BOSTON, MA – PEN New England announced that Ben Fountain has won the 2007 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara (HarperCollins). Patrick Hemingway, the son of Nobel Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway, will present the award on Sunday, April 1, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Edward P. Jones, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, will serve as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
The two finalists were Rebecca Johns for Icebergs (Bloomsbury USA) and Yvette Christianse for Unconfessed (Other Press). The two writers to receive honorable mention were Jann Levin for A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (Alfred A. Knopf) and Marisha Pessl for Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Viking). Judges for the award this year were acclaimed fiction writers Elizabeth Berg, Chang-rae Lee and Sue Miller.
Ben Fountain 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. Fountain and competition finalists and runners-up receive Ucross Residency Fellowships at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, a retreat for artists and writers.
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.
The ceremony will also honor writers K.C. Frederick, Louise Gluck, and Sebastian Junger as recipients of the 2007 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Awards, given annually to a New England author or a book with a New England setting. Mr. Frederick is being honored in the fiction category for Inland (Permanent Press); Ms. Gluck in the poetry category for Averno (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); and, Mr. Junger in the non-fiction category for A Death in Belmont (W.W. Norton). Judges for the Winship Awards this year were authors Rose Moss, Sue Standing, and Bill Roorbach.
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, Anita Shreve, Stanley Kunitz, Leo Damrosch and Jennifer Haigh.
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.
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.
The ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 1, 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.
For further information about the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award or the L.L. Winship / PEN New England Award, contact Karen Wulf 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.