PEN Celebrates 2011 Pulitzer Prize Winners Ron Chernow, Jennifer Egan, and Bruce Norris
The PEN American Center celebrates Members and 2011 Pulitzer Prize winners Ron Chernow, Jennifer Egan, and Bruce Norris. PEN is also proud to count Pulitzer Prize finalists Jonathan Dee, Chang-Rae Lee, John Guare, Michael O’Brien, and Jean Valentine among its Membership. The awards were administered on Monday, April 18, 2011 by Columbia University.
Author of Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. The book also won the prestigious American History Book Prize. A stalwart champion of PEN’s efforts, Ron Chernow is currently PEN’s vice president, has previously served as the president of PEN, and has been a Member for over 20 years. The New York Times hailed Washington: A Life as a thorough biography which lived up to its promise: “Striving to uncover Washington’s hidden side, Mr. Chernow achieved what the citation called “a sweeping, authoritative portrait of an iconic leader learning to master his private feelings in order to fulfill his public duties.”
PEN Member Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award, was a finalist for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The New York Review of Books’ Cathleen Schine called Goon Squad “a moving humanistic saga, an enormous nineteenth-century-style epic brilliantly disguised as ironic postmodern pastiche.”
PEN Member Bruce Norris was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his latest play “Clybourne Park.” New York Magazine described the play as “a subtle and well-crafted piece of theater.”
Finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction included PEN Members Jonathan Dee and Chang-Rae Lee. In a review of The Privileges, The Washington Post called Jonathan Dee “a remarkably skilled portraitist with a rare talent for rendering his characters’ points of view with deep empathy.” Director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton, Chang-Rae Lee has won the Asian American Literary Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times wrote: “With The Surrendered, Mr. Lee has written the most ambitious and compelling novel of his already impressive career—a symphonic work that reprises the themes of identity, familial legacies and the imperatives of fate he has addressed in earlier works, but which he grapples with here on a broader, more intricate historical canvas.”
PEN Member and finalist for the Prize for Drama, John Guare wrote A Free Man of Color, which was called “an audacious play spread across a large historical canvas, dealing with serious subjects while retaining a playful intellectual buoyancy” by the Pulitzer jury.
Michael O’Brien was announced as a finalist for the Prize for Biography. His Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon was praised as a “graceful account of a remarkable journey by Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of a future president, who traveled with a young son across a Europe still reeling from warfare.”
PEN Member, National Book Award winner, and former State Poet of New York, Jean Valentine’s first book of poetry was published in 1965. Her book Break the Glass, deemed “the poet at her fierce best” by Publishers Weekly, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Congratulations to all the deserving winners and finalists.