NEW YORK — The Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards didn’t prepare Annie Proulx for her latest honor: a National Book Award medal for lifetime achievement.
“I was astonished when first I heard that news,” Proulx told The Associated Press during a recent email interview. “I simply had not thought of my various writings as a body of work that might be considered as a contribution to American letters. It almost seemed that I had been negligent in writing what I considered discrete novels and stories instead of shaping a holistic something that might be regarded as a life work.”
On Thursday, the National Book Foundation praised the author of “The Shipping News,” “Brokeback Mountain” and other fiction for her “impressive lyricism and wit that captivates readers of all ages.”
Anne Hathaway, who starred in the film version of “Brokeback Mountain,” will present the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Proulx during a Nov. 15 dinner ceremony in Manhattan, when competitive prizes will be given for the year’s best fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature books. Scholastic Inc. President and CEO Dick Robinson will be given the Literarian Award for “Outstanding Service” to the literary community.
Previous recipients of the Distinguished Contribution medal include Toni Morrison, Philip Roth and Joan Didion.
“Annie Proulx’s ability to explore the nuances of the human spirit and render deeply moving reflections on rural life have solidified her place in American Letters,” Lisa Lucas, the foundation’s executive director, said in a statement.
Proulx, 82, won the Pulitzer and National Book Award for “The Shipping News,” and her novel “Postcards” made her the first women to win the PEN/Faulkner award.