The Women’s National Book Association has announced that novelist Ann Patchett has been selected to receive the 2012-2013 Women’s National Book Award. According to the Association’s website, the biennial award is given to “a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books and allied arts, and who has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation.”
Ann Patchett, whose most recent novel is State of Wonder (HarperCollins, 2011), is the bestselling author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel Bel Canto, which won both the PEN/Faulkner and Orange Prize in 2002. Patchett’s work has also garnered such accolades as the New York Times Notable Book of the Year, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and the BookSense Book of the Year Award; and has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Vogue.
In 2011, Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes opened Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee, after the last remaining bookstores in the city had closed their doors. Patchett has since become a nationally recognized advocate for independent bookselling, and this year was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Formerly known as the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award (named for the prolific playwright, critic, editor, and author) the Women’s National Book Award has been given since 1940. International journalist and author Masha Hamilton received the award in 2010; previous recipients have included Pearl S. Buck, Barbara Bush, Blanche W. Knopf, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
In the video below, Ann Patchett discusses State of Wonder for the first installment of Forbes Magazine's ForbesWoman Book Club series.