E.L. Doctorow, a professor in NYU’s Creative Writing Program, will receive the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters this November at the National Book Awards.
“For over five decades, Doctorow’s work has been critically celebrated for its vivid depictions of 19th- and 20th-century life, trenchant social criticism, and dazzling prose,” said the foundation, which presents the National Book Awards, in its announcement.
Doctorow will be recognized with Maya Angelou, who will receive the foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.
“Doctorow is a master of historical fiction who has brought the events of the past to people all over the world in an extraordinary fashion,” added National Book Foundation Executive Director Harold Augenbraum. “It is also a special opportunity to give tribute to a native New Yorker in his hometown.”
Doctorow is the 26th recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which was created in 1988 to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement. Previous recipients include: John Ashbery, Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston, Elmore Leonard, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and Tom Wolfe.
Doctorow holds the Lewis and Loretta Glucksman Chair in English and American Letters at NYU, where he has taught since 1982.
His novels include: The Book of Daniel, a National Book Award nominee in 1972; Ragtime, which received the first National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1976; World’s Fair, which won the 1986 National Book Award; Billy Bathgate, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1990; The March, which received the 2006 PEN/Faulkner Award, the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and Homer and Langley (2009), his most recent novel. In 2011, he published a collection of short stories, All the Time in the World.