Oct 10 – Oct 16, 2011 Edition Ashbery to Receive Book Award Lifetime Achievement Medal

In the past six years, the selection committee for the National Book Award’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters has a fifty percentage average for honoring LG writers with its loftiest prize. Following Adrienne Rich in 2006 and Gore Vidal in 2009, John Ashbery, will join the elite group on November 16. Much earlier winners include Saul Bellow, John Updike, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, and the essential Eudora Welty. Many literary readers were shocked when the foundation went populist, awarding the literature prize to Stephen King in 2003 and Judy Blume in 2004, while more deserving authors were ignored.