The PEN American Center announced the winners and runners up for the 2012 PEN Literary Awards August 29. Winners and runners-up will be honored at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on October 23 in New York City. See a complete list of winners and runners-up here.
Highlights include PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction for E.L. Doctorow.
This is what it says about the author in our catalog: “Known for his novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, and essays, Edgar Lawrence (E.L.) Doctorow was born January 6, 1931, in New York, N.Y. Doctorow’s best known works include The Book of Daniel (1971); Ragtime (1975); Loon Lake (1980); World’s Fair (1985); Billy Bathgate (1989); and The Waterworks (1994). Media adaptations include Welcome to Hard Times, filmed in 1967 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Ragtime, filmed in 1981 by Dino De Laurentiis; The Book of Daniel, a 1983 Paramount film; and Billy Bathgate, the 1991 film starring Dustin Hoffman. Doctorow’s writings have won him numerous accolades. Among them, National Book Award nominations were given to The Book of Daniel in 1972 and Billy Bathgate in 1990, and the award went to World’s Fair in 1986. The National Book Critics Circle Award was given to Ragtime in 1976 and Billy Bathgate in 1990. Billy Bathgate also received the PEN/Faulkner Award and the William Dean Howells Medal in 1990. Doctorow began his career as a script reader at Columbia Pictures and as a senior editor for the New American Library, 1959-64. He was editor-in-chief for Dial Press from 1964 to 1969, where he also served as vice president and publisher in his last year on staff. He was a writer-in-residence, 1969-70, at the University of California, Irvine, and was a member of the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College from 1971 to 1978. He became Professor of English and American Letters at New York University in 1982. Doctorow married the writer Helen Esther Setzer on August 20, 1954. They have three children, Jenny, Caroline, Richard. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1953 to 1955. Doctorow received an A.B. in philosophy (with honors) in 1952 from Kenyon College and did graduate work at Columbia University 1952-53. He has also received numerous honorary degrees. (Bowker Author Biography) That E. L. Doctorow is a professional writer in the best sense may be indicated by the fact that he has yet to write two books alike. A New Yorker by birth and schooling, he prepared himself for the writing trade by attending Kenyon College when its literary program under John Crowe Ransom was at full crest, going on to graduate work at Columbia University, and working as a script reader for Columbia Pictures before becoming an editor with New American Library and Dial Press. Among other works, he has written a serious western novel, a science fiction fantasy, a play, a collection of short stories, and three novels of quite different types, one of which includes a considerable amount of poetry. The practice in mixing the real with the fictional that Doctorow gained by writing The Book of Daniel (1971) was put to effective and spectacular use in Ragtime (1975). Real people involve themselves with the problems of the fictional people, and by the time the novel is concluded most readers feel that the fictional character Coalhouse Walker, for instance, must have actually existed since he was so dramatically involved with people we remember from the history books. Doctorow’s more recent books of fiction have not had the impact of Ragtime, but they show him continuing to experiment with form and style. Loon Lake (1980), set in the time of the Great Depression, takes a young drifter named Joe Korzeniowski to an opulent residence in the Adirondacks of an industrial magnate and his wife, a famous aviator. Joe’s tale of his picaresque wanderings among carnival people is juxtaposed with the questionable stability of the Loon Lake resort, and the novel seems rather heavily loaded with symbols of rebirth and regeneration. Doctorow’s frequent shifting point of view as well as his juggling of prose, poetry, and “computerese” make Loon Lake sometimes seem rather like the joint effort of a very talented class in creative writing. It may be no accident that Doctorow next tried his hand at a series of carefully wrought and deceptively simple short fiction that seems very traditional by comparison. The novella and six stories in Lives of the Poets (1984) are almost Chekhovian in their quiet, muted tone, but their use of recurring images and other interweaving devices would suggest that much is operating beneath the surface…” (Bowker Author Biography)