The National Book Foundation announced yesterday that Joan Didion and Terry Gross will receive distinguished honors at the 58th National Book Awards ceremony on November 14.
Didion, author of five novels and nine books of nonfiction, won the National Book Award in 2005 for The Year of Magical Thinking (Knopf). Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham will present her with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in recognition of fiction and creative nonfiction imbued with "a distinctive blend of spare, elegant prose and fierce intelligence."
Gross is the host and executive producer of National Public Radio’s "Fresh Air," a Peabody Award-winning arts and culture program. Fellow National Public Radio host and producer Ira Glass will present her with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community in recognition of her contribution to popular understanding of literature and writing through her author interviews.
National Book Foundation executive director Harold Augenbraum called Didion and Gross "icons in the literary world" whose "insights on the page and on the air have informed our understanding of America and of America’s writers for decades."
Author and critic Camille Paglia will announce the finalists for the 2007 National Book Awards from the Library Company in Philadelphia on October 10.