Cynthia Ozick Wins Not One but Two PEN Awards

by Staff

Cynthia Ozick, the author of five story collections, including Dictation, published last month by Houghton Mifflin, recently received two lifetime achievement awards. The first, PEN/American Center's PEN/Nabokov Award, is given every two years for a body of work that represents "achievement in a variety of literary genres and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship." The second, PEN/Faulkner Foundation's PEN/Malamud Award, is given annually for "a body of work which demonstrates excellence in the art of short fiction." Ozick shared the latter award with fiction writer Peter Ho Davies. In all, she received twenty-five thousand dollars for the dual honors.

Despite the sponsoring organizations' affiliation with International PEN, both awards are administered by separate entities. According to the Associated Press (AP), they agreed to announce their winners at the same time after learning from the AP that each intended to give a prize to Ozick.

In separate press releases, Ozick was praised for "a prodigious imagination, a relentless intellect, an endless appetite for investigation and truth telling" (PEN/Nabokov judges Mary Gordon, Brian Boyd, and Richard Price), and her similiarities to short story master Bernard Malamud "in soul and style" (PEN/Malamud judge Alan Cheuse).

In addition to story collections, Ozick has published numerous acclaimed novels, including The Cannibal Galaxy (Knopf, 1983), The Messiah of Stockholm (Knopf, 1987), and The Puttermesser Papers (Knopf 1997), as well as poems and essays.