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Top US nonfiction prize goes to Joan Didion

 
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teknofriend



Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 199

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Top US nonfiction prize goes to Joan Didion Reply with quote

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Joan Didion won the prestigious National Book Award for nonfiction on Wednesday for her memoir on the death of her husband and the life they spent together. Didion wrote "The Year of Magical Thinking" about coming to terms with the sudden death of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, as she tended to her daughter's severe illness. Her daughter died after the book was completed.

It was the first National Book Award for the 70-year-old writer of fiction and essays who first gained national attention for her incisive writing on the 1960s counterculture and for her collections "Slouching Toward Bethlehem" and "The White Album." The fiction prize was awarded to a much-published literary writer, William T. Vollmann, for "Europe Central," an unconventional novel about "totalitarian ugliness" in Germany and the Soviet Union during World War Two.

His book won over E.L. Doctorow's best seller "The March," a historical novel about Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's march to the sea at the end of the American Civil War. Both top winners, Didion and Vollmann, are better known than the group of literary writers who became finalists last year, when the top fiction prize went to Lily Tuck for "The News from Paraguay." Writer and entertainer Garrison Keillor, the event's master of ceremonies, joked that the awards group was "chastened by the stinging criticisms of last year's award nominations to five fiction writers nobody ever heard of."

The Quill Award was launched this year as a more populist response to the high-toned National Book prize, and Keillor quipped that the competing prize might not catch on because it "sounds like a porcupine." The top Quill prize went to " Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling last month.

The award for young people's fiction went to Jeanne Birdsall for "The Penderwicks" and the poetry prize was given to W.S. Merwin for "Migration." Novelist Norman Mailer was awarded the group's Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters for his body of work going back to "The Naked and the Dead" in 1948. Novelist Toni Morrison presented the award and lauded him for his literary and intellectual accomplishments but derided his "almost comic obtuseness regarding women."

Mailer, who accepted the award, joked that he was "obtuse about women -- but wary." He said that the "serious novel is endangered" and challenged writers to keep the art alive. The foundation presented a lifetime service award to poet, art critic and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose publication of poet Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" in 1956 was a landmark legal and literary event for which he was jailed on obscenity charges.
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nuttylove



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 160

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't see that book at the bookstores and I've never heard of the author but I'm sure it was well-deserved.
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zypherious



Joined: 27 Oct 2005
Posts: 139

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty good writer.
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