During its annual meeting last night, the PEN American Center elected Francine Prose to succeed biographer Ron Chernow as its president. Chernow had served a one-year term and could have run for reelection, but declined for personal reasons.
Prose is the author of more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels Blue Angel (HarperCollins, 2000), which was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award in fiction, and Hunters and Gatherers (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995). Her most recent book is Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (HarperCollins, 2006). She is the recipient of many grants and awards, including Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and the Pushcart Prize.
The PEN American Center, founded in 1922, is an affiliate of the International PEN literary and human rights organization. In the past several years, it has campaigned for protections on freedom of speech and condemned the Turkish government’s prosecution of Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk.