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DeLillo Wins Inaugural Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction


Fordham alumnus Don DeLillo, FCRH ’58, has earned some of the literary world’s top honors: a National Book Award, a William Dean Howells Medal, and a PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, to name a few.

Now he can add to that list the inaugural Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

On April 25, the world’s largest library announced that DeLillo will receive the new prize, which “seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that—throughout long, consistently accomplished careers—have told us something about the American experience.”

DeLillo will be honored at the library’s 13th annual National Book Festival, set to take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 21 and 22.

“When I received news of this award, my first thoughts were of my mother and father, who came to this country the hard way, as young people confronting a new language and culture,” DeLillo said in written statement. “In a significant sense, the Library of Congress prize is the culmination of their efforts and a tribute to their memory.”

Born and raised in the Bronx, DeLillo graduated from Fordham University in 1958 and worked as an advertising copywriter before his first novel,Americana, was published in 1971. Since then, he has published 14 novels, including White Noise (1985), Libra (1988), Underworld (1997), and, most recently, Point Omega (2010); a collection of short fiction, The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories (2011); and three plays.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington praised DeLillo’s work: “Like Dostoyevsky, Don DeLillo probes deeply into the sociopolitical and moral life of his country. Over a long and important career, he has inspired his readers with the diversity of his themes and the virtuosity of his prose.”

More good news for fans of DeLillo’s work: The author, who has agreed to speak at the National Book Festival in September, recently told The Washington Post that he is “working hard on a very challenging novel.”


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