Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction Awarded to Marilynne Robinson
Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao has announced that Marilynne Robinson, author of such critically acclaimed novels as "Gilead" and "Home," will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival, Sept. 24.
The National Book Festival and the prize ceremony will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
The annual Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction honors an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination. The award seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that—throughout long, consistently accomplished careers—have told us something new about the American experience.
Mao chose Robinson based on the recommendation of a jury of distinguished authors and prominent literary critics from around the world. He said of the selection, "With the depth and resonance of her novels, Marilynne Robinson captures the American soul. We are proud to confer this prize on her and her extraordinary work."
"American literature has been a kind of spiritual home to me for as long as I have been aware of it. So this award could not be more gratifying," Robinson said.
Previous winners of the prize are Louise Erdrich (2015), E. L. Doctorow (2014) and Don DeLillo (2013). Under its previous name, the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for fiction, the awardees were Philip Roth (2012), Toni Morrison (2011), Isabel Allende (2010), and John Grisham (2009). In 2008, the Library presented Pulitzer-Prize winner Herman Wouk with a lifetime achievement award for fiction writing.
Robinson was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, in 1943. She is the author of four novels: "Lila" (2014), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; "Home" (2008), winner of the Orange Prize (UK) and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; "Gilead" (2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and "Housekeeping" (1980), winner of PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction. Her five nonfiction books include "The Givenness of Things: Essays" (2015) and "The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought" (1998).
Robinson’s many other honors include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Fund, the National Humanities Medal, and the American Academy of Religion in the Arts Award. Robinson, a longtime faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Robinson lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is a deacon for the Congregational United Church of Christ.
The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, holds more than 162 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at loc.gov.