Iowa Author Awards 2021

In Conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah Jones


A Benefit for the Des Moines Public Library Foundation


Monday, November 22, 2021


Embassy Suites 101 East Locust Street Des Moines, Iowa


5:00 – 6:00 PM VIP Reception | 5:30 – 6:30 PM Registration and Silent Auction | 6:30 - 9:00 PM Dinner and Program

Nikole Hannah-Jones will be the featured speaker and 2021 Iowa Author honoree.

A 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner for The 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones grew up in Waterloo, Iowa. From her website: “She got hooked on journalism when she joined her high school newspaper and began writing about students like her, who were bused across town as part of a voluntary school desegregation program.”

From her biography on the Pulitzer Prizes website: “She is the creator of The 1619 Project, a groundbreaking look at the impact of slavery 400 years after the first slaves arrived in what would become the United States. She has written on federal failures to enforce the Fair Housing Act, the resegregation of American schools and policing in America. Her extensive print and radio reporting on the ways segregation in housing and schools is maintained through official action and policy has earned a National Magazine Award, a Peabody Award and a Polk Award.”

Health and Safety

Required to attend: Proof of COVID vaccination or negative test in the past 72 hours.

The Des Moines Public Library (DMPL) Foundation prioritizes the health and well-being of our guests and staff at all events. With that in mind, we have reviewed recommended best practices of health and safety experts and the policies of other local venues that have been successfully implemented to come up with the following policies for the 2021 Iowa Author Awards Dinner.

In order to ensure the policies provide maximum safety for all guests, please review these policies and reach out to the DMPL Foundation with any questions prior to the event.


  • Vaccination cards (including photocopies or digital photos) will be accepted as proof of vaccination.
  • Guests over the age of 18 will be required to present a government issued photo ID with the name matching the name on the vaccination card.
  • The date of your last vaccine must be 14 days prior to the event (November 8).
  • Guests can pre-screen by submitting valid proof of vaccination via email or mail to the DMPL Foundation prior to November 15. Please include your name in your message and “IAD Proof of Vaccination” in the subject line.


Negative Test

  • Proof of a negative COVID PCR test within 72 hours of the event (November 20 - 22).
  • An antigen test administered by a healthcare or pharmacy provider within 24 hours of the performance. (An at-home test administered by a virtual proctor with a time and date stamped result will also be accepted.)
  • Unfortunately, given the timing of the testing and proximity to the event, we are not able to offer the pre-screen option for guests electing to submit a negative COVID-19 test.


More Things to Know

  • We strongly recommend that all attendees wear a mask at the event, regardless of vaccination status, except when seated or enjoying food or beverage.
  • If you are not comfortable returning to in person events, please let us know prior to the event and we will be happy to work with you to find a way for you to show your support.
  • To find a vaccine site near you click here.
  • To find a testing site near you click here.


The 1619 Project
Born on the Water

On November 16, Hannah-Jones’ new books The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, a children’s picture book; and The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story will be released. On her website Hannah-Jones states: “This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today.”

Event attendees will receive a copy of The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story. Beaverdale Books will be selling copies of both new books.

Thank you for helping to transform lives by ensuring the Library remains a vital community resource.

About Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones on the Stairs

Hannah-Jones is the first Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at the Howard University School of Communications. In this new position, she will launch the Center for Journalism and Democracy.

In 1998, Hannah-Jones received a bachelor’s degree in history and African American studies from Notre Dame. She earned a master’s degree in 2003 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was a Roy H. Park Fellow. Hannah-Jones’ successful investigative journalism career took her around the country working for The Oregonian, ProPublica, and most recently The New York Times. She serves on the 38-member trustee board for the Brooklyn Public Library.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Hannah-Jones has been recognized in numerous ways including: election to the Academy of Arts and Letters, 2021; a MacArthur Fellowship, the “Genius Award” in 2017 for her work on educational inequality; Society of Professional Journalists, Fellow of the Society Award, 2020; Teachers College Medal of Distinguished Service, Columbia University, 2020; Society of American Historians Fellow, 2020; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Distinguished Alumna Award, 2019; and Gannett Foundation Innovation in Watchdog Journalism Award, 2012.

2021 Honorees

2021 Honorary Chair

Jacquie Easley McGhee

Jacquie Easley McGhee

Jacquie is Director, Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for MercyOne Iowa.


2021 Friends of Literacy

The Ralph & Sylvia G. Green Foundation

Mertze Anderson Johnson and Ann Anderson

Ticket Information


Individual tickets are $200. Please consider buying tickets for high school and college students.

Sponsorship Opportunities

  • $2,500 Bestseller Sponsor
  • $5,000 Heritage Sponsor
  • $10,000 Publisher’s Prize Sponsor
  • $15,000 Presenting Sponsor


LEARN more about and REGISTER for tickets and sponsorships.

Tax deductible amounts:

  • $124 per individual ticket
  • $1,740 for Bestseller Sponsor
  • $4,240 for Heritage Sponsor
  • $9,240 for Publisher’s Prize Sponsor
  • $14,240 for Presenting Sponsor.


Presenting Sponsor
Publisher's Prize
Heritage Sponsors