John M. Barry

John M. Barry

John M. Barry, an author who has written about the 1918 flu pandemic and the 1927 Mississippi River flood, is receiving the state's annual writing award.

Barry has been chosen for the 21st annual Louisiana Writer Award, given by the state library's Louisiana Center for the Book.

“The contributions of Mr. Barry to literature, history, government and the education of Louisianans and citizens across the country have been nothing short of remarkable. We are pleased and also fortunate that he chose to make his home in Louisiana,” Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who oversees the state library, said in a statement.

Barry, a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, has written several books, including “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” and “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.”

“The resurgence of interest in ‘The Great Influenza’ since the start of the coronavirus outbreak proves the timeliness, and timelessness, of John’s work. His expertise and dedication to Louisiana, and in particular, his role in coastal restoration, are worthy of praise and celebration,” said Rebecca Hamilton, state librarian.

Past recipients of the Louisiana Writer Award include Ernest Gaines, James Lee Burke and Tim Gautreaux. The award is traditionally presented at the Louisiana Book Festival, but the event has been canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.