Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that E. Annie Proulx, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Shipping News” and the short story “Brokeback Mountain,” will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival on Sept. 1.
Hayden selected Proulx as this year’s winner based on the recommendation of a jury of previous winners, distinguished authors and prominent literary critics from around the world. The prize ceremony will take place during the National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
“E. Annie Proulx has given us monumental sagas and keen-eyed, skillfully wrought stories,” Hayden said. “Throughout her writing, she succeeds in capturing the wild, woolly heart of America, from its screwball wit to its every last detail. She is an American original.”
One of the Library of Congress’ most prestigious awards, the annual 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.
“This high honor came as a shock to me,” Proulx said. “My writing has examined the lives of unimportant people—poor people plagued with bad luck, financial and personal troubles. They were hill farmers, small town country music groups, hunters and fishermen, immigrants and accordion repairmen, failed newspapermen and fishermen, war veterans and cowhands, closeted rural gays in denial, ranchers, lumbermen, wood-choppers, widows. They were strung across the continent from Newfoundland to Vermont to Louisiana to Wyoming to Michigan to Oregon. Not the kind of characters to be graced with notice by the Library of Congress. And yet somehow it has happened. I want to believe the people in my writing will step up with me to receive this award, for they are as real as history.”
Proulx was born in Connecticut in 1935 and attended Colby College and the University of Vermont. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington. Proulx is the author of eight books, including “The Shipping News,” which received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize; and “Postcards,” winner of the PEN/Faulkner award—Proulx was the first woman to win the award.
Proulx’s other honors include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature, the National Book Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her O. Henry Prize-winning story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is “Barkskins.”
For more information on the prize, including previous winners, visit loc.gov/about/awards-and-honors/fiction-prize/.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.