Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, 2017


NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION TO PRESENT LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD TO ACCLAIMED AUTHOR ANNIE PROULX

Anne Hathaway, Academy Award-winning actress and star of
“Brokeback Mountain,” to present Medal to Proulx


One of literature’s most prestigious honors, the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters recognizes individuals who have made an exceptional impact on this country’s literary heritage.

Annie Proulx photo by Gus Powell
The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, today announced that it will award Annie Proulx with its 2017 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Proulx, the acclaimed author of award-winning and best-selling novels and short story collections, including The Shipping News, Postcards, and “Brokeback Mountain,” is being honored for her exceptional work and significant impact on American literature. The award will be presented to Proulx by Academy Award-winning actress Anne Hathaway, an avid reader and longtime advocate for women in the arts, who starred in the film adaptation of “Brokeback Mountain.” 
Proulx is the 30th recipient of the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL), which was created in 1988 to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement. Previous recipients include Robert A. Caro, John Ashbery, Judy Blume, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, E.L. Doctorow, Maxine Hong Kingston, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Elmore Leonard, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, Adrienne Rich, John Updike, Eudora Welty, and Tom Wolfe.

“Proulx’s deep reverence for the beauty and complexities of rural America has introduced millions of readers to the wide breadth of American life. Her commitment to crafting compassionate, honest stories has left an indelible mark on literature and created a powerful and enduring legacy.”

—David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation

“Annie Proulx’s work is widely loved and uniquely significant,” said David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “Proulx’s deep reverence for the beauty and complexities of rural America has introduced millions of readers to the wide breadth of American life. Her commitment to crafting compassionate, honest stories has left an indelible mark on literature and created a powerful and enduring legacy.”
“Annie Proulx’s ability to explore the nuances of the human spirit and render deeply moving reflections on rural life have solidified her place in American Letters,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “In addition to her astounding literary accomplishments, film adaptations of Proulx’s work have reached scores of viewers who may not have encountered her work on the page. We are honored to pay tribute to the extraordinary source material for these celebrated visual works, and, hopefully, to further grow the audience for Proulx’s exemplary literary work.”
Proulx is the author of the novels Postcards, The Shipping News, Accordion Crimes, That Old Ace in the Hole, and Barkskins, in addition to her short story collections, Heart Songs and Other Stories, Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2, and Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3. In 2005, her short story, “Brokeback Mountain” was adapted into the Academy-Award-winning film of the same name. Proulx has won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, the National Book Award, and a multitude of other accolades including the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, O. Henry Awards Prizes, and a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts.

BOOKS BY ANNIE PROULX

Heart Songs and Other Stories
Heart Songs and Other Stories

Postcards
Postcards
The Shipping News
The Shipping News

Master of the Senate
Close Range

Bad Dirt
Bad Dirt
Bad Dirt
Fine Just the Way It Is
Bird Cloud
Bird Cloud
Nominations for the DCAL medal are made by former National Book Award Winners, Finalists, judges, and other writers and literary professionals from around the country. The final selection is made by the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors. Recipients of the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters receive $10,000.
Annie Proulx, Photo Credit: Gus Powell

About Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx was born in Connecticut in 1935 and attended Colby College and the University of Vermont. She graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Vermont in 1969, earning a bachelor’s degree in History. After graduation, Proulx continued her studies, completing a master’s degree and beginning a doctorate at Concordia University. As a graduate student, she published a number of fiction stories in Seventeen. Proulx left academia before completing her doctorate, turning instead to nonfiction writing. Proulx’s first published books were practical manuals on how to grow fruits and vegetables, make cider, and build fences. During this time, Proulx also founded, wrote, and edited The Vershire Behind The Times, a local newspaper for her small town in Vermont.
 
In 1988, Proulx made her literary debut with her first short story collection, Heart Songs and Other Stories, which explores the lives of rural, small town America, a topic she frequently returns to. Proulx quickly followed up her short story collection with her debut novel, Postcards. In 1992, Postcards won the 13th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, making Proulx the first woman to receive the prestigious award. One year later, Proulx’s second novel, The Shipping News, earned the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. With her short story collections, Close Range: Wyoming Stories; Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2; and Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3, Proulx has dedicated herself to presenting readers with a powerful, introspective glimpse at life in the rural west. In 1997, Proulx’s short story, “Brokeback Mountain,” centered around two cowboys who develop a secret, powerful, life-long bond, was published in The New Yorker, earning her a National Magazine Award and the first of two O. Henry Awards. In 2005, “Brokeback Mountain” was adapted into an Academy Award winning film that Rolling Stone named one of the top 10 films of the decade.
 
In 2011, Proulx published her memoir, Birdcloud: A Memoir of Place, which provided readers with an astonishing window to Proulx’s remarkable connection with the American west. Best known for her evocative fiction about rural America, Proulx’s writing has an impressive lyricism and wit that captivates readers of all ages. Proulx has received honorary doctorate degrees from Concordia University and the Universities of Maine, Toronto, Vermont, and Montreal.
 
24 years ago, in her acceptance speech for the 1993 National Book Award, Proulx said, “There's a point in your life when you quit expecting wonderful and delightful things to happen to you, and I passed that point a long time ago.” Fortunately for millions readers around the world, Proulx has yet to hit that point.
Proulx lives in Seattle, Washington.

 

About Anne Hathaway

Annie Proulx photo by Gus PowellAnne Hathaway is an Academy Award-winning screen and stage actress who has appeared in over thirty films, including Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal; Kate Barker-Froyland’s Song One; Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar; Tom Hooper’s screen adaptation of Les Misérables (a performance which garnered Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA awards for “Best Actress”); Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married; Nancy Meyers’ The Intern; Lone Scherfig’s One Day; Ed Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs; Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland; James Bobin’s Alice Through The Looking Glass; Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s DayBride WarsGet Smart; Becoming Jane; Rodrigo Garcia’s PassengersThe Devil Wears Prada; and Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain. Early career credits include Garry Marshall’s The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal EngagementHavocElla EnchantedNicholas Nickleby; and The Other Side of Heaven.
Anne recently completed filming Ocean’s Eight, opposite Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Dakota Fanning, Helena Bonham Carter, Sandra Bullock and Rihanna, set to release in 2018. Other upcoming projects include, Live Fast Die Hot, written by Jenny Mollen, Nasty Women starring opposite Rebel Wilsonand The Modern Ocean, opposite Tom Holland, Keanu Reeves and Daniel Radcliffe.
Anne was appointed as UN Women’s Global Ambassador in 2016, where she works with the UN Women to foster more positive mindsets and practical arrangements around workplaces that build and support equality for women. She also serves on the advisory board for Lollipop Theater Network, which is an organization that screens movies in hospitals for pediatric patients suffering from chronic or life-threatening illness. She also recently began working with The Nike Foundation’s “Girl Effect”.
Hathaway currently resides in both Los Angeles and New York.
Anne Hathaway, Photo Credit: Brian Bowen-Smith