September 13 – September 20, 2007 Edition

National Book

Foundation to Honor

Author Joan Didion

NEW YORK, NY/9/10/07–Joan Didion will receive the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters on November 14 at an awards ceremony at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham will present the award.

Didion will be honored for her full body of work, which includes the 2005 National Book award winner, The Year of Magical Thinking, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and The White Album. In 2005, Didion also received the Gold Medal for Belles Lettres from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the highest honor the Academy awards to a writer.

In The Year of Magical Thinking Didion relives the death of her husband of 40 years, writer John Gregory Dunne. Within a months after publication of the book, she also lost her daughter Quintana, who was comatose at the time of John's death. The bestselling work covers the evening of John's death and the year that followed in an unforgetable and intimate look at loss, grief, and recovery. The book was also adapted for the stage.

In addition to her novels and essays, Didion also co-write screenplays with her late husband, John Dunne. Their works include "Play It As It Lays," "True Confessions," "Up Close & Personal" as well as "A Star Is Born" with Barbra Streisand.

Also to be honored that evening is Terry Gross, host and executive producer of "Fresh Air" on National Public Radio, on which she interviews authors. Terry will receive the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.