The NSK Neustadt Prize: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Photo by Christopher T. Assaf

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of books for young readers, including Hearts Unbroken, which won the American Indian Library Association’s Youth Literature Award. Her 2021 releases are the middle-grade anthology Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids and novel Sisters of the Neversea. She looks forward to the 2022 release of The Blue Stars Series: The Vice Principal Problem, a middle-grade graphic novel series, co-authored by Kekla Magoon and illustrated by Molly Murakami.

She is also the author-curator of Heartdrum, a Native-focused imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books, and serves as the Katherine Paterson Inaugural Endowed Chair on the faculty of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Smith is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and lives in Austin, Texas.