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Library Lions Gala to Honor 50th Anniversary of Truman Capote’s Black & White Ball

Restored Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library; photo courtesy of

ZEALnyc, October 24, 2016

The New York Public Library will fête the celebrated artists and wordsmiths of its 2016 class of Library Lions at the annual Library Lions Gala on Monday, November 7. This year’s gala will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Truman Capote’s legendary Black & White Ball, and will feature a special performance by soprano and Library Trustee Jessye Norman. This year, the event returns to the Library’s iconic Rose Main Reading Room after a two-year hiatus due to repairs and restorations. Lions will be the first event held in the space since its long-anticipated reopening.

This year’s honorees include humanitarian/activist, Harry Belafonte; author/novelist, Hilary Mantel; award-winning Spanish novelist, Javier Marías, Wall Street Journal columnist and author, Peggy Noonan; and Irish novelist, essayist and poet, Colm Tóibín.

In addition to getting an early look at the newly renovated Rose Main Reading Room, guests in attendance will also have an opportunity to see a special collection of items representing Truman Capote and his iconic 1966 event, which will be on display, as well as select collection items from the 2016 Library Lions class–one that inspires them from the Library’s collections, and one that is directly connected to their body of work. Items that will be on display include: The Hunt-Lenox Globe from 1510, a printed broadside of the Declaration of Independence from 1776, a typescript of a W.E.B Du Bois essay on race relations, a William Butler Yeats manuscript, a draft of Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn, a composition notebook of Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball invite list, and more.

For over 30 years, the Library has celebrated individuals who have made significant contributions to New York City and to the creative community at large during its annual gala. Previous honorees include Nelson Mandela, Elie Weisel, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorcese, Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, Steve Martin, Ethan Hawke, Dave Eggers, and Anna Deavere Smith among many others. Alan Bennett, Judith A. Jamison, Maira Kalman, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Gloria Steinem were last year’s Library Lions.

NYPL’s 2016 Library Lions Gala begins with arrivals and a cocktail reception at 7:00 PM, and continues at 8:00 PM with dinner, program and performance by Jessye Norman. For ticket information and pricing, or for information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact


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