Library of Congress awards author Joy Williams lifetime achievement prize


The Library of Congress on Wednesday awarded author Joy Williams the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Williams, 77, is the author of five novels and multiple short story collections and has previously been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Williams’s latest novel, “Harrow,” set for release in September, is her first novel in 21 years and follows a young girl exploring an apocalyptic landscape.

“Her work reveals the strange and unsettling grace just beneath the surface of our lives. In a story, a moment, a single sentence, it can force us to reimagine how we see ourselves, how we understand each other — and how we relate to the natural world,” said Carla Hayden, the librarian of Congress, according to The Associated Press.

First given out in 2008, the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction has also been awarded to authors Toni Morrison, Philip Roth and Don DeLillo.

“This is a wonderful award and one that inspires much humility,” Williams said in a statement about receiving the prize. “The American story is wild, uncapturable and discomfiting, and our fiction — our literature — is poised to challenge and deeply change us as it becomes ever more inclusive and ecocentric.”

Fellow award recipient DeLillo praised Williams for her work, the AP reported.

“The fiction of Joy Williams reminds me how lucky I am to be an American writer. She writes strong, steady and ever-unexpected narratives, word by word, sentence by sentence. This is the American language and she is an expert practitioner,” he said.

Tags American literature American writers Library of Congress

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