northwest Library, the Choctaw Library, and the opening of the Almonte Library. She oversaw the renovation of the Ralph Ellison and Southern Oaks libraries, as well as the construction and opening of the new service center for support operations such as cataloging, technical processing and maintenance.


She has also oversaw the implementation of expanded service hours at all locations, exciting new services such as eMedia and the transition to a new ILS catalog in 2014.


A graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, she received a B.S. in Elementary Education and went on to attain a Masters in Library Science from the University of Oklahoma.


She has served as the Oklahoma Library Association President, ALA Councilor, Legislative Chair, Program Chair, Local Arrangements Co-Chair, Awards Chair, and Nominating Committee Chair.


She is also a member of the American Library Association, Library Administration and Management section of ALA, and the Public Library Association.


She was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Library Association and has previously won the OU School of Library andInformation Studies Outstanding Alumni Award and was named an Oklahoma Library Legend.


In addition she was active in the Downtown Rotary Club, Leadership OKC, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and the State Chamber..


Donna lives in Norman, with husband Ken of 45 years, and has two grown sons, Matt and wife Alyson, and Jeff and wife Sunny, and one granddaughter, Olivia.

Rita Gunter Dearmon (2014)

Rita Gunter Dearmon grew up in Mangum, OK, and graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1968 with a degree in accounting. She became a Certified Public Accountant and worked as an auditor for Arthur Anderson & Co. in Oklahoma City for six years.


Mrs. Dearmon worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission for seven years in Washington, DC, where she met her late husband, Jim Gunter. After moving back to Oklahoma City, she worked for the Kerr-McGee Corporation for 22 years. She was based in London, England, for four years while she served as Finance Director for Kerr-McGee’s North Sea Region.


Mrs. Dearmon served on the board of directors of the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System for seven years, including two years as President. She also served on the board of directors of the Library Endowment Trust for 13 years and was President for two years. She has worked as a volunteer at many Friends of the Library Booksales and has served on the planning committee for all 12 Literary Voices dinners.


In addition to her invaluable service on behalf of Oklahoma County’s libraries, Mrs. Dearmon has also served on the board of directors for the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Heart Association, the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, the Heritage Hills Associate Board, and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. She is an alumna of Leadership Oklahoma City and has been married to Al Dearmon for 10 years.

The Friends of the Library (2013)

The Friends of the Metropolitan Library System is a nonprofit volunteer organization organized in 1978 to provide community support for Oklahoma County’s libraries. For 35 years the Friends of the Library have focused public attention on library services and needs and have demonstrated invaluable support for the library’s mission of providing access to materials, services, and programs for our diverse community.


The Friends’ largest annual project is the 2 ½ day book sale which raises funds by selling donated books and other materials. Since its inception in 1981, the annual sale has raised over $3 million which has been granted back to the Metropolitan Library System. Friends volunteers work tirelessly year round to prepare for one of the nation’s largest weekend book sales, held at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds the last weekend in February.


Funds raised by the Friends of the Library have assisted with library promotional events, building projects, book giveaways, library staff recognition programs, and the summer reading program for school children. As advocates for the library system, the Friends have also positively influenced the outcome of several library related tax and bond elections.


The organization is governed by a Board of Directors approved by the general membership at the Annual Membership Meeting. The Friends also utilize an Advisory Board composed of community leaders from throughout Oklahoma County who provide support and counsel.


The Friends of the Library boards and members have made outstanding contributions to libraries and literacy in our community, and it is a true honor to present them with the Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hugh Rice (2012)

Hugh Rice, a partner in the law firm of Rainey Ross Rice and Binns, is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Virginia Law School. He has been an Oklahoma resident since 1953 and has served in the Oklahoma Air National Guard.


A board member and officer of Oklahoma City Town Hall and the Chance to Change Foundation, Mr. Rice is also a committee member for the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He has been married to Cindy Rice for 44 years and has three children.


Mayor Ronald J. Norick appointed Mr. Rice to the Metropolitan Library Commission in 1992. He served as Chairman of the Commission from 2005 to 2010 and has also served in nearly every capacity as a committee member and chair.


Mr. Rice’s work with city officials and others was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, which was completed in 2004. He has also provided invaluable assistance in the planning for the new Northwest Library, which will open on May 22, 2012.


For the significant contributions he has made to libraries and literacy in Oklahoma City and County, it is an honor to present the Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Hugh Rice.

Jeanne Hoffman Smith (2011)

Jeanne Hoffman Smith, an Oklahoma City clinical social worker, began her literary endeavors early. When she was seven years old, her grandfather paid her five cents a verse to memorize Thomas Gray’s 18th century epic poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”


Memorizing the first line—“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,” presents a more difficult task than reciting any Mother Goose rhyme, but Jeanne was inspired by her grandfather’s high expectations, his faith in her ability, and, naturally, the five cent reward. Of course, instead of being monetary, the real reward was intrinsic—setting a foundation of literacy that would support future educational endeavors.


Her passion for literature, poetry and film led Jeanne to found and endow the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature at Oklahoma City University. The Center’s goal is to further literacy and engage individuals in understanding themselves and others across time and space. Working toward the goal, the Center brings a distinguished creative person to the campus each year. Oklahomans are fortunate that Jeanne Hoffman Smith continues to build on this foundation, using her amazing insight to make outstanding contributions to literacy.


For the significant contributions she has made to libraries and literacy, it is an honor to present the Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeanne Hoffman Smith. She believes in the power of literacy to help people better know themselves and others, and she works toward helping people in developing an appreciation for the beauty of language in children’s and adults’ literature.

James H. Norick & Ronald J. Norick (2010)

James H. Norick

James Henry (“Jim”) Norick was born in Oklahoma City in 1920. His parents, Henry Calvin Norick and Ruth Norick, were also native Oklahomans. When Henry Norick died, Jim Norick took his place as head of Norick Brothers, Inc., a successful printing business.


Jim Norick’s education was achieved in Oklahoma City schools, including Putnam Heights Elementary, Harding Junior High, and Classen High School, from which he graduated in 1938. From there he attended the Oklahoma Military Academy in Claremore on a music scholarship. He served in the Navy throughout WW II, his ships’ crew receiving a Presidential Unit Citation.


Norick served as Oklahoma City councilman for Ward One from 1951 to 1955, and in 1959 he ran for mayor as a Democrat. During his time as councilman, Norick realized that water supply improvements into Oklahoma City would add industry and payroll. Norick served as mayor from 1959 to 1963 and 1967 to 1971. During his second term he oversaw the cleaning up and beautification of Oklahoma City with projects that included improving Classen Boulevard.


Jim Norick and Madalynne King were married in 1940, and they raised two children, Ronald James and Vickie Lynne.


Ronald J. Norick

Like his father, Ronald J. (“Ron”) Norick is a native of Oklahoma City. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, with a degree in management, Ron Norick has been president of Norick Brothers, Inc., has been the director of two Oklahoma City banks, the director of Sport Haley, Inc., and the controlling manager of Norick Investments Company LLC. From 1987 to 1998 he was Mayor of Oklahoma City.


Called “the Father of MAPS,” Norick followed his father by instigating the city’s most extensive re-creation, often referred to as a “renaissance.” He was instrumental in the passage of the Metropolitan Area Projects temporary 1-cent sales tax in 1993, a project that resulted in, among other things, a new showplace library in downtown Oklahoma City, which was named in his honor.


He is vice chairman and on the executive committee for the State Fair of Oklahoma, chairman of the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority, and vice chairman of the Oklahoma Industries Authority.


The Oklahoma Heritage Association inducted Ronald J. Norick into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2008.

2024 Sponsors

Sponsorships for the 2024 Literary Voices® event are available now. Please email with any questions or click the button below for more information!

Presenting Sponsor

Collector Sponsor

Arnall Family Foundation

Lawrence H. and Ronna C. Davis

Richard and Glenna Tanenbaum

Best Seller Sponsor


Best Seller

Lawrence H. and Ronna C. Davis

Richard and Glenna Tanenbaum


Publisher's Choice

Editor's Choice

The Ann Lacy Foundation


Bank of Oklahoma

Steve and Cara Belcher

Claims Management Resources

Larry and Roberta Fields

HoganTaylor LLC/Gail and Gary  Huneryager

McAfee & Taft

MidFirst Bank, SSB

Jim and Beth Tolbert

Meredith and Bobby Wegener

Roberta Fields

Roberta Fields

Roberta Browning Fields is a trial lawyer at McAfee & Taft, Oklahoma’s largest law firm. Oklahoma Super Lawyers named her to its list of Top 25 women lawyers in 2021.  She has also been selected by her peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers.

Prior to entering law school, Roberta worked for five year as a correctional officer and then a correctional case manager for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. In addition to her law degree, she holds a bachelors degree in social work and a master’s degree in sociology/corrections.

 As a community volunteer, she has served as a Trustee for the Library Endowment Trust.  She also serves on the board of Development Associates International, a global nonprofit teaching servant leadership. Her involvement with DAI has taken her to Egypt, India, China, Russia, Uganda, South Africa, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.   Roberta is on the United Way of Central Oklahoma Board and recently was selected to receive their Ray Ackerman Leadership Award.

JSit Headshot

Jacqueline Sit, APR

Jacqueline Sit is an award-winning accredited public relations professional and serves as a senior account director at Gooden Group. Her background includes twenty years’ experience in PR, marketing, crisis management, and broadcast media. Before joining PR, Jacqueline worked as an Emmy-nominated, award-winning television news reporter in stations across the country, including News 9 in Oklahoma City.

Jacqueline serves on the founding board of directors and as the marketing chair for The Greater Oklahoma City Asian Chamber of Commerce. Within the first year, the marketing committee she led was recognized with a Communication Excellence Award from the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives.

In 2023, Jacqueline was named PR Professional of the Year by Public Relations Society of America’s OKC Chapter and as one of 405 Business Magazine’s Most Influential. She is an alumnus of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class V, SALLT Young Leaders and a graduate of the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Board Serve Program. She was also recognized as one of OKCBiz’s Forty Under 40 honorees and as Asia Society of Oklahoma’s Outstanding Asian American for her contributions in the community.


The Friends of the Metropolitan Library Sort Site is currently closed.

The Sort Site will not be accepting donations at this time and will reopen on Monday, July 1.

For questions, please contact