Cynthia Ozick

The PEN/Nabokov Award celebrates the accomplishments of a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, represents achievement in a variety of literary genres and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship. PEN/Nabokov Award honorees are writers, principally novelists, whose works evoke to some measure Nabokov’s brilliant versatility and commitment to literature as a search for the deepest truth and the highest pleasure— what Nabokov called the “indescribable tingle of the spine.” It is offered in even-numbered years. The PEN/Nabokov Award is made possible by the Vladimir Nabokov Foundation, founded by Dmitri Nabokov.

2008 Judges

Brian Boyd, Mary Gordon, and Richard Price

From the Judges’ Citation

“A master of many forms, Cynthia Ozick takes her place beside the very finest novelists, essayists, and short story writers. A prodigious imagination, a relentless intellect, an endless appetite for investigation and truth telling: all these we have come to expect from her work. She rearranges the mosaics of history and reinscribes the palimpsests of tradition as she explores the attachments and detachments of place and time in ways at once immediate and enduring. Insisting always upon the primacy of the word, of the sacred calling of the writer, she has, in over twenty books, challenged, invigorated, and delighted her devoted, always grateful, sometimes chastened readers.”

Cynthia Ozick has published widely— beginning with the novel Trust in 1966. Over the years she has written poems, short stories, essays, novels, and a play. Among them: The Pagan Rabbi (1971); Bloodshed (1976); Levitation (1982); Art & Ardor (1983); The Cannibal Galaxy (1983); The Messiah of Stockholm (1987); Metaphor & Memory (1989); The Shawl (1989); Fame & Folly (1996); Heir to the Glimmering World (2004); The Din in the Head (2006); and Dictation (2008).

Her many awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Award, the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and four O. Henry First Prizes. The French translation of The Puttermesser Papers won the 2007 Maison des écrivaine étrangers [Institute of Foreign Writers] prize. The Shawl has been selected for the National Endowment for the Arts.

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation will also be honoring Ms. Ozick, along with Peter Ho Davies, with the 2008 PEN/Malamud Award. This prize recognizes a body of work that demonstrates excellence in the art of short fiction.