November 15-30, 2003 Edition News Update

2003 National

Book Awards Presented

NEW YORK, NY/11/19/03—Shirley Hazzard, four-time nominee for the National Book Award, finally took home the fiction prize November 19 for her novel, The Great Fire published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (FSG) The work is set in the period following World War II.

She received the award at the 54th annual National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Novelist Walter Mosley was master of ceremonies.

Also that evening, the Board of Directors of the sponsoring National Book Foundation conferred its 2003 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters upon Stephen King, who delivered an address to an audience of more than 1,000 authors, editors, publishers, friends, and supporters of books and book publishing.

King chastised the publishing industry for staying out of touch with its own culture, and said the industry needs to build a bridge between the popular and the literary. He also caked upon readers to buy and read more genre books.

Carlos Eire, a college professor, earned the nonfiction award for his memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana, Confessions of a Cuban Boy (Free Press).

Twice-nominated author Polly Horvath won this year’s young people’s literary award for The Canning Season, also an FSG release. And poet C.K. Williams earned the poetry award for The Singing, FSG’s third win of the evening.

Twenty books by American authors were in the running for prizes of $10,000 each.

The evening benefited the Awards’ institutional sponsor, the National Book Foundation, celebrating its 15th anniversary. The Foundation presents educational outreach programs throughout the year for readers and writers across the country.