Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, 2013

Victor Navasky presents E. L. Doctorow with the National Book Foundation's 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters


E. L. Doctorow Accepts 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters


Novelist e. L. Doctorow to be honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at
2013 National Book Award Ceremony

E.L. Doctorow photo by Francesca Magnani

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, will award its 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL) to E. L. Doctorow at the 64th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner. The event will be held on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at Cipriani, 55 Wall Street, in New York.

Doctorow will be honored in recognition of his outstanding achievement in fiction writing. For over five decades, Doctorow’s work has been critically celebrated for its vivid depictions of nineteenth- and twentieth-century life, trenchant social criticism, and dazzling prose.

National Book Foundation Executive Director Harold Augenbraum said of the selection, “Doctorow is a master of historical fiction who has brought the events of the past to people all over the world in an extraordinary fashion. It is also a special opportunity to give tribute to a native New Yorker in his hometown."

Doctorow is the 26th recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which was created in 1988 to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement. Previous recipients include John Ashbery, Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston, Elmore Leonard, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and Tom Wolfe.

Nominations for the award are made by former National Book Award winners, finalists, and judges, and other writers and literary professionals from around the country. Final selections are made by the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors.

E. L. Doctorow photo byFrancesca Magnani.

about E. L. Doctorow

Named after Edgar Allen Poe, Edgar Lawrence Doctorow was born on January 6, 1931 and raised in the Bronx, New York. He began his literary career as a reader at Columbia Pictures, and then worked as an editor for New American Library from 1959 to 1964, moving on to serve as editor in chief at Dial Press until 1969. It was at this time that he decided to write full time.

His body of work spans fifty years, has been published in more than 30 languages, and consists of novels, short stories, essays, and a play. Doctorow’s debut novel, a Western, Welcome to Hard Times (Simon & Schuster, 1960) was adapted for a film of the same name in 1967. He won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1986 for World’s Fair, and was a Fiction Finalist four other times: in 1972 for The Book of Daniel, in 1982 for Loon Lake, in 1989 for Billy Bathgate, and in 2005 for The March.

Doctorow’s novel Ragtime (1975) received the first National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1976, was named one of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century by the editorial board of the Modern Library, and was adapted for a motion picture in 1981 and a Broadway musical in 1998. His upcoming novel, Andrew's Brain, will be published in early 2014.

Among Doctorow’s other honors are three National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal in 1998. He holds the Lewis and Loretta Glucksman chair in English and American Letters at New York University.

suggested Links

E. L. Doctorow's The March page, 2005 NBA Finalists
> www.nationalbook.org/nba2005_f_doctorow.html

World's Fair appreciation from Best of the NBA, Fiction online exhibition
> www.nbafictionblog.org/nba-winning-books-blog/1986.html

The March appreciation from Contenders, National Book Award Fiction Finalists online exhibition
> nbafictionfinalists.squarespace.com/blog/2012/6/16/2005.html

Billy Bathgate appreciation from Contenders, National Book Award Fiction Finalists online exhibition
> nbafictionfinalists.squarespace.com/blog/2012/6/10/1989.html

Loon Lake appreciation from Contenders, National Book Award Fiction Finalists online exhibition
> nbafictionfinalists.squarespace.com/blog/2012/6/10/1982-paperback-2.html

The Book of Daniel appreciation from Contenders, National Book Award Fiction Finalists online exhibition
> nbafictionfinalists.squarespace.com/blog/2012/6/8/1972-1.html

Interview with E. L. Doctorow by Diane Osen
From the NBF Archives
> www.nationalbook.org/authorsguide_edoctorow.html

E. L. Doctorow and Daniel Menaker, 2010 Eat, Drink & Be Literary

Books by E.L. Doctorow