BOSTON, MA – On Sunday, April 2, PEN/New England and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will honor Yiyun Li as the 2006 recipient of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Random House).
Patrick Hemingway, the son of Nobel Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway, will present the prestigious literary award at the April 2nd ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Joyce Carol Oates will serve as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. Ernest Hemingway’s papers are archived at the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The late Mary Hemingway, the wife of Ernest Hemingway, founded the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 1976 to honor her late husband and draw attention to first books of fiction. Judges for the award this year were acclaimed fiction writers Charlotte Bacon and Bernard Cooper, both winners of the Hemingway/PEN award for their own first books, and Rosellen Brown.
Finalists in the competition for the 2006 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award were Douglas Trevor for The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space (University of Iowa Press) and Daniel Alarcon for War by Candlelight (HarperCollins). Runners-up were Jeff Row for The Train to Lo Wu (The Dial Press) and Karen Olsson for Waterloo (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Yiyun Li will receive an $8,000 prize from the Hemingway Foundation and a one week residency in The Distinguished Visiting Writers Series at the University of Idaho’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. Li and competition finalists and runners-up receive Ucross Residency Fellowships at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, a retreat for artists and writers.
The ceremony will also honor writers Stanley Kunitz, Leo Damrosch, and Jennifer Haigh as recipients of the 2006 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award, given annually to an author from New England or to an author whose writing includes a New England setting. Mr. Kunitz is being recognized in the poetry category for The Wild Braid (W.W. Norton), Mr. Damrosch is being honored in the non-fiction category for Jean Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius (Houghton Mifflin), and Ms. Haigh is being honored in the fiction category for Baker Towers (HarperCollins). Judges for the awards this year were authors Rhina Espaillat, John Skoyles and Ted Weesner. The L.L. Winship/ PEN New England Award was established by The Boston Globe in 1975 to honor long-time Boston Globe editor Laurence L. Winship. It has been awarded in the past to E.B. White, Andre Dubus, Susan Cheever, Tracy Kidder, Mary Oliver, Susan Quinn, Jill Ker Conway, Jan Swafford, and Anita Shreve.
With a writing career that spans 25 years, Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, literary criticism and essays. Her writing has earned many awards including the National Book Award for her novel them (1969), the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy Institute of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the O'Henry Prize for Continued Achievement in the Short Story, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Lifetime Achievement Award in Fiction, the Rea Award for Short Story, and in 1978, membership in the American Academy Institute. She also has been nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature. The ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 2, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending should call the Kennedy Presidential Library at (617) 514-1643 to reserve a seat.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, PEN New England, Cerulli Associates, the Friends of the Hemingway Collection, The Boston Globe Foundation, the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/Society, and the Ucross Foundation sponsor the presentation of the awards.
PEN New England provides a focal point for New England’s literary community, sponsors literary events, helps advance the cause of literature and reading, and defends free expression. It is one of five regional branches of PEN American Center, which in turn is part of International PEN, the only worldwide organization of writing professionals.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the world’s principle center for research on the life and works of Ernest Hemingway. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis described Mary Hemingway’s gift of Ernest Hemingway’s papers as helping “to fulfill our hopes that the Library will become a center for the study of American civilization, in all its aspects.” Mrs. Onassis brought the presentation of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award to the Kennedy Library from New York. The Hemingway Foundation/Society, PEN New England, The Boston Globe , and the Kennedy Library ensure that the judging and presentation of the award remain in New England.
In 2003, the Kennedy Library Foundation was awarded a $150,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to preserve the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s Ernest Hemingway Collection. Support from Save America’s Treasures is helping to address the conservation, cleaning, repair, and mitigation needs of the collection. Items in urgent need of conservation work include Hemingway’s first draft of The Sun Also Rises (with a working-title Fiesta); family scrapbooks; Hemingway’s leather briefcase with stamps revealing where and how he traveled; a ring made out of shrapnel from the writer’s World War I injuries; Hemingway’s five military medals; books with the writer’s handwritten notes in the margins from his private library; rare volumes, including Goya’s Los Proverbios – a volume found in only two or three other U.S. libraries; signed, first editions of Ezra Pound’s The Cantos and James Joyce’s Ulysses ; manuscripts and correspondence; and more than 7,000 vintage photographic prints. The funding will also provide support for intensive treatment for a number of damaged items, re-housing of the entire collection, the creation of new research copies of Hemingway’s manuscripts and photographs, and microfilming of the collection. The Collection is also supported through the Friends of the Hemingway Collection, which publishes a semi-annual newsletter.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and is supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization.
For further information about the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award or the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award, contact PEN New England at 617-824-8820. For further information on the award ceremony and reservations, contact the Forum Coordinator at the Kennedy Library, Amy Macdonald, at 617-514-1645.