The PEN/Faulkner Foundation will announce today that Philip Roth has won its 2007 award for fiction for his novel “Everyman” — making Roth the first writer to receive the award three times. He won in 1994 for “Operation Shylock” and in 2001 for “The Human Stain.”

Roth’s novel tells the story of the physical decline and death of its unnamed protagonist. “What hit me so hard about ‘Everyman’ was its intensity, and its systematic, pitiless stripping away of false comforts — and then real comforts,” said David Gates, one of the three writers who served as judges. “The only comfort for the reader is that Roth has faced such terrifying truths absolutely straight, and made even this devastating material into a thing of beauty.”

At 73, Roth is one of the most honored writers alive: He has won all the major American fiction awards, several of them more than once. This didn’t stop him from being happy about his latest one.

“I’m delighted,” he said in a telephone interview. The PEN/Faulkner is a gratifying award, he said, because over the years “there just seems to be a consistency to the quality of the winners.”

The other four finalists are all being honored for collections of short fiction. They are:

  • Edward P. Jones for “All Aunt Hagar’s Children,” the Washington writer’s follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning 2003 novel, “The Known World.”
  • Amy Hempel for “The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel.”
  • Deborah Eisenberg for “Twilight of the Superheroes.”