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Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award 1999 - 1990

Select an award winning author to view the biography.


Michael Wallis, renowned for his writing about Oklahoma, has written a number of books about our state’s history, its rich heritage, and its people, including Route 66: The Mother Road, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, Way Down Yonder in the Indian Nation, and Oil Man: The Story of Frank Phillips and The Birth of Phillips Petroleum.

A resident of Tulsa, Wallis has presented Oklahoma history in a popular format that appeals to readers from all backgrounds. His works have been nominated for the National Book Award and on three occasions for the Pulitzer Prize. In 1981, he was selected as the number one feature writer by the Florida Magazine Association. He has won other prestigious awards and honors, including the 1994 Lynn Riggs Award from Rogers State University in Claremore. In 1996, Wallis was inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers Hall of Fame, and in 1994 he was named the first inductee into the Oklahoma Route 66 Hall of Fame. Wallis was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame in 1999.


Jack Bickham, a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame, was a nationally known Norman, Oklahoma, author of 75 published novels and 6 instructional books about writing fiction.

Two of his novels, The Apple Dumpling Gang and Baker’s Hawk, were recreated for film. Two of his books were reprinted by Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, and two were selected as Detective Book selections.

In addition to writing books, Bickham had a 15-year career in newspapers. Yet, Bickham’s greatest influence may have been as a writing and journalism teacher. Writers all across the United States proclaim their success is due in part to Jack Bickham.

At the University of Oklahoma for 21 years, Bickham began as an assistant professor and finally attained the university’s highest honor for teaching excellence. Jack Bickham died on July 25, 1997.


S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton was born in “either 1948 or 1950” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she has lived since. She earned a B.S. degree at the University of Tulsa in 1970.

Hinton began writing before she finished high school, having her first book, The Outsiders, published when she was only 16 years old.

In 1971, her book That Was Then, This Is Now was named an American Library Association Notable Book. Other works include: Rumble Fish, Tex , and Taming The Star Runner. Several of Hinton’s books have been made into well-received movies, including Tex (1982), The Outsiders (1983), Rumble Fish (1983), and That Was Then, This Is Now (1985).


John Hope Franklin was born on January 2, 1915, in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. He earned an A.B. at Fisk University in 1935, an A.M. from Harvard in 1939, and a PH.D. Franklin has been the recipient of many honors. He received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1950 and 1973. In 1978, Who’s Who in America selected him as one of eight Americans who has made significant contributions to society. In the same year, Franklin was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. In addition to his many awards, he has honorary degrees from more than 100 colleges and universities.

Franklin has served on many national commissions and delegations, including chairing the advisory board for One America: The President’s Initiative on Race (a national resource tool that offers information on conducting dialogues in neighborhoods, schools, communities, etc.).

Perhaps his best known book, From Slavery To Freedom: A History Of Negro Americans, first published in 1947, has sold more than 2 million copies and is translated to French, German, Portuguese and Japanese. Recently, Franklin was the subject of the film First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin, featured on PBS in June 1997.

His other works include: The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South 1800-1860, The Color Line: Legacy for the 21st Century, and Racial Equality In America.

Franklin is the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History, and from 1985 to 1992 he was Professor of Legal History in the Law School at Duke University.


Raphael Aloysius Lafferty was born November 7, 1914, in Neola, Iowa. He has lived in Tulsa since he was 4 years old.

Primarily a science fiction novelist with a devoted following, Lafferty won the Hugo Award in 1973 for his short story “Eurema’s Dam” (contained in New Dimensions II: Eleven original science fiction stories). Novelist Arthur C. Clarke says of Lafferty, “He is one of the few writers who has made me laugh aloud!”

Other works include: Past Master, The Fall of Rome, Okla Hannali—a historical novel about the Choctaws coming to Oklahoma, The Devil is Dead, Fourth Mansions, Serpent’s Egg, East of Laughter—nominated for 1989 Arthur C. Clarke Award, The Elliptical Grave, and Iron Tears. Lafferty’s short stories have been included in numerous and notable science fiction collections.


Navarre Scott Momaday, the son of Kiowa artist Alfred Morris Momaday and writer Natachee Scott, was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, February 27, 1934. Momaday grew up on Navajo, Apache and Pueblo Indian reservations in the American Southwest.

A novelist, poet, dramatist and illustrator. Momaday earned an A.B. from the University of New Mexico in 1958, an M.A. from Stanford University in 1960 and a Ph.D., also from Stanford, in 1963. He holds honorary doctorates from eleven universities, including Yale.

He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1966, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his first novel House Made of Dawn. Momaday was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1987.

Other works include: The Way to Rainy Mountain, Angle of Geese and Other Poems, The Gourd Dancer, The Names: A Memoir, The Ancient Child, and a children’s book written and illustrated by Momaday, Circle of Wonder. He is professor of English at the University of Arizona, Tucson.


Harold Verne Keith, children’s author and sports journalist, was born April 8, 1903, in Lambert, Oklahoma Territory. He spent most of his life in Norman, Oklahoma, where from 1930 to 1969 he was sports publicity director for the University of Oklahoma. Keith earned a B.A., in 1929 and an M.A., in 1938, both from the University of Oklahoma.

He won the Newbery Medal in 1958 for Rifles for Watie, a book he researched by interviewing Civil War veterans who lived in Oklahoma. He won two Western Heritage Wrangler awards: one in 1975 for Susy’s Scoundrel, and another in 1979 for The Obstinate Land.

Other works include: Komantcia, The Sound of Strings, and Sports and Games.

Keith was a distance runner who broke the U.S. Masters Association three-mile record for men over 70. He died on February 24, 1998.


Savoie Lottinville born November 17, 1906, in Hagerman, Idaho, was a publisher, editor and writer. He earned a B.A. at the University of Oklahoma in 1929, was a Rhodes Scholar in 1932, and earned an M.A. in 1939 also at Oxford.

Lottinville took over the OU Press in 1938, succeeding its founder, Joseph Brandt. Lottinville is said to have built a nationwide reputation for publishing important scholarly works. Time magazine said Lottinville built the press “into the nation’s standout example of a successful regional publisher.” He remained director until his retirement in 1967.

He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1952, and into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1980. He was also recipient of the University of Oklahoma Distinguished Alumna Award, the Governors Arts Award, and the Curtis Benjamin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Publishing.

He wrote and edited many works, among the most famous of which is The Rhetoric of History. Lottinville died on January 20, 1997, at the age of 90.


Tony Hillerman, novelist and journalist, was born May 27, 1925, and grew up at St. Mary’s Academy, a boarding school for Native American girls at Sacred Heart—a Catholic mission formerly located in Pottawatomie County near Asher, Oklahoma. Hillerman once said of the nuns at Sacred Heart, “They eventually forgave my brother (photographer Barney Hillerman) and I for not being Indian, but they never forgave us for not being girls.”

Hillerman earned a B.A. at the University of Oklahoma in 1946, and an M.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1966. He worked as a newspaper editor in Lawton and as a political reporter for United Press International in Oklahoma City.

As a novelist, he won the Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1974 for Dance Hall of the Dead (Harper 1973). Hillerman was also inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1993.

His novels, which focus predominantly on Navajo themes, include The Blessing Way, The Boy Who Made Dragonfly, Listening Woman, A Thief of Time, Talking God, Sacred Clowns, The Fallen Man, and The First Eagle. Hillerman is professor of journalism at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.


Daniel Joseph Boorstin was born October 1, 1914, in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A historian, Boorstin earned a B.A. at Harvard (summa cum laude) in 1934. He was a Rhodes Scholar in 1936 and earned a J.S.D. from Yale University in 1940.

He was visiting professor at the University of Rome, the University of Geneva, the University of Kyoto and the University of Puerto Rico. In Paris he was the first incumbent of a chair in American History at the Sorbonne, and at Cambridge University, England, he was Pitt Professor and Fellow of Trinity College.

He won a National Book Award in 1959 for The Americans: The Colonial Experience and another in 1974 for The Americans: The Democratic Experience, for which he also won the Pulitzer Prize. He received numerous honorary degrees and has been decorated by the governments of France, Belgium, Portugal and Japan.

He directed the Library of Congress from 1975 to 1987. During his tenure, he started the Center for the Book program. Boorstin had previously been Director of the National Museum of American History, and Senior Historian of the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, D.C. Before that he taught history at the University of Chicago for twenty-five years.

Boorstin won the Oklahoma Book Award for The Creators in 1992. His other works include: The Discoverers, and The Seekers.

Last Modified on Aug 12, 2022
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