The Mercantile Library Center for Fiction announced yesterday that Jonathan Galassi, president of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, is the recipient of the 2008 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction. The award is given annually to recognize an editor, publisher, or agent "who over the course of his or her career has discovered, nurtured, and championed writers of fiction in the United States."
Galassi has worked at FSG since 1986, when he was named vice president and executive editor. He quickly climbed the ranks, to editor in chief, then executive vice president, then publisher, and finally president in January 2002. During that time, Galassi has worked with such acclaimed poets and fiction writers as Frank Bidart, Michael Cunningham, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Ian Frazier, Louise Glück, Nadine Gordimer, Seamus Heaney, Denis Johnson, Jamaica Kincaid, August Kleinzahler, William Langewiesche, Paul Muldoon, George Packer, Robert Pinsky, Marilynne Robinson, Frederick Seidel, Susan Sontag, Calvin Trillin, Mario Vargas Llosa, Derek Walcott, C. K. Williams, Tom Wolfe, and Charles Wright.
The award is named after one of the most admired editors in American history, Maxwell Perkins, who worked with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, and others. Past recipients of the award are Nan A. Talese of Doubleday, Gary Fisketjon of Knopf, and Drenka Willen of Harcourt. It will be presented to Galassi at the nonprofit organization's annual dinner on December 1.