The Literarian Award, 2006

The Literarian Award is presented to an individual for outstanding service to the American literary community, whose life and work exemplify the goals of the National Book Foundation to expand the audience for literature and to enhance the cultural value of literature in America.

At the 57th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner in New York City on Wednesday, November 15, the National Book Foundation awarded Robert Silvers and, posthumously, Barbara Epstein, co-founders of The New York Review of Books, with The Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, presented the Award.

 

Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein

Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein were co-founders of the New York Review of Books, which they edited for over 40 years until her death earlier this year. Robert Silvers continues to edit the magazine.

Prior to joining the Review, Silvers was, from 1959 to 1963, associate editor of Harper's magazine, editor of the book Writing in America and translator of the multi-author La Gangrene. Before that, Silvers lived in Paris for six years (1952 to 1958), where he served with the U.S. Army at SHAPE Headquarters and attended the Sorbonne and Ecole des Sciences Politiques. He joined the editorial board of The Paris Review in 1954 and became Paris editor in 1956. He also worked as press secretary to Governor Chester Bowles in 1950. Silvers graduated from the University of Chicago in 1947.

Barbara Epstein worked in publishing and at The Partisan Review before becoming editor of The New York Review of Books in 1963. She began her publishing career at Doubleday & Co., where she served as junior editor after graduating from Radcliffe College in 1949.